Alan Wake PS3 no-show was a 'business risk' - Remedy

Studio benefited from 'focused' approach, despite major ambitions

Alan Wake developer Remedy has acknowledged that its decision to sign an Xbox 360 exclusivity deal with Microsoft was a "business risk" - but one that reduced the technological headaches associated with making the game.

The adventure thriller was originally planned for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, but Microsoft swept in with an offer that was too good to refuse.

Although this decision created the worry of a reduced potential market, Remedy told an audience at GDC earlier this month that it helped reign in the scope of a wildly ambitious project.

"Our strategy was one of focus," said Remedy CTO Markus Maki. "That's actually a really core Remedy element, well if you forget the ambitious goals we had. We needed to be top notch in some areas, but we knew we couldn't do everything better than some developers out there. For example, this meant there was no multiplayer. That wasn't in our core set of skills and it would have been a huge effort.


"We also took the approach to license middleware that made sense, even when we didn't end up using it all for one reason or another. And then, the big deal - to go with Microsoft and take one big technological effort, the PS3, out of the equation. That then changed the technology risk to a business risk - but that's a subject for a different talk altogether..."

Maki explained that Remedy created the Alan Wake engine from scratch with just eight programmers - despite temptation to cancel its work and employ Epic's Unreal Engine.

"We looked at Unreal and other technologies out there, but this was actually before the PS3 and Xbox 360 were ever even released," he added. "We also had all three platforms planned in the beginning - PC, 360 and PS3. I think it's safe to say now overly optimistic view of the schedule.

"At that point, we didn't dare commit to shipping a game on third-party tech until the developers of that tech had shipped a game on each of those platforms. Five years later, [I'll admit] that the reasoning wasn't solid because these guys beat us to the punch easily."

However, Maki reasserted that Remedy was now delighted with its engine, and the lighting effects and open world environments it could produce - and that the studio had learned many valuable lessons from its creation.

Remedy programmer Olli Tervo added that the studio didn't plan to re-write its engine for future projects - joking that the studio would stick with it "unless good reasons appear".