Alan Wake Gets Lost in the Woods

There comes point in game developer’s lives where excitement can sometime make you forget about the long road. At least, that is the case for the Finland-based company, Remedy Entertainment. Recently, they finally put out their first next-generation title since Max Payne, Alan Wake. Over the past six years, this game has hit many speed bumps. In fact, back in 2007, there was a possibility that the game was cancelled. Fortunately, this was not the case; however on the flip side, the Pc version was, indeed, never meant for release. Before I go on, I just want to state that this just completely my thoughts on why it did not sell. I own the game, and play it daily.

When Alan Wake was first revealed, it caught the attention of many gamers, including myself. It was one of those games that made light probably the most important element of the game. At the time, this technique felt real unique. Over the course of the development, nevertheless it somewhat became very aged and outdated. Upon release, reviews from all sorts of sites, including ours, stated the same thing basically. Now let’s fast-forward to April 7, 2010, the announcement that the game went gold. This had to be probably the proudest moment for the entire team. There were so proud, that they were celebrating the day with expensive champagne. To even challenge themselves, they came out with this statement:

We are betting the farm on [Alan Wake] and if this isn’t a success we’ll be selling hotdogs in Helsinki. Really. We were in a good situation after Max Payne 2 and we invested everything after selling the intellectual property and putting it back into the love of making videogames. Everything’s gone into this project so this will ultimately set us up for how we continue and how many videogames we can make in the future.

Unfortunately, they may have bit themselves and spoken too soon. You would think that since this was a Microsoft-published title, there would have been some sort of marketing. Even though this is a third-party exclusive, it is still an exclusive. Any title that Microsoft puts out, especially one as unique as this, should receive any advertising. If you don’t think that is the case, you should look at the marketing campaign for Gears of War. With that being said, sales were down. In fact, as of the first two weeks, the game did not even break the 300,000 barrier worldwide. To be exact, it sold around, 287,000 copies. World-wide. For a Xbox 360 title, I would expect way more than that.  I know what you are saying, “Where did you get this information?”

Before I answer that, I want you to know that there isn’t a huge source of sale numbers. If it isn’t from the developer or publisher themselves, then we rely on one thing: VGChartz. Now, I know that it isn’t the most reliable, but until we get official numbers, this is the closest thing to accurate. Another factor that may have played a major role was the release date. On May 18, there was a total of four games was put onto retail shelves, including the highly acclaimed, Red Dead Redemption.

So what do you think cause the low sales? No marketing? Non-stellar review scores? Or the time date? Will it sell more this month? I believe if it doesn’t do right by the end of E3 2010, then I just don’t see it selling much more. I really do want this game to do well, but if it can’t perform, then Remedy may just be selling hotdogs. I really hate to see anyone lose their job, especially in this economy. I don’t even like sale numbers, but for a game like this, I would have expected it to do so much better. Leave your comments and tell me what you think.

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