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Is The Alan Wake 2 Trailer Teasing A Trilogy?

The announcement of Alan Wake 2 at the 2021 Game Awards finally confirmed what fans of the original Alan Wake and Control have been anticipating for at least a couple of years. But after scouring Remedy Entertainment’s trailer for clues about the upcoming return to the world of Alan Wake more than 10 years after the original’s release, it seems possible Remedy isn’t just teasing one game, but two.

The Alan Wake 2 trailer is littered with callbacks, references, and hints to Alan Wake and Control that seem to indicate where the story is headed. But one of those references suggests this could be the middle part of a three-part story. The hint appears in the trailer’s city portion, in one of the neon signs adorning the street near where Alan stands in the distance.

Now Playing: Alan Wake 2 Reveal Trailer | Game Awards 2021

If you check the sign on the right side of the street in both city portions, you can see it includes the letters “Init” and “ion,” with the middle letters blocked. But if you’ve been paying attention to the hints littering what Remedy now refers to as the Remedy Connected Universe of games, you can puzzle out what’s being spelled: “Initiation.”

The word Initiation here is a reference to the middle part of Joseph Campbell’s description of the “Monomyth,” detailed in The Hero’s Journey. The Monomyth consists of three parts: Departure, Initiation, and Return. In the original Alan Wake, “Departure” was the name of the reality-bending manuscript Alan wrote to empower himself to battle the supernatural Dark Presence. “Return” is the sequel manuscript by Alan referenced in a few places, including an Alan Wake Easter egg that appeared in Remedy’s time travel action game Quantum Break, and in This House of Dreams, a blog that served as an alternate reality tie-in with Alan Wake’s world.

Is this merely Alan’s middle portion of a three-part story?

Both This House of Dreams and the Quantum Break Easter egg also make note of Initiation, but this is the first time we’ve seen it directly referenced in any Alan Wake material. That it shows up in the Alan Wake 2 trailer may mark this story as the middle part of the hero’s journey for Alan.

The blackboard rundown of Alan Wake found in Quantum Break includes a lot of hints for AWE in Control.
The blackboard rundown of Alan Wake found in Quantum Break includes a lot of hints for AWE in Control.

But if this is the middle part of the story, and Alan Wake was the beginning, that necessarily implies a third part–a trilogy. It’s possible that both the Initiation and the Return chapters are included in Alan Wake 2, but notably, “Return” isn’t referenced in the trailer.

So it’s just a deep-cut hint that the Alan Wake 2 trailer implies an Alan Wake 3–but the hint is there. And that could very well further inform the kind of story Alan Wake 2 will be. All the hints we’ve seen so far suggest it’ll be frightening, including the trailer itself, in which Alan says, “This story is a monster.” The middle part of the hero’s journey includes their toughest trials and most arduous moments, and this game marks Remedy’s first foray into survival-horror. Expect Alan Wake 2 to go to some dark places.

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