May’s NPD numbers for thriller-fest Alan Wake were disappointingly low but Remedy’s head of franchise Oskari Hakkinen remains optimistic about the game’s success: “Overall we have been very pleased with the reception of Alan Wake with both the press and the fans alike. People compliment the story first and foremost, but love the characters, the combat and, of course, the setting.” In my review I awarded a generous B+ for these very reasons and am a little surprised at the lack of interest from consumers. Selling only 145,000 units in the US throughout May must sting especially since it took over five years to develop. Hakkinen blames their competitors for the poor sales: “There is no doubt that Alan Wake hit the shelves during a very competitive launch window, with some games dominating with extremely aggressive marketing.” He could be right and appears to be benefitting from gamers recommendations “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. 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 was previously doubtful as to whether Alan Wake will continue after its upcoming DLC but now seems happier about the possibility. He beamed at the launching of the Bright Falls webisodes online showing all six of the live-action prequels to the game’s story. “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,” said Hakkinen who added that this form of marketing suggests that Microsoft haven’t given up on turning Alan Wake into a multi-game franchise. Until further sales figures come in, it’s difficult to say whether this is indeed true but I certainly enjoyed the game and its characters enough to keep more than one pair of fingers crossed.