Earlier today, Remedy Entertainment announced that Alan Wake will be taken down from the Xbox Live Marketplace and Steam on May 15th due to expiring music licenses. As a huge fan of the psychological horror title, I’m devastated, but as a supporter of Microsoft, I’m feeling concerned.
Alan Wake is my favorite game published by Microsoft. I remember going to Gamestop at midnight to pick up Alan Wake, Split/Second, and Red Dead Redemption, which all launched on the same day. While everybody seemed to be head over heels for Rockstar’s brilliant western, I was gushing over Alan Wake. In my opinion, it’s a near perfect game. Not only does it look wonderful, the narrative is stellar, the gameplay is excellent, the scares are effective, and the delivery is exceptional. Upon completing Alan Wake, I quickly went to my best friend’s house and showed him the game. He doesn’t like horror, but found himself sucked into Alan’s quest. Even today, I still talk about and adore what I think is Microsoft’s best console exclusive.
With today’s announcement that the game will be discontinued from online stores, I’m upset. Let’s be honest, Microsoft is lacking when it comes to exclusive games. Sure, the Halo, Forza (Motorsport and Horizon), and Gears of War franchises are constantly great, but Microsoft doesn’t have many unique exclusives. The company has stopped making Fable games and other IPs such as Ryse: Son of Rome, Sunset Overdrive, and ReCore didn’t generate much buzz. While Xbox One has plenty of great and diverse games in its library, Xbox 360 had a constant flow of unique games that gave Microsoft the upper hand during the last generation.
Backwards compatibility has quickly become one of my favorite aspects of the Xbox One. When Microsoft announced this feature during E3 two years ago, I didn’t think that I would use it. I thought “why would I use backwards compatibility when I have a current generation console with newer games to play.” All of this changed when Quantum Break, Remedy Entertainment’s cinematic sci-fi adventure launched on Xbox One last year. Each copy of the game came with a downloadable code for Alan Wake and the two pieces of DLC for the game. After playing Quantum Break, I immediately installed Alan Wake and fell in love with the game all over again. Soon after, I downloaded other Xbox 360 games that I enjoyed. These included Catherine, Killer Is Dead, Blue Dragon, and Lost Odyssey. Suddenly, I started to play games from last generation that I thought I’d never play again because I upgraded to Xbox One.
Playing backwards compatible games has become a normal activity for me. Microsoft knows that players love this feature so much that the Xbox 360 Games With Gold titles are all playable on Xbox One. Many players have adopted a digital only mindset, including a few of my fellow enthusiasts. If they don’t download Alan Wake by Monday, they’ll miss out on the chance to own a digital copy of the game. While Xbox One can use discs for backwards compatibility, finding certain Xbox 360 games is often difficult. There is a certain sense of convenience to having backwards compatible games in a digital format and I’m glad that my library keeps growing. It’s great that Microsoft constantly supports this Xbox One function. I’m not sure if the music licensing issue regarding Alan Wake was well known, but it paints a bad picture for Microsoft. Surely, the company could have made the title an offering via Games With Gold in the previous month, but now it’s too late. Come Monday, Remedy will be pulling the plug on my favorite game that the studio has created.
One of Microsoft’s best games will no longer be available for plenty of gamers out there and this isn’t good. Having a game in your catalogue be discontinued is unfortunate and I can’t help but feel bad for Microsoft, Remedy, and gamers out there that haven’t played the game yet. Normally, I’d tell you to go to the Xbox Live Marketplace in order to buy games, but this time, I’m going to do something different. Buy Alan Wake. If you are a huge fan of the game and you don’t have it on Xbox One through backwards compatibility, get it on the Xbox Live marketplace, If you’ve never experienced the brilliance of Alan Wake and really want to, buy it this weekend on Steam for 90% off. Whatever you do, please by Alan Wake. It’s not only one of the best games that Microsoft has ever published, it’s also one of the best games that I have ever played.
Unfortunately, this is a lose/lose for everybody, but Microsoft suffers the most because one of its exclusives will no longer be available to purchase next week. This is a shame because people seem to judge companies based on their portfolio… and now, Microsoft is down a game.