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Games

Your Last Chance to Buy Meta-Masterpiece 'Alan Wake'

Expiring music rights mean Remedy’s strangest game is disappearing.

by Rob Zacny
May 13 2017, 5:56pm

courtesy Remedy Entertainment

Alan Wake is a weird game even by the singular and self-referential standards of Remedy Entertainment. It's a third-person shooter about a bad case of writer's block, and the agony of trying to bridge the gulf between genre craftsmanship and high art. One of your most precious resources is your stock of Energizer-brand batteries, and during one of the most tense and frightening moments in the game you will likely be surprised by a Verizon ad on a nearby TV screen. It's crass, ham-fisted, and often completely at odds with itself.

I love it.

Few games are as aware of and obsessed with their flaws as Alan Wake is, and I don't think there's another one that basically morphs into a metaphor for its own production the way Alan Wake does. Rather than just ship a badly flawed Twin Peaks homage, Remedy basically treated the back-half of their game as a discussion of how things went wrong. Yet it also ends with some of the most affirming, sincere celebrations of creativity I've ever seen. It's a beautiful mess, and a game well-worth revisiting.

But if you want to experience it on PC, you basically have to buy it this weekend. As Motherboard reports, the game's superb soundtrack has proved its undoing: the music licenses for Alan Wake are expiring, and Remedy will not able to sell it come Monday.

The silver lining is that it's available for one final weekend at fire-sale prices. Remedy is slapping a 90% discount on the game, meaning that you can pick it up for just a few bucks today and tomorrow. After that, while owners will always be able to download it any time, you won't be able to purchase it online.

This isn't the first time something like this happened, of course. It won't be the last. But it's a shame that issues like this can cause a creative work to effectively disappear. For now, however, I recommend you take a few bucks and enjoy this bizarre cult-classic in all its original glory, complete with the soundtrack that is causing its (hopefully temporary) disappearance.

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