Technology How the Summer Game Fest rewarded fans for their...

How the Summer Game Fest rewarded fans for their patience with highly anticipated sequels | The Dean Beat


In 2010, I wrote a review of Alan Wake titled, “Alan Wake elevates video games to an art form.” I reviewed the game for the Xbox 360 and said it was a “work of art and one of the best video games I’ve ever played”.

I said it deserved critical acclaim, but the jury was out on whether it will be a commercial success as well. And so you can imagine my delight yesterday when I saw new gameplay from Alan Wake II, a highly anticipated sequel due out this fall, 13 years after the original came out. It debuted at the Summer Game Fest, the two-hour live show in Los Angeles highlighting new games in place of the now-cancelled E3 trade show.

In 2010 I wrote, “Famous film critic Roger Ebert recently wrote a misinformed post about how video games are not an art form. He did this without playing a variety of highly recommended, artistic games Braid Unpleasant Flower. And he did that without playing Alan Wake, which was developed over six years by the Finnish game studio Remedy Entertainment. The game, published by Microsoft, debuted on the Xbox 360 last week, to much critical acclaim from everyone but Ebert. If he really played this game, he would eat his words.

For me, this question of whether video games can be an art form has been definitively answered over time with titles like That Dragon, Cancer; Grand Theft Auto V; god of war; Trip; Uncharted 4: The End of a Thief; Red Dead Redemption 2; BioShock; BioShock Infinite; Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice; The Unfinished Swan; Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons; Horizon: zero dawn; The last of us; and The Last of Us Part II.

I gave the original Alan Wake a 98/100 for my review score. Now we only use five stars, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the new one. The crowd also showed their enthusiasm for the new game, but perhaps no one was more thrilled than creative head Sam Lake, who got to announce the gameplay on stage at the show.

Of course, these developers don’t just sit still. They’ve made some very complicated plots. In this case, the writer Alan Wake is trapped in a nightmare reality. And in another reality, two FBI agents find a book with a horror story written by Alan Wake. And they discover that the stories unfold on the pages of the book, causing the separated worlds to collide. This kind of storytelling doesn’t just write itself. And the games around these stories also take a lot of time to make.

Sam Lake is creative director of Remedy Entertainment.

Somewhere along the line, Remedy deviated from the straight and narrow path to come up with a sequel. Remedy did an expansion pack in 2012, Alan Wake: American Nightmare.

In 2021, Remedy released a fully remastered version of Alan Wake to excite fans of the classic thriller action game. And now Lake said the game will take us to survival horror. Most studios don’t take that long to make their sequels. But games are like that. They are messy. They take a long time to come up with and get them right, and during the testing phases, the developers listen to the players and keep revising. And so the delays and pivots can easily add years to the projects. Other titles take precedence. And before you know it, 13 years have passed.

And more often than not, the real crowd pleasers at shows like the Summer Game Fest were cult classics that took another twist on the board. I feel like I’ve been waiting pretty patiently for this moment, and it felt good to take a selfie with Lake after the show.

Of course there are fans who have also had to wait a long time for other games. If Rockstar Games from Take-Two Interactive completes Grand Theft Auto VI in 2025, it will be a total of 12 years since the debut of Grand Theft Auto V. I hope this trend doesn’t continue because I’m getting pretty old myself. I’d love to see these games land in my lifetime.

The GamesBeat crew gets a selfie with Sam Lake.  Thomas Puha is the photo bomber.
The GamesBeat crew gets a selfie with Sam Lake. Thomas Puha is the photo bomber.

There were other crowd pleasers, such as Ubisoft’s unveiling of a new cartoonish version of the classic Prince of Persia. At the start of the Summer Game Fest, Ubisoft showed a trailer for Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown. The original Prince of Persia came out in 1989 and the last title in the series was The Shadow and the Flame, which debuted in 2013. So the new game coming in 2024 is a real treat.

I was also happy to see JRR Tolkien fans getting some love. While The Lord of the Rings: Gollum just debuted to some poor reviews, the Summer Game Fest saw the unveiling of The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria, a new branch of intellectual property that steered into new territory as the dwarves under Lord Gimli recaptures the mines of Moria in the Fourth Age of Middle-earth.

Return to Moria this fall.
Return to Moria this fall.

It was funny to hear that fans got prematurely excited when Keighley mentioned Final Fantasy on stage – to the roar of fans – only to deflate when he announced a Door Dash deal instead of a game. But fans like GamesBeat’s Mike Minotti got their reward for waiting for the final announcement during the show, when Keighley revealed Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth.

Final Fantasy VII rebirth.
Final Fantasy VII rebirth.

And, as Keighley proudly pointed out in a tweet, this time no one was arrested on the show (unlike last fall when a rogue fan grabbed the mic at The Game Awards.

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Shreya Christina
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