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Alan Wake, Max Payne designer talks about what makes his games tick

by Eric Frederiksen | June 5, 2017June 5, 2017 3:00 pm PST

Remedy’s games don’t hit the right notes for every gamer out there, but the studio has been consistently pumping out great third-person action games for nearly two decades now, and making a living of it. So what’s their secret? In a recent discussion, Remedy’s creative director Sam Lake dissected his own games for an audience, all the while dressing up as his games’ own leads to tell the story.

It’s a long one

The talk clocks in at 47 minutes, so you might want to set aside a lunchbreak to take a look at it.  Lake talks about building characters and the difficulty in making them work in the framework of an action game.

For example, Lake says, the studio builds its games through the eyes of its characters. You’re not experiencing the world the character lives in, but rather the world as that character sees it. That brings in things like bullet time and weird drug trips in Max Payne and shadows and words that attack you in Alan Wake. The team uses consistent themes in their titles, too. Lake says he goes back to the idea of struggling to be with your loved ones when the world is getting in the way.

“Everyone wants to be with their loved ones, but our hero is ultimately on this journey on his own,” Lake says.

If you’re a fan of Remedy games or just a fan of how games approach stories, this is worth a look. Or maybe you just like Lake’s perfectly-coiffed hair and Finnish accent.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...