When the psychological action thriller Alan Wake first released for the Xbox 360 back in May 2010, it quickly garnered a cult following of fans eager to speculate on the many mysteries introduced in the game, including a very ambiguous ending that left players clamoring for more (myself included). Remedy delivered with two DLC “special episodes” and, earlier this year, an arcade semi-sequel called Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (around the same time they brought the original game to Steam, capturing the attention of a whole new batch of gamers). Still, fans won’t stop begging for a full sequel, and while the folks at Remedy won’t confirm they’re working on one, it certainly seems as though they’ve already started a campaign to create buzz for the next installment in the Alan Wake franchise.
On the very same day Alan Wake’s American Nightmare released for XBLA — February 22, 2012 — a blog called This House of Dreams was created at Blogspot by someone named “Samantha.” Initially, it appears to exist for the purpose of recording Samantha’s progress as she remodels her dream home, which she’s just bought in some town named Ordinary (no state is mentioned, and her profile lists her location as simply “United States”). However, by the third blog entry she starts talking about a shoebox she found in the attic, containing a stack of old poems written on a typewriter and two damaged photos of a mysterious diver and his girlfriend. Immediately, she starts having strange dreams and all kinds of weird stuff starts happening to her (stuff that will sound very familiar to anyone who’s played the game).
But where it really gets interesting is when she posts photos she’s taken of the poems. They appear to be the work of Thomas Zane, as one of them is straight from the first game (the one about the “deeper, darker ocean green”) and many include handwritten notes referring to B. (Barbara Jagger) and E. (Emil Hartman). Interestingly, each of these poems includes at least one line which matches the title of either one of Thomas Zane’s books (as seen in a shoebox in the cabin at the beginning of the game) or one of the Old Gods of Asgard’s albums.
Although it launched in February, it seems no one really knew about this blog until someone posted a link to it on the official Remedy forums, a few days after Alan Wake’s American Nightmare launched for PC. The post is written as if by a fan, but it’s the person’s ONLY post on the forums and they’d made the account that day (in fact, they haven’t even logged back in since that day). A little suspicious, no? Still, the blog could have been the work of a particularly creative fan… except for the very interesting fact that Samantha’s house is in a place called Ordinary and there is a hidden message in the Old Gods of Asgard song “Balance Slays the Demon” (which appears in Alan Wake’s American Nightmare) saying, “It will happen again, in another town — a town called Ordinary.” More than anything else, this is all the evidence I need to be confident the blog is Remedy’s doing. However, true to form with viral marketing, they haven’t confirmed that (although lead writer Sam Lake did tweet the link).
If you’re a fan of Alan Wake, you definitely need to check out the blog. Make sure you read it in reverse order (earliest to latest) to follow Samantha’s adventure (or misadventure, as the case may be). The past few entries have been especially exciting for those who like to analyze and speculate!