Alan Wake won't just be gaining a few things in his upcoming remaster (a nicer face, for instance), he'll be losing a few things too, specifically in the form of all that product placement infamously infesting the original version of developer Remedy's cult-classic horror game.
Alan Wake's decidedly unsubtle attempts at paid product placement came in for some considerable criticism when it released back in 2010. The otherwise picturesque town of Bright Falls, which serves as the backdrop to Remedy's adventure, was, for instance, littered with billboards for US phone service provider Verizon, and Wake's supernaturally imbued flashlight seemed unusually fussy when it came to matters of evil-fighting, making exclusive use of Energizer batteries - meaning thousands of the brazenly branded buggers littered every nook, shelf, and unlikely hidey-hole throughout the game.
And it didn't end there; Bright Falls' spooky streets and forest-lined roads played host to vehicles manufactured by Ford and Lincoln, and Microsoft, which published the original Alan Wake, even managed to squeeze a few of its products in too.
"Too bad Barry isn't around to comment on [Alan Wake DLC] The Signal's lowest moment," Eurogamer wrote back in 2011, "when Alan turns his torch toward the word 'phone' and a heavily branded Verizon cell phone fills the screen. The product placement is embarrassing enough when the cinematic manages to show three Verizon logos in as many seconds. But when Zane's voice comes on the line to greet Alan with Verizon's advertising slogan - "Can you hear me now?" - dignity walks out the door and hails a cab."
Thankfully, those that balk at real-life intruding too readily on their video game fictions will soon be able to rest easy, no longer forced to ponder why Energizer batteries rubbishly last mere minutes in Bright Falls or just why its citizens apparently need so many damn phones.
As confirmed to ScreenRant, Remedy is ditching all that product placement when Alan Wake Remastered launches later this year. According to a PR representative, all previous brand deals have expired and all real-life product placement seen in the original game will be replaced with in-universe branding. All the already made-up stuff, however, such as the various songs and TV shows seen and heard throughout the game, will remain.
But while it might be time to wave goodbye to Alan Wake's intrusive product placement, there are plenty of hellos in the remaster. Visual improvements include richer environmental detail and enhanced character models, and there's a new audio commentary by writer Sam Lake.
And if that takes your fancy, Alan Wake Remastered - which includes the base game and its two DLCS (The Signal and The Writer) - comes to PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC (via The Epic Game Store) on 5th October.