Alan Wake is a video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and released in 2010.
Alan Wake shares continuity with Control within the Remedy Connected Universe, a larger shared universe of games created by Remedy Entertainment. Control contains various in-universe references to the events and characters of Alan Wake, including cameos by the titular character.
Alan Wake is a bestselling crime fiction author suffering from a two-year stretch of writer's block. He and his wife Alice travel to the small mountain town of Bright Falls, Washington for a short vacation on the advice of Alice and Alan's friend and agent Barry Wheeler. Before their arrival, Alan has a nightmare about shadowy figures who try to kill him, before an ethereal figure interrupts the dream and teaches him how to use light to fight the shadows.
Upon arrival in Bright Falls, Alan goes to retrieve the keys and map to their rented cabin from Carl Stucky, the cabin's landlord, but encounters a mysterious old woman, who tells him that Stucky had fallen ill and she was entrusted to give Alan the keys. The woman directs Alan and Alice to a cabin on an island in the middle of Cauldron Lake, a volcanic crater lake. As they unpack, Alan finds that Alice arranged the trip to help break his writer's block, arranging for him to see a Bright Falls psychologist named Dr. Emil Hartman, and leaving a typewriter in the cabin for him. Alan is infuriated and storms out of the cabin, but rushes back when he hears Alice crying for help. Alan returns to the cabin just as Alice is being dragged into the lake's waters by a mysterious force. Alan dives into the water after her, blacking out as he submerges.
Alan regains consciousness a week later, apparently having driven his car off the road, but with no memory of how he got there. He attempts to reach a nearby gas station, but his progress is hampered by murderous, shadowy figures resembling those in his dream. While fighting the shadows with light, Alan repeatedly encounters an ethereal figure in a diving suit similar to the one from his dream, which leaves behind pages of a manuscript entitled Departure, ostensibly written by Alan, which he has no memory of writing. Alan soon discovers that the events of the manuscript are coming true, and that the shadowy figures, or "Taken," are townsfolk possessed by a dark force. After killing a possessed Carl Stucky and reaching the gas station, Alan tries to alert Sheriff Sarah Breaker of his wife's disappearance, but Sarah states that there has been no island or cabin in Cauldron Lake for years after it sunk following a volcanic eruption years prior. Alan is taken to the police station, and Barry arrives in Bright Falls in search of him.
Alan receives a call from a man purporting to be Alice's kidnapper, demanding the pages of Departure in exchange for her. Meeting at a nearby national park, Alan witnesses the kidnapper at the mercy of the mysterious old woman, confessing that he never actually had Alice. Alan and the kidnapper are then attacked by a dark tornado, which hurls Alan into Cauldron Lake. He awakens in the lodge overlooking Cauldron Lake under the care of Hartman, who claims that Alan is suffering a psychotic break, with the supernatural phenomena being fabrications of his imagination. Alan attempts to escape the lodge as the shadowy force starts to attack it, learning in the process that the fake kidnapper was employed by Hartman to lure Alan to him. Hartman tries to stop Alan from escaping, and gives the impression that he is aware of the supernatural events surrounding the lake. Barry helps Alan to escape the lodge before the shadow subsumes it and all those inside.
Alan and Barry gradually begin to learn the truth about Cauldron Lake from the other townsfolk. An entity known as the Dark Presence (taking the form of the old woman, Barbara Jagger) is trapped within the lake, attempting to escape by using the lake's power to turn fiction into reality. It had previously tried this with a poet named Thomas Zane — the figure in the diving suit — but Zane was able to resist its will and used his writings to cause the volcanic eruption that sank the island, stranding himself within the lake. The Dark Presence has grown strong enough to start to influence the townspeople and create the forces that have pursued Alan. That night, as Alan and Barry take shelter, they get drunk on moonshine, and Alan starts to recall memories of being forced to write Departure during the prior week, realizing that the Dark Presence is now trying to use his writings to escape, and is holding Alice within the lake in order to coerce him.
