Remedy head of franchise Oskari Hakkinen has told VG247 that Alan Wake faced stiff opposition and “extremely aggressive marketing” from rival games in its May launch month, following last week’s NPD numbers showing low US sales for the thriller.
NPD data showed the game sold only 145,000 units in the US last month, but Hakkinen insisted Remedy was buoyed by overall feedback.
“Overall we have been very pleased with the reception of Alan Wake with both the press and the fans alike,” he said. “People compliment the story first and foremost, but love the characters, the combat and, of course, the setting.
“There is no doubt that Alan Wake hit the shelves during a very competitive launch window, with some games dominating with extremely aggressive marketing.
“However, we’ve always tried to stay unique and do something new and different in videogames.”
Both Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Red Dead Redemption released in May, with respective American sales of 564,000 and 1.51 million.
Have legs, will travel
Despite a tough market, Hakkinen said Wake’s seen “a growing interest” since release, and that the IP does “have legs” to continue.
“This breath of fresh air for gamers seems to now be working to our advantage, as those that have already enjoyed Wake are clearly inspired to talk more about the game and tell their fellow gamers to try it also,” said Hakkinen.
“The word of mouth phenomenon is very apparent with Alan Wake. There has been a growing interest in the title and it certainly seems to ‘have legs’ to sustain.”
Hakkinen’s comments breathe a little more life into Wake’s prospects, following an IGN interview in June that appeared the cast doubt over whether or not Microsoft had decided to move ahead with a sequel.
“We wouldn’t really be able [to create more DLC episodes],” Hakkinen said at the time.
“If we were to confirm a sequel at some point, which we’d like to do relatively soon.”
The developer admitted in the interview that he was unable to “confirm” an Alan Wake sequel.
Shining light on the situation
Hakkinen seemed more optimistic about Wake’s future in general today, though, adding that Remedy is also “really pleased” with the creation and promotion of the Bright Falls webisodes, a six-part live-action series which prequeled the game proper.
“The Bright falls webisodes are a great way to get a taste of the stylization, an introduction to some of the characters and the fiction,” he said.
“Even non-gamers have enjoyed them and I highly recommend those that haven’t spent the 30 minutes watching the six five-minute episodes to dive into them.
“We were really pleased with this marketing approach and it supports the ideology that Alan Wake is not a come-and-go trend title, rather something that grows in interest through experience and interest of the story.”
Alan Wake was announced back at E3 2005 for next-gen systems and PC, before being confirmed for Xbox 360 at E3 2006.
Following reappearances in late 2008 and E3 last year, the game’s release window was confirmed at X10 in San Francisco in February, where it was also announced that Microsoft had canned the game’s PC version.