Alan Wake 2 is digital only to add more “polish” to the long-awaited horror sequel

Alan Wake 2 will have a digital-only release as confirmed by members of the development team. The horror sequel is slated for October 17 of this year. 

Alan Wake 2 is one of the biggest upcoming games of the year as this long-awaited Remedy-developed thriller shooter comes over a decade after the original. Speaking to Eurogamer, Creative director Sam Lake and game director Kyle Rowley explained that this was because they wanted to ditch physical media to ensure a more complete experience closer to the release period. 

Rowley explained that: “As creatives obviously, by going digital-only it does allow us more time to polish the game” continuing with: “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”. Lake commented that: “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”. 

The official FAQ for Alan Wake 2 also explains this decision from a technical standpoint. One of the points made details the changing markets toward consoles going entirely digital: “A large number of players have shifted to digital-only” which is followed up by: ” It is not uncommon to release modern games as digital-only”. Considering the popularity of the cheaper Xbox Series S and the PS5 Digital Edition, more affordable versions of the Xbox Series X and PS5, there certainly seems to be validity to these claims. 

It is also reported that: “there are currently no plans to release Alan Wake 2 on disc” which is compounded by a statement reading: “Finally, we did not want to ship a disc product and have it require a download for the game”. Pricing also appears to have been a factor, as Alan Wake 2 launches at $59.99 / £49.99 (AU$90.95), and “not releasing a disc helps keep the price of the game” down. 

Since many of the best Xbox Series X games and best PS5 games hover around the pricier $69.99 / £69.99 (AU$120), it stands to reason that Remedy would want to keep their prices lower by comparison. However, a digital-only release does raise concerns surrounding the preservation of the game in the long term. With licenses expiring, and digital games historically being removed from stores after a certain amount of years, it remains unclear exactly how long titles like Alan Wake 2 will remain playable for in the years to come; something that could be circumvented by having a version playable on disc. 

Alan Wake 2 is scheduled to release on PC via the Epic Games Store – hardly a novelty for the platform. That said, it appears that consoles are moving in a similar direction as services such as Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus Game Catalog become more commonplace than having a physical disk and box on your shelf. 

We’re excited for Alan Wake 2 and think it has all the makings of one of the best horror games to release in many years. If you want to get the most immersive experience when it comes to horror, then we recommend turning your attention to either the best Xbox Series X headsets or one of the best PS5 headsets

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