Remedy held onto the property rights for Alan Wake since its 2010 release, but Microsoft had the publishing rights until recently. This acquisition, along with a 2.5-million Euro royalty payment, puts the Finnish dev in complete control of Alan Wake.
It’s been nearly a decade since the action-adventure thriller Alan Wake was released for the Xbox 360 (and later PC), and in that time it’s become something of a cult classic. The television-like pacing, spooky atmosphere, and mystery at the heart of the game made for a memorable experience. Since then, Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment has gone on to make Quantum Break and the upcoming Control, while Microsoft held onto Alan Wake’s publishing rights. In a brief, surprising announcement, Remedy revealed that it has now acquired those publishing rights, putting the franchise fully in its control.
Remedy’s statement also mentions a royalty payout: “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.”
GameDaily reached out to lawyer Richard Hoeg about the royalty payout, and his analysis is that it “looks from afar like some kind of royalty catch up for the final period of a license. In other words, Remedy would have been paid a royalty on any sales over a period of time… instead there is a ‘final period’ payment being made to indicate the cessation of the relationship.”
As for the “games” referenced in Remedy’s statement, Hoeg believes that refers to Alan Wake and its standalone spinoff Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, as opposed to follow-up Quantum Break. With Microsoft and Remedy splitting the rights to the Alan Wake IP, neither could move forward on the series without the other; “both parties would need to agree for a new Alan Wake to be made,” as Hoeg put it. “Now, with the full copyright unified, Remedy is the master of Alan Wake’s destiny.”
In a 2018 interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Remedy CEO Tero Virtala commented on the difficulties of the IP split, particularly in regards to Alan Wake and Quantum Break. “Alan Wake was really interesting but it was a collaboration with Microsoft. Due to certain reasons, it never got a sequel. Quantum Break, also, we put a lot of effort into creating the world, the characters, the stories, but still it was Microsoft IP. They decided not to take it further. If we owned the IP, it's fully in our hands… And then maybe one day in the future, if it proves to be successful, it's again in our hands to decide what will be done.”
That said, this news in no way implies that Alan Wake 2 is imminent. Remedy hasn’t made a statement about its future plans for the IP, if any, and did not return our request for comment. Further, as Hoeg says, “Had they paid for the right (like Bungie did in respect of Destiny earlier this year), I would be more confident that Remedy intended to do something with it,” but right now “the future of Alan Wake is a bit more muddled.”
With Control due out August 27, that’s likely Remedy’s most immediate priority. Remedy shifted to a different publisher, 505 Games, for Control’s multi-platform release while retaining all the rights to this new IP. Now that it also owns Alan Wake outright, who knows what the future holds? As PS4 release could certainly be a possibility. A spokesperson told Eurogamer, "The only thing we want to clarify, now that Remedy owns the publishing rights, is that we could bring Alan Wake to different platforms if we so choose."
As for a sequel, Remedy hasn't committed to anything, but we now have some hope. “The likelihood of more Alan Wake has increased today, even if by only a small amount,” Hoeg told us. There’s always a light in the darkness.
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