'Alan Wake Remastered': The Best Easter Eggs and Hidden References

Alan Wake is littered with pop culture references, mysterious Easter eggs and hidden story details. Newsweek has compiled a list of some of the best highlights that you should be on the lookout for when playing the game's new remaster.

Remedy Entertainment are a developer known for their quirky foibles and experimental creative decisions. They frequently weave live-action media into their titles, take inspiration from the strangest of places, and often deny players clear-cut answers or narrative closure.

While 2018's Control has its fair share of eccentricities, Remedy's most idiosyncratic offering is undoubtedly Alan Wake. The game features a mishmash of ideas borrowed from cult movies (namely the oeuvre of David Lynch) and television shows like Lost and The Twilight Zone, and even the literary works of Stephen King.

Providing a concise synopsis of the story is therefore impossible, as there are just so many elements at play here. Among other things, it concerns a kidnapping plot, an author whose writings seem to have a prophetic quality, a supernatural force invading a small town, time travel, doppelgängers, secret societies, and the enduring appeal of a good cup of coffee.

If you do not search every crevice of the game's world, then a lot of this story will go completely over your head, with many of the revelations and secrets being deviously hidden around the levels. In addition to this, there are a lot of fun references and Easter eggs for you to uncover as well.

To help you get the most out of your visit to Bright Springs, we have compiled a list of the most interesting things that you should hunt down in Alan Wake Remastered.

A Premature Meeting With the Kidnapper

Alan Wake Remastered Kidnapper
The kidnapper can be found spying on Alan, right at the start of the game. Remedy Entertainment

When you first arrive at Bright Falls via boat, you are ushered towards the friendly face of Pat Maine, who is the local radio DJ. However, if you turn around and head to the opposite end of the vessel instead, you will get to meet another character earlier than you are supposed to.

You might recognize this furtive individual as the kidnapper that later demands Alan's manuscript as a ransom for his wife. He can be found peering over the railings of the boat, contemptuously muttering to himself about his criminal scheme. It will not make a difference to the narrative if you do approach him at this point (as there is no option to interact with the antagonist) but it is an enjoyable bit of foreshadowing.

Max Payne's Golden Berettas

Max Payne's Guns in Alan Wake
The golden pistols in Alan's appartment are an easter egg for fans of the "Max Payne" franchise. Remedy Entertainment

Episode 2 of Alan Wake opens with a flashback set in the titular writer's New York apartment. Here, we learn that Alan is primarily known for authoring a series of hard-boiled detective novels, which he has grown increasingly disinterested in.

Hoping to put an end to the franchise that has consumed so much of his life, Alan has penned a grand finale in which his grizzled antihero, named Alex Casey, finally dies. It is rather similar to how Paul Sheldon kills off his golden goose character in Misery.

When you look around Alan's office, you will notice an anthology of these Alex Casey novels on a bookshelf, right next to a pair of golden berettas. If these guns look familiar to you, it might be because you have played Remedy's Max Payne series, where they are the weapons of choice for the vigilante protagonist.

A Familiar Voice Over

Alan Wake Screenshot
This page from Alan's "Sudden Stop" novel is remarkably similar to "Max Payne" and even shares the same voice over narrator. Remedy Entertainment

Speaking of which, it is difficult to ignore the various parallels between Max Payne and Alex Casey.

Remedy had created their own neo-noir icon with Payne, and he was hugely popular at the time of Alan Wake's release. In fact, many were hoping that the developers would simply carry on his gritty tale forever but, like Wake himself, the team were clearly itching to move on to something different.

There are a number of details that make the connection between Casey and Payne more explicit. Both are New Yorkers trying to avenge their dead families, their stories each take place in the dead of winter, and they share a tendency to narrate their lives in Raymond Chandler-esque dialogue.

If you read the manuscript pages for The Sudden Stop (located in Alan's apartment) it feels like it could have been ripped straight from a Max Payne game. They even brought in the same voice actor (the instantly recognizable James McCaffrey) to recite Casey's lines.

Alan and Max Payne Frequent the Same Drug Store

Alan Wake Painkillers
The painkillers that Alan uses to dull his hangover are the exact same ones that Max Payne uses for healing. Remedy Entertainment

Another reference to the Max Payne series can be found when Alan tries to cure his hangover in Episode 6. When he opens the bathroom medicine cabinet and grabs some painkillers, you will notice that the bottle is identical to the one used by Payne to replenish his health. Not to mention, the accompanying sound effect of the pills rattling around in the bottle makes a welcome comeback as well.

