Helsinki-based Remedy today announced that the publishing rights to its cult thriller series Alan Wake have reverted to the studio. It's also gathering in a bit of pocket change from past royalties (a cool £2.25 million) as part of this, which should probably help keep the sauna in the basement running (yes it's real). The statement from the board of directors reads as follows:
For its first half-year period of 2019, Remedy Entertainment Plc records approximately 2.5 million euros of royalties from previously released games as one-time income. The royalties are paid to Remedy during the second half-year period of 2019. In relation to this, the publishing rights of Alan Wake games are reverted to Remedy.
This one-time income does not significantly affect Remedy’s full year result, because as previously reported, the Company continues to invest in developing new games, the success of which have a greater impact on the Company’s full year revenue and result.
Remedy's focus at the moment is the upcoming Control (releasing August 27 this year), which apparently has a complex open world structure and is less mainstream than the so-so Quantum Break (we think it looks pretty good). With regards to the Alan Wake news, this probably doesn't mean a new entry is on the way, even though there have been a few false alarms over the years (especially when Remedy trademarked 'Alan Wake's Return', which turned out to be the name of an in-game show in Quantum Break). Several sequels to the original were planned, and you can even see footage from one of them, but from the outside this looks like a simple case of a contract running its course.
Alan Wake was released in 2010, and sold respectably without quite being a smash hit. The sequel, Alan Wake's American Nightmare, followed two years later but was digital-only. What this looks like is the end of a ten-year contract in which Microsoft has had the option to extend (if, for example, Alan Wake had set the world on fire), but has decided not to do so. And one more blast from the specul-a-tron before I turn it off and become a responsible man again: this probably has as much to do with the reception of Quantum Break as it does the Alan Wake games. Remedy's last three titles have been Xbox/Windows exclusives, whereas Control is multiplatform.
I'd be delighted if I was wrong, because Alan Wake was an unusual and great experience that was *this close* to being truly special. I still haven't played anything quite like it, and the whole darkness/light mechanic was handled exceptionally well (you can see Alan Wake's influence strongly in the recent A Plague Tale). But in this industry, money talks and stressed-out novelists walk. Another adventure with Alan Wake would be welcome, but I'm not getting my hopes up.