Remedy Explains Alan Wake Exclusivity

If you think back to many years ago you might remember that Alan Wake was originally supposed to be a multiplatform game that would launch on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. As development of the game chugged along, the PS3 version was the first to get the cut, with the PC version being lopped closer to release. While speaking with CVG, Remedy CTO, Markus Maki, gives a small amount of insight as to why the game ended up only on Microsoft’s console, as well as a few other big decisions that had to be made during development.

For starters, Markus revealed that Alan Wake was almost another product of the Unreal Engine but Remedy decided against it due to the technology being so young at the time.

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“We looked at Unreal and other technologies out there, but this was actually before the PS3 and Xbox 360 were ever even released. At that point, we didn’t dare commit to shipping a game on third-party tech until the developers of that tech had shipped a game on each of those platforms. Five years later, [I’ll admit] that the reasoning wasn’t solid because these guys beat us to the punch easily.”

Markus went on to talk about why there was no multiplayer included, as well as how the decision to go platform-exclusive really boiled down to a “technology risk”.

“We needed to be top notch in some areas, but we knew we couldn’t do everything better than some developers out there. For example, this meant there was no multiplayer. That wasn’t in our core set of skills and it would have been a huge effort.

We also took the approach to license middleware that made sense, even when we didn’t end up using it all for one reason or another. And then, the big deal – to go with Microsoft and take one big technological effort, the PS3, out of the equation. That then changed the technology risk to a business risk – but that’s a subject for a different talk altogether…”

Definitely some interesting tidbits in there but perhaps the most interesting thing Markus told CVG was that Alan Wake’s engine was built from scratch by only eight programmers. I’ll admit to being highly uneducated on what it takes to create an engine but eight people seems very low. That may also explain why the development cycle for Alan Wake was so lengthy, despite lacking multiplayer and only launching on a single platform.

Source: CVG

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16 Comments

  1. Excuses?

    I get the feeling they are a little upset at the amount of work that went into this game against its sales. Not met anyone that thought it was anything above average.

    Interesting read though.

    • I didn’t regard them as excuses but the rest of your comment is spot on, I feel. It’s great when they come out and are pretty transparent. Multiplayer would have been a complete abortion but it’s a shame it didn’t see the light of day on all three formats.

      It was a good game but nothing awesome and I guess they won’t look to bringing it out on the PC or PS3 due to more dev-time and not the best of sales. Bit of a shame, that one.

  2. Brilliant game, one of my favorites of 2010. But it was without doubt a mistake to go exclusive for 360. The audience among the 360 users simply wasn’t there and while ps3 users also play games like COD and Fifa a lot. I’m sure a game like Alan Wake would have done quite well, if released for ps3.

    Not long ago Alan Wake did cross one million in sales, which hopefully is enough for a sequel. The big question is, will there be a PS3 version or is it to late now.

    • It depends really. They may want to, but it might not be worthwhile.

  3. no mention of any financial incentives for going xbox exclusive, even though i have no doubt there were some.

    not wanting to code a version on the apparently hard to code for ps3 is one thing, but i can see only one reason why they dropped the pc version.

    i do believe that this game would have gotten better sales on the ps3 than it did on the 360, but we’ll never know for sure now.

    • Microsoft also has the whole ‘Games for Windows Live’ deal so I highly doubt they bought exclusivity away from the PC.

      It sounds to me like Remedy had a fairly small crew working on Alan Wake, which would explain going to a single platform to make things as simple as possible, especially since they built their own engine. I imagine creating an engine specific to one console was probably a lot easier than making one that will work across 3 platforms.

      OR, maybe Microsoft came in and started throwing money in the air while dancing around their office. That apparently happens any time they get something exclusive or one of their games receives good reviews.

      • ms haven’t exactly shown a lot of love for the pc platform lately have they?

        alan wake wouldn’t be the first game published by ms that has neglected the pc, including titles from much bigger developers than remedy, what was the last big ms published game to get a pc release?
        halo 2 maybe? and they just used that as a tool to sell xp didn’t they?
        ms have shown their focus is on the xbox.

        remedy’s previous games were on pc, so it’s not like they don’t have experience.

        and the xbox is pretty close to the pc when it comes to architecture.

        maybe remedy didn’t want to see their game used to blackmail pc owners into upgrading to windows 7.

        i’m not saying money was the only reason, it may not have even been the main reason, but you can’t believe that it wasn’t a factor.

      • I’m not going to sit here and speculate with the tiny amount of knowledge that we have on this situation. I’m just saying that Remedy would not be the first third-party developer that have chosen to bypass PC and develop strictly for consoles.

        It’s hard finding reliable numbers for PC sales these days due to all the digital downloads but I feel confident saying that they pale in comparison to console sales. Therefore, I think it’s perfectly feasible that a developer and/or publisher decides on their own to cut that platform out of the equation, without any financial reward.

      • Games for Windows Live is a joke, and any PC gamer can tell you that. Microsoft has used it’s position to funnel games away from PC towards the 360, it’s not only likely, it’s pretty obvious. The 360 is a closed network that they can nickle and dime you to death with. Subscriptions, DLC packs that are stupid and meaningless that are overpriced. And everyone just swallows it right up.

        Making exclusive content is perfectly fine, announcing it as multiplatform and advertising as multiplatform for 5 years, before yanking one of the versions. That’s where I have a problem.

      • well, i’m just giving my opinion.

        but it’s clear for, almost, everybody to see that ms have seriously neglected the pc platform for a number of years now, as far as games go anyway.

      • I understand that and I completely respect your opinion. And in this case, you may be right, as I did some additional digging and Remedy said that it was not their decision to cut PC out of the mix. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that Microsoft is neglecting PC, they even said it themsleves a while back. I’m just saying that without further info it seemed naive to jump to that same old “Microsoft paid them!” line when a matter like this comes up.

  4. No wonder there were only 8 people working on the engine there aren’t even schools just for game programming here

  5. hmm like others have said I think they chose to release on the wrong platform. I understand cutting out other consoles if it’s absolutely necessary but you should consider your market and games like Alan Wake, from my experience have always been much more popular on PS brands while more action packed games like shooters and racers were more popular on the 360. Even if they did build for one platform I don’t see why they couldn’t have ported afterwards. I hope if there is an Alan Wake 2 they will think things over more. And yeah, I also agree that MS probably threw some money in somewhere.

  6. Whatever Remedy has to say, I’m not buying it. Alan Wake was originally announced _in 2005_ as a PC/360 title. It was not until February of 2010 that the PC title was ‘scrapped’ and 360 exclusivity announced. (In fact, Alan Wake was announced before Gran Turismo 5, go figure).

    Long Story short, once Microsoft realized PC gamers were vastly more interested than 360 owners in Alan Wake, they decided to force Rememdy to yank the PC version, to try to force people into the 360 version. And I’m glad it tanked.

  7. Alan Wake is an awesome game, I’m playing through it now. I do think it would have been a more popular game in PS but we can never know now. I really hope they do a sequel, or pump out a load of episodes for it in lieu of a full blown sequel.

  8. Bit gutted this is not on PS3, seems like it would have suited the PS3 better but I think I would have just rented it anyways.

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