Saying that Microsoft has a first party problem is a bit of an understatement. Sure, this year they acquired five new game studios, at least one of which was founded by Microsoft themselves. Two of those studios were already making exclusives for Microsoft(Though one of them now has double the output working on two projects simultaneously.). One studio that had been in Microsofts corner since last generation was Remedy Entertainment, developers of Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break. Two of those are exclusive to Microsoft platforms, and Alan Wake is particular is a narrative masterpiece. It’s a game that was designed for multiple sequels with a world rich in lore. And yet, despite fan demand for an Alan Wake 2, it never occurred.
The original Alan Wake was released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PC. It received critical acclaim, two DLC chapters that were intend to lead into a sequel, and a spin-off title called Alan Wake: American Nightmare. American Nightmare, however, was not Alan Wake 2, and was not as well received as the original game. It could be said that the lackluster reception to American Nightmare is what put the Alan Wake IP on ice. According to Remedy, they are still very interested in making Alan Wake 2, a story that will inevitably be told in the recently announced television adaptation which will apparently start with the story of the first game. However, because the Alan Wake IP belongs to Microsoft, as does Quantum Break, Remedy can’t move forward on anything new without Microsoft’s greenlight. The decision to put Alan Wake on the backburner, and the greenlight for Quantum Break’s development, ultimately lie with the previous Microsoft leadership before current head of Xbox Phil Spencer came to power.
While Spencer has certainly made some questionable decisions after taking over, namely putting Quantum Break, yet another franchise with potential and sequel plans, on ice as well as cancelling the highly anticipated Scalebound, he’s also the kind of man that gives the fans what they want. While bringing Scalebound back might be out of the question, giving Remedy, a team with the capability to develop multiple titles simultaneously, the go ahead to develop an Alan Wake 2 for the next-gen Xbox and PC would certainly boost their first party portfolio and win over the diehard Alan Wake fans who’ve been begging for the game for nearly a decade. The fact that Microsoft greenlit a TV adaptation means that they may finally be ready to revisit the IP. Whether or not the TV adaptation is all they will do is up for debate. What I can say is that Microsoft not acquiring Remedy while the iron was hot was certainly a missed opportunity. At this point it would be difficult to acquire them since they’re already developing games aimed at multiple platforms, one of which has already been announced and on Sony’s stage no less. That likely complicates things.