Alan Wake is not like Heavy Rain, Halo Reach, God of War III, Splinter Cell: Conviction or any of the other big 2010 games that are not named for their star character. That's intentional.
With Alan Wake, we've got a game that was named more like Super Mario Brothers than like Tomb Raider, more like Sonic or Duke Nukem than Resident Evil or Silent Hill. This is the preference of Remedy Entertainment, the development studio that is now on a name-the-game-after-the-hero streak with Alan Wake following their lest efforts, the Max Payne games.
"We really like to start with stories and characters," Remedy boss Matias Myllyrinne told Kotaku yesterday during our latest podcast. "Characters can develop or evolve over time and by their very nature they are somebody we can relate to and hopefully with Alan Wake we've succeeded in developing more than a cardboard cut-out of a character that you sometimes see in games, those super space marines or typical ex-Navy SEAL type of character that is just a hunk of muscle and becomes a gun rack. We wanted to go slightly further and to build him into somebody who could go in different places, or different situations or different points in time and we can certainly see him kind of evolve as a person as well. That's very much the Remedy way of looking at it.
"To be honest, there are a few things there just in terms of what you're promoting. If you're talking about 'Alan Wake,' you're talking about the character, you're talking about the game. It makes it a lot easier for us. Those are little tips and tricks we picked up from our friends at 3D Realms, Scott Miller and George Broussard, back in the day. Those are things that seem to work for us and things we stuck to."
3D Realms produced Max Payne, and before that, created a cultural icon with Duke Nukem, a game named after its hero.
As for alternate names? Myllyrinne said: "If we would have gone with something else, we would have gone with the small town location. We would have called it Bright Falls or even very early on when we were tweaking with names we might have called it Night Falls, Night Springs, the TV show in the game."
Listen to all this and more in this week's episode of Kotaku Talk Radio.