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Alan Wake 2 is digital-only because it gives Remedy "more time to polish"

"We didn't want to release something that we weren't proud of."

As we learned in May, from an FAQ provided by developer Remedy, Alan Wake 2 will only have a digital release when it launches on October 17th later this year, with "no plans" for a physical release on disc at the time.

This has naturally sparked some concern among certain fans, with digital-only downloads posing issues for both game preservation, as shown by the closure of the Nintendo 3DS eShop in March this year, as well as ownership rights, exemplified by the infamously de-listed survival horror spinoff PT.

Speaking to Eurogamer at Summer Games Fest earlier this month, Alan Wake 2's creative director Sam Lake and game director Kyle Rowley gave us a little more detail on the reasoning behind going digital-only, explaining that, actually, it was to allow Remedy more time to polish the game to an acceptable level - something publisher Epic Games had also been on board with.

"Yeah, it is digital only, and kind of coming to this idea, both from Remedy and Epic's perspective, that's our current thinking. It just felt it makes sense for this, and the timing felt right," Lake explained, before Rowley gave a little more detail.

"As creatives obviously, by going digital-only it does allow us more time to polish the game," Rowley said. "Like, a significant amount of weeks actually. Because otherwise, the game that goes on the disc, obviously it has to be playable without a patch."

"We didn't want to release something that we weren't proud of basically, and that we didn't want players to play. So hopefully this way we can give you a better version of the game."

It's a slightly different reason for the one given in the original FAQ, which claimed that keeping to digital would help to keep the price of the game down.

"There are many reasons for this," the FAQ said. "For one, a large number of players have shifted to digital only. You can buy a Sony PlayStation 5 without a disc drive and Microsoft's Xbox Series S is a digital only console. It is not uncommon to release modern games as digital-only.

"Secondly, not releasing a disc helps keep the price of the game at $59.99 / €59.99 and the PC version at $49.99 / €49.99 [£49.99 and £39.99 respectively in the UK]."

That said, Rowley's point about additional time to polish does chime with an additional explanation from the FAQ:

"Finally, we did not want to ship a disc product and have it require a download for the game - we do not think this would make for a great experience either."

You can read much more from our conversation with Lake and Rowley, as well as our impressions on an extended behind-closed-doors demo, in our big Alan Wake 2 preview.

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