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If there’s any game deserving of a roguelike mode, its Alan Wake 2

Roguelike modes are becoming a popular way of extending a PS5 or Xbox game's life, but Alan Wake 2 is the most natural fit for one.

Alan Wake 2 Roguelike Mode: An image of Alan Wake in the Dark Place in Alan Wake 2.

The surge of roguelike modes in popular Xbox and PS5 games is fascinating. From critical darlings like God of War Ragnarök to generation-defining games such as The Last of Us 2, placing players into punishing feats of survival is becoming commonplace for post-launch content. It doesn’t always belong in some of the games I’ve seen this mode appear in, but I know that Alan Wake 2 is a perfect fit.

With that in mind, be wary of some major story spoilers ahead.

We’re on track to see one of the best horror games of last year gain two new DLC additions already. Remedy Entertainment’s ‘Night Springs’ and ‘The Lake House’ expansions will explore new ground in the Remedy Connected Universe, ground that I’m eager to dig up and get consumed by. Before Alan Wake 2 takes me on a mind-warping journey again, I reckon that integrating its take on a roguelike mode is already intertwined with the game’s narrative.

Typically, roguelike modes in new PS5 games or new Xbox games include permanent death aspects, procedurally generated levels, and challenging foes to defeat by the end. Although the concept of what roguelike means has evolved, I believe it lends itself to survival-focused gameplay. Alan Wake 2 has that in spades. Because our favorite author can rewrite reality with a single press of a typewriter key, it makes the prospect of an Alan Wake 2 roguelike mode all the more enticing.

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Weaving this mechanic into a continuous solo run where Alan can open up pathways to random spaces with The Dark Place means more scares, more screams, and more scrapes with death to avoid. Alan Wake 2’s shift into a Resident Evil-adjacent shooter brings weight to each combat encounter, putting a spotlight on limited resources and approaching each situation rationally. Is it worth exhausting your ammo to see what lies in secretive corners of a level, or would it be better to press on, hoping salvation lies under the next source of light?

Players could face these possibilities, and it wouldn’t feel out of place with the game’s canon, either. Alan is constantly trying to write himself out of the hell he’s trapped in, hoping the next iteration of his manuscript will free him back into the real world. With Mr. Scratch, Alan’s evil doppelgänger, rewriting Alan’s manuscript into a horror story, it means that all manner of enemies can appear down the line in any given roguelike run.

Past and future versions of Alan are alluded to, as they leave clues to discover that may help him break free. Alan Wake 2’s new game plus mode, The Final Draft, adds a completely different ending that has huge lore implications. In the game’s ‘true’ ending, Alan finally escapes from The Dark Place, branding himself a “master” of dimensions. But what if this hypothetical roguelike mode was a version of the ‘Return’ manuscript that failed? Remedy could go wild here, which seems impossible given how gloriously bonkers Sam Lake and co. already are when it comes to crafting this universe.

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That swing-for-the-fences mentality is why Alan Wake 2 is one of the best PS5 games I’ve ever played, and there’s so much more that can be gained from it. After all, it’s a loop, not a spiral.