Alan and Barry are arrested by an FBI agent, but the Taken assault the police station and drag the agent away. Sarah, now convinced of the Dark Presence's existence, helps Alan and Barry reach Cynthia Weaver, a hermit who knew Thomas Zane and prepared countermeasures for the Dark Presence's return. She leads them to the "Well-Lit Room," containing a light switch known as the Clicker, which, through the power of Alan's writings, possesses the narrative ability to destroy the Dark Presence. Alan returns to Cauldron Lake alone and dives in, finding himself in a surreal alternate dimension known as the Dark Place, where thoughts and ideas become reality. Alan encounters Jagger and destroys her with the Clicker; realizing he must maintain balance in the story, Alan completes Departure by freeing Alice, but strands himself in the Dark Place in the process. Finishing Departure, Alan writes the final line - "It's not a lake, it's an ocean."
Alan Wake and Control seemingly exist within a shared universe, with their plots and worldbuilding connected with another, as revealed by dozens of allusions in both Control and Alan Wake. Within Control's universe, Cauldron Lake is considered a Threshold which connects ordinary reality to another dimension (the Dark Place). Alan Wake, a so-called parautilitarian, experienced an Altered World Event in 2010 which resulted in his subjective reality affecting consensus reality within the local area of Bright Falls, Washington. Several characters in Alan Wake are associated with the FBC, including Frank Breaker, a former FBC agent, who is the father of Alan Wake character Sarah Breaker. Additionally, FBC files show that the Bureau investigated the Bright Falls AWE and interviewed numerous characters from the game, including Barry Wheeler, Alice Wake, Odin and Tor Anderson, Emil Hartman, and Thomas Zane. Several objects from the game, including a Typewritten Page and an Oh Deer Diner Coffee Thermos, are contained by the Bureau as Altered Items, and another item - the Clicker - is believed to be an Object of Power.
References to Control in Alan Wake
- When Alan Wake meets Anderson Brothers at Cauldron Lake Lodge, Odin says, among other things, "We're so tired, built a farm close to the lake, a place of power". In Control a Place of Power is a term used by FBC.
- Frank Breaker, a character appearing in the Alan Wake tie-in comic Night Springs, mentions "the Bureau" and contacts an FBC agent with regards to the Bright Falls AWE. In Control, it is confirmed that Frank Breaker is a former agent of the FBC and was indeed contacting the FBC.
- The song "Balance Slays the Demon" that can be heard in the Alan Wake’s American Nightmare has a hidden message. Playing the audio backwards reveals the words "It will happen again, in another town, called Ordinary".
References to Alan Wake in Control
- Dylan Faden mentions that in one of his dreams, he saw many worlds, including one where "a writer wrote a story about a cop," and another where "the cop was real" - a dual reference to Alan Wake and Max Payne.
- A Bureau file details their plans to revive the canceled Night Springs TV series - which was featured prominently in Alan Wake - in order to monitor the public perception of the paranatural.
- One of the Altered World Event case files in the game details a recurring AWE in Bright Falls, Washington, including a summary of the game's events. Multiple documents refer to this AWE.
- One of Jesse's therapy sessions includes her reciting a line of poetry by Thomas Zane: "Beyond the shadow you settle for, there is a miracle illuminated."
- After she visits him in the Foundation, Ahti gives Jesse his cassette player, which includes the song "Take Control" performed by Old Gods of Asgard, a fictional band who were major characters in Alan Wake.
- Two Altered Items are related to Alan Wake: the Typewritten Page and the Oh Deer Diner Coffee Thermos, both located on the fifth level of the Panopticon. When the Page is approached, an apparition of Alan Wake will appear, and he will recite the text from the page.
- One of the doors in the Oceanview Motel (the spiral) is implied to lead to the Dark Place, an alternate dimension from Alan Wake.
- A whiteboard in the Central Research area of the Research Sector details information about a shoebox recovered from a woman named Samantha in Ordinary. These events were previously depicted in the Alan Wake blog "This House of Dreams."
- The tango that Ahti listens to, when translated, appears to be a ballad about Alan's experience trapped within the Dark Place.
- After entering the Investigations Sector and speaking to Frederick Langston over the intercom for the first time, he asks Jesse if she has any light sources, mentioning several that are prominently featured in Alan Wake. These include a flashlight, lantern, and flare gun, which are all usable by Alan Wake during the game, as well as a headlamp and Christmas lights, which he suggests Jesse wrap around herself, a reference to Barry Wheeler.