Eurogamer: So, despite owning the IP and being an independent developer, a potential sequel would be a Microsoft exclusive?
Oskari Häkkinen: Microsoft put a lot of beef behind the title for it to be an exclusive for the 360. They feel it's an important title for their portfolio. It fits into their portfolio among other games like Gears of War, Halo and Forza.
They think of their first-party games as a package and a portfolio for the 360. My understanding is we have a great fit in that portfolio as well.
Eurogamer: So you don't think sales matter?
Oskari Häkkinen: Certainly sales matter.
Eurogamer: How do you feel about Alan Wake's sales?
Oskari Häkkinen: It's been received well. We came out in a relatively congested window. But for the most part we did very well. We were top of the UK charts for a while. We were top of the US charts for a while. Japanese, European charts... and we've stayed up there.
I've just heard a week ago that we re-entered the UK charts as well, which is interesting. It seems like a title people who have enjoyed the fiction, have played it through, they talk to their fellow gamers and say, 'Listen, have you played Alan Wake? Go check it out.'
I don't think this is the type of game that has a peak and then just fades away. Rather, I believe it has the type of fiction and story and gameplay that has a long tail, that can sell for a much longer period.
Eurogamer: Alan Wake comes across as a bit of a jerk. Was that deliberate?
Mikko Rautalahti: Yes, you're right. Alan Wake is certainly a bit of a dick, every once in a while. Not necessarily even every once and a while.
Clearly he's a conflicted guy. He has a lot of problems. A lot of those problems are the type most people aren't going to encounter in real life because most people don't end up in those situations at all.
But he has marital problems. He probably drinks a little too much. He had troubles with his work. Those are the kind of things that make people hard to live with every once in a while.
Oskari Häkkinen: He hasn't written anything for the last two years. The paparazzi are on his case. His fans are on his case.
Mikko Rautalahti: These things make him a lot more interesting than other game characters. This is a guy who has troubles you can identify with as opposed to the kind of problems a space marine has. That's something that makes him interesting. And we certainly want Alan Wake to be an interesting guy.
I would absolutely agree that he's not necessarily a nice guy all the time. On the other hand, you know where you stand with him. He's a good friend to his friends. Not necessarily an easy friend.
We all know people we appreciate and we like to hang around with, but they make it hard to be their friend. Alan Wake is definitely that kind of a guy. And yes, that is definitely intentional.
We wanted to create somebody that feels like a real guy.
Oskari Häkkinen: When you're having problems in your regular life, whether it be stress from work or stress from your marriage, or you've just had a child, or whatever it might be, you turn into a bit of a dick.
When you go through rough patches you turn into a bit of a dick and a bit of an asshole.
Mikko Rautalahti: I've seen some people go, 'Look, hey, he's not a nice guy!' And I thought, 'Yeah.' Some people reacted as if we did it by accident. Like, 'Ha ha, those guys screwed up! They made him an asshole! They didn't notice!' Well, yeah, I think we noticed.
A lot of people work on the assumption that in order to be interested in a character you have to be able to like them. More, you have to be able to approve of everything they do on a personal level.
Alan Wake has a very short temper. He goes around punching people he doesn't like in a moment that may not be the most sensible. That's what makes him cool. That's what makes him interesting.
If you look at Han Solo for example - and I'm not saying Alan Wake is like Han Solo necessarily - but he goes head first into a lot of situations that aren't necessarily very smart. But it's interesting to see how he gets out of them.
Eurogamer: If you do get the opportunity to do a sequel, will you change Alan Wake's personality?
Mikko Rautalahti: I'm sure he'll be changed by some of the events he's gone through. But I have absolutely no interest in writing Alan Wake as Mr Nice Guy. Where's the interest in that? As much as I love Nathan Drake, why would I want to make another Nathan?
Alan Wake's problems stem from his writers block. As we know, he overcame that. He managed to write an ending to his story. That's probably going to make a difference in how he views the world.
Eurogamer: So he may chill out?
Mikko Rautalahti: It's probably going to make him a little different. But Alan Wake is going to be Alan Wake. Alan Wake has to be Alan Wake. Alan Wake doesn't necessarily have to be the guy who's always annoyed about not being able to write, if he turns out to be a guy who can write after all. That's going to have some sort of an impact, definitely.
On the other hand, if you've played through The Signal, you know he's trapped in this weird place, and that's also probably going to have an impact. We're going to deal with that, too.
Alan Wake is out now for the Xbox 360. The Signal is available to download from Xbox Live Marketplace. The Writer is due out this autumn.