The reviews are in and Alan Wake now available in stores. Despite mixed reviews, the fan fervor is still strong. Though a few people have opted to buy Red Dead Redemption instead, Alan Wake will be Microsoft’s top seller this month. But what about the next month? And the months after?
Alan Wake is a breath of fresh air from the chronic shooter syndrome that these gamers crave. Fable 2 was a bit successful, but this is Microsoft’s chance to pull in a new demographic especially considering its one of a few big titles not completely fixated on shooting. By establishing this new franchise, spin-offs and even sequels become a possibility. A possibility which could reinvigorate Microsoft’s first party developers and bring some much needed variety to their library.
The story is unique and the marketing has been very subtle but absolutely amazing. Brightfalls.com shows six videos leading up to Alan Wake’s arrival to Bright Falls. The events that transpired certainly ramped up many people’s expectations for the game. Even the radio station KBF Radio can be found on Pandora! The immersion factor is high and though we’ve seen vampire / ghoul type games before, this game’s ambition sets it apart.
However, we’ve seen that even the most creative of titles such as Fable 2 or even storied franchises such as Final Fantasy have been quickly forgotten by the Xbox 360 faithful. Instead they seek the comforts of Halo , Gears of War, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and now Battlefield: Bad Company 2. It seems that violence must be a key component in a game for it to be a hit on the Xbox 360. Don’t be fooled. Mass Effect 2, while bigger in scope, still relies heavily on violence to keep their gamers invested.
So where does that leave Alan Wake? Will there be enough blood to satisfy customers? Will they be enough over-the-top violence to keep their attentions? Will this game drown out Heavy Rain or will it too be pushed to the back as just another good title they don’t appreciate?
The future success of this new franchise is absolutely crucial. It is the only game capable of bringing a new audience to the Xbox 360 now as Natal is still too obscure to judge. There’s only so many shooters you can put out before even the most loyal fan tires of frag-fests. Alan Wake must blow people’s minds. It must go above and beyond all games to date. It must inspire the Xbox faithful and Microsoft’s gaming division to embrace new genres.
After so many years of development and delays, is Alan Wake really worth the hype? Can it open up the 360 community to new experiences or better yet inspire developers to take a chance with similar titles in the future on the Xbox 360?