Sometimes a David Bowie Song Gets Your Favorite Game Pulled from Steam

Developer announces huge discount for Alan Wake ahead of removal due to music license issues.
May 12, 2017, 4:56pm

Recognizable music from pop culture can greatly enhance a creative work—just look at the success of the soundtracks for the two Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Sometimes, though, as the makers of the critically acclaimed 2010 horror game Alan Wake recently found out, the approach causes unfortunate trouble down the line.

Earlier this morning developer Remedy Entertainment announced on Twitter that it'll be removing the game from Steam on May 15 "due to expiring music licenses."

In a followup tweet, Remedy confirmed that Alan Wake would be removed from Xbox Live, too. On the bright side, you can keep the game if you already have it on Steam or Xbox Live or buy it between now and Monday, and to that end Alan Wake will be on sale on Steam with a staggering 90 percent discount starting tomorrow. The removal doesn't affect the 2012 followup Alan Wake's American Nightmare, but even so, the Steam discount will cover every Alan Wake title and all associated downloadable content.

Remedy said in a post on its official forums that it's "looking into relicensing the music for Alan Wake, but have no timeframe for this."

That's a shame, as Alan Wake has a fantastic soundtrack. Aside from the base score by Petri Alanko, it also includes such notable songs as David Bowie's "Space Oddity," Roy Orbison's "In Dreams," and Depeche Mode's "The Darkest Star." And because we could all use a little more Bowie in our lives, you can check out one of the tracks in the video above as it appeared within the game. ("Space Oddity" also serves as the end credits track.)

Yet the presentation above raises an important question—since the famous licensed songs appear in such an isolated fashion, couldn't Remedy, erm, remedy the situation by removing the songs and replacing them with something else?

As Remedy said in a tweet to me, it's "really not so simple for a large variety of engineering, resources, etc reasons."