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Credit: Remedy Entertainment

Why the new Alan Wake remaster will be missing one key touch from the original Xbox game

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Sep 13, 2021, 7:45 PM EDT

Alan Wake lit up the gaming world back in 2010 with a unique thriller of a game that carved out a tense horror space all to itself on the Xbox 360. Now for the first time ever, PlayStation players are also getting a high-definition taste of the darkness that made our amnesiac author’s original tale so compelling — but the upcoming remastered version reportedly won’t include one key feature from the original.

With the countdown clock ticking fast toward next month’s release of Alan Wake Remastered, developer Remedy Entertainment has revealed (via Screen Rant) that the thoroughly reworked new version won’t feature the same placement of real-world products that peppered our hero’s harrowing journey through the first game.

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We know, we know: Ditching brand placements isn’t something that’s typically worth lamenting — like, at all. But if you got yourself good and immersed in Alan Wake’s sinister story the first time around, this might be one of those few times when taking away name brands like Lincoln, Verizon, and especially Energizer batteries (which powered Wake’s chief survival tool — his flashlight) becomes the kind of absence we can feel.

For PlayStation players not in the know (and everyone else who might’ve missed out on the original), Alan Wake told an insanely creepy story of a writer who finds himself living out the fearsome fantasies he thought he’d only dreamt up as fiction to fuel his latest horror novel. Stuck in a small northwestern town with Alice, his wife, gone missing as a victim of a phenomenon called the “Taken,” Wake can’t even remember writing the book in the first place.

That essentially makes him a newbie within his own supernatural survival story — and it also elevates familiar real-life stuff like cars, phones, and flashlight batteries to key-role status in grounding Wake in his quickly-fraying reality. In a cool gameplay mechanic that helps cut a path through the darkness, Alan can’t just dispatch his creepy horror creations with a gun; he has to rid them of their protective darkness first by giving ‘em a taste of his flashlight beam. As you can guess, it doesn’t take long before those Energizer batteries become more precious than bullets.

What’s keeping name brands out of the remaster? Expired licensing deals, according to Screen Rant’s report. Remedy reportedly will substitute “generic in-universe branding” in place of all the remaster’s missing marques, though the same report assures that the songs and TV shows that appeared in the original game have at least survived the 11-year transition intact.

Watch for the remaster to arrive Oct. 5 with modern-day visual upgrades all around, as well as both episodes of post-launch DLC from the original ("The Signal" and "The Writer”), for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.