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Alan Wake 2 references Max Payne, despite confirming it isn’t linked

There are tons of Alan Wake 2 Dark Place trailer easter eggs hidden away for fans to find, and we have pointed out some of the more interesting ones here.

Alan Wake 2 Dark Place trailer easter eggs: an image of Alan Wake distorted with a red background

Described as Remedy Entertainment’s “most ambitious, complex, and important” project in development right now, Alan Wake 2 is poised to be one of the best horror games out there when it launches on Xbox and PS5. In fact, it has the potential to be one of the best games of all time – and we don’t say that lightly. If you want to know what you’re getting into, here are six Alan Wake 2 trailer easter eggs from the newly-released Dark Place Trailer you may have missed first time around – one of which is a rather contradictory reference to Max Payne.

In an effort to give this list some sort of order, we’re going to be talking about these easter eggs chronologically from when they first appear in the Alan Wake 2 Dark Place Trailer that debuted at Gamescom 2023 Opening Night Live on August 22. Although, this is going to be a mind-bending experience, so there’s no telling which order these scenes actually play out – if at all – in the full release of the game.

A new season of Night Springs perhaps?

Still, first things first, we need to talk about Night Springs. A rather glaring homage to The Twilight Zone, Night Springs is a fictional TV show that features heavily in Alan Wake. It follows the same premise of detailing and documenting strange happenings that often go unexplained. It’s late night TV, and – at a glance – nothing of consequence.

However, Alan Wake writes for the show – and we all know how his manuscripts manipulate space and time. It’s also mentioned twice in Control, with the FBC planning to bring back the series to better acclimatize the general public to Altered Events and the various strange happenings it investigates. There’s also an episode of Night Springs, Over The Threshold Darkly, that seems to resemble the plot of Control. While we’re pretty certain Control is canon and happening in the ‘real world’, the fact that a Night Springs poster is appearing in The Dark Place could hint at yet more mind-bending revelations when it comes to reality and fiction – and any new episodes could even tease what’s coming next from Remedy Entertainment.

Alan Wake 2 Dark Place trailer easter eggs: a New York City street with a Night Springs poster in the background

Nightless Night, and Ahti’s big break

Next up, we have a poster for Nightless Night – a film we haven’t actually seen before in this universe. Supposedly “A Dark Place Film”, according to the poster, this doesn’t really seem like anything special at first glance – just a nice bit of decoration for The Dark Place.

Well, that isn’t the cast at all. One eagle-eyed Redditor, with the humorous username ‘JapaneseBidetNozzle‘, has pointed out that one of the cast members in Nightless Night is named Ahti. Ring any bells? Ahti is the janitor of the Oldest House in Control – a paranatural entity who continues to maintain the Oldest House without any knowledge of his origins, his true motivations, and how he even got there.

A mysterious figure who holds more power than we know about, Ahti is an important part of Control and could, in-turn, prove to be an important part of Alan Wake 2. The two are connected, after all.

Ahti’s New Job
by u/JapaneseBidetNozzle in AlanWake

Thomas Zane before he was Thomas Zane

The next thing we need to talk about, though, is the fact that Nightless Night is directed by Thomas Seine. While nothing notable at first glance, Redditor ‘PlantEnvironmental89‘ has highlighted that Thomas Zane – the owner of the Cauldron Lake cabin and the Diver in Alan Wake – was actually a European filmmaker before he moved to Bright Falls, became a poet, and everything went a bit strange.

Featuring in Control’s AWE expansion, Zane uses a Finnish phrase and Siene – the last name of the director of Nightless Night – is also Finnish. So, could this mean that Nightless Night is actually a film by Thomas Zane prior to any sort of name-change? It certainly seems likely when you consider the fact that Control’s Jesse Fayden discusses the work of Thomas Zane with her therapist in an audio recording in Control.

However, it’s hard to make out what all of this means right now. Connecting the dots beyond that, in a narrative as twisting and turning as this is sue to be, seems futile. Although, it does look like we get a glimpse of Thomas Siene in the trailer, which you can see below. Also trapped somewhat in The Dark Place, this could be a subtle way of Zane reaching out yet-again to try and get Alan to write him out of this nightmare.

Thomas Zane is an alias. The real name is Thomas Seine.
by u/PlantEnvironmental89 in AlanWake

Checking in to Control’s Oceanview Motel

Next up, mere moments later, we have a brief shot of Alan (or maybe his alter ego Mr Scratch) bursting through a door with a symbol you may recognize from Control’s Oceanview Motel. A Place of Power connecting multiple dimensions with one another, the Oceanview Motel is a pivotal part of Control and one of the most intriguing Altered Events in the game.  It’s also something we’ve seen before in Alan Wake 2 footage, albeit just neon signs and references.

Now, though, this small scene could actually reveal a more direct connection. We could very-well see Alan (or Mr Scratch) using the Oceanview Motel to find Alan in The Dark Place or his own mental reconstruction of the Cauldron Lake Cabin – the spiral symbol does denote an Alan Wake-related event in Control, after all. We know this is a bit of a jump, but if someone else is running around the Oceanview Motel, there’s nothing to say we won’t see Jesse Fayden in there at some point too.

 Alan Wake 2 Dark Place trailer easter eggs: Dishevelled Alan standing in a doorway with a spiral on it, holding a gun

Escaping Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Another small, but very important detail, you may have missed is that Alan Wake is wearing the same checkered shirt at one point in the trailer as he is in Alan Wake’s American Nightmare. This is a spin-off game that takes place in the fictional town of Night Springs and sees Alan battle more actively against Mr Scratch to escape. In the end, there’s no telling whether these events are real, part of the TV series Night Springs, or all in Alan’s mind. However, the fact that he’s wearing the same shirt could tie the events of this game directly into Alan Wake 2. In fact, we could very-well see that Alan’s escape from Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is what actually pulls him back into the real world.

We know that might seem like a bit of a stretch, but at around the 1:08 mark, we also see Alan Wake in combat with this shirt on – and he’s definitely not in downtown New York City anymore. This could mean we get a brief re-telling of the events of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare or more evidence of what really happened – or, another interpretation of what happened, at least.

Alan Wake 2 Dark Place trailer easter egg: an image of Alan wearing a black and white check shirt

May Payne details, despite not being linked

One thing that stands out from the rest, though, is the clear reference to Max Payne in one of the billboard posters spotted towards the end of the trailer. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Remedy Entertainment’s Sam Lake reveals that Quantum Break and Max Payne “are not part of Remedy’s plans” when it comes to a connected universe.

However, as highlighted ‘gitrektali’ online, the line “it’s a cold day in hell” is a reference to a phrase featured in the Max Payne series. There’s also a brief shot of the number 665, a one-liner in the original Max Payne. So, even though they’re not connected, there does seem to be more than one reference to this series of shooters. Could Lake be lying? We doubt that, but you never know with an experience as twisted and confusing as this seems to be.

Max Payne reference in Alan Wake 2 Screenshots
by u/gitrektali in AlanWake

Of course, if you want to watch the trailer in full at your own pace, you can find it down below:

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It’s safe to say that Alan Wake 2 is shaping up to be something special. If you want to know more about all the upcoming Xbox games and upcoming PS5 games on the way around the same time as the Alan Wake 2 release date, you can find out more here.

Alan Wake 2 lets you piece together your own mystery, but will let you know when you get it wrong. So, don’t worry if all of this sounds confusing. It’s meant to be that way, we think.