Whether you think this is a case of the developers merely recycling assets, or an affectionate nod to their own lineage, it's a fun detail.

Sam Lake Makes "The Face"

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Sticking with Alan's apartment for one last entry, there is a sequence towards the end of the game that incorporates a brief cameo from head writer (and Remedy Entertainment's creative director) Sam Lake.

He appears in a live-action segment on TV, where he is featured as a guest on a late-night talk show. For the most part he is an inconspicuous presence (with the focus instead being on Alan promoting his latest book), right up until the host asks him to "Make the Face." This request provokes a great deal of excitement from the audience and, eager to please, Lake proceeds to contort his features into an unusual grimace.

If you are confused by this party trick, it is simply a reference to how Lake was the original face model for Max Payne. Due to technical limitations at the time, the character was seemingly locked into a permanent squint throughout the game became a bit of an in-joke amongst the fanbase. This moment is just an acknowledgment of that fact.

Skeletal Ambush

Alan Wake Skeletons
In a throwaway moment, you can be attacked by a trio of possessed skeletons. Remedy Entertainment

The dark presence in Alan Wake is capable of manipulating inanimate objects and then unleashing them on oblivious bystanders. For the most part, these possessed items are relatively mundane, taking the form of things like cars, building site materials and scrap metal.

Yet if you explore the outskirts of the Anderson farm in Chapter 4, you will find some more creative examples of poltergeist activity. When you approach the makeshift graveyard in the area, a trio of skeletons will unexpectedly spring from the ground and proceed to attack you. It's not a reference to anything in particular, and you are not even rewarded for finding it, but the jump scare is memorable given that it comes totally out of left field.

The Nordic Walking Poster

Alan Wake Nordic Walking
The gas station posters provide the origin for Stucky's creepy dialogue. Remedy Entertainment

The standard enemies in Alan Wake, known as "The Taken," are ordinary people who have been corrupted by the dark presence in Bright Falls. While they are not in control of their violent actions, some of them do retain faint traces of their original personalities.

One such example of this is Carl Stucky, the owner of all the premium cabins near Cauldron Lake. During your fight against this boss, he will chillingly regurgitate various advertising slogans that he presumably once used to tempt people into vacationing at Bright Falls.

Towards the end of Episode 1, when you get to the gas station, you will be inundated with promotional materials that are clearly the original source for much of Stucky's dialogue. For instance, there is a Nordic Walking poster that advertises the "incontestably proven health benefits" of taking a hike out in the national park.

The implication being that Stucky has spent so much of his life surrounded by this marketing copy that he internalized it, to the point where it was all that was left of him in the end. It's a very creepy detail that could be easily overlooked if you are not paying attention to your environs.

Agent Nightingale's Motel Room

Agent Nightingale's Room
You can get a deeper insight into the character of Agent Nightingale by visiting his room at the Majestic Motel. Remedy Entertainment

Robert Nightingale is a character who comes across as incredibly one-dimensional in Alan Wake, if you do properly not explore his backstory. Without reading all the relevant documents and manuscript pages, you are likely to think that this rogue FBI agent is just an excessively confrontational antagonist who lacks any real motivation.

Yet there is a reason for his unchecked hostility that only the most observant of players will be able to discover. It turns out that the dark presence in Bright Falls has plagued Nightingale with disturbing visions of Alan, linking him to the supernatural happenings in the town, which causes him to resent and even fear the writer. He has not been possessed in the traditional sense of the word, but he is not fully himself either.

If, in the final episode of the game, you are understandably preoccupied with saving the world, then you can miss an opportunity to stop by the Majestic Motel and visit Nightingale's room. Here, you will see evidence of just how tortured the trigger-happy lawman became in his final days, with bottles of liquor strewn across the floor and photos from his obsessive investigation into Alan covering the bed. It is a sad picture that renders the once-intimidating character utterly wretched and pathetic.

An Assortment of David Lynch References

Alan Wake Remastered
The Oh Deer Diner is a near-perfect replica of the Double R Diner from "Twin Peaks". Remedy Entertainment

While there are too many pop culture homages to count in Alan Wake (The Shining, Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and the short stories of HP Lovecraft are all name-checked), David Lynch references are particularly frequent.

For example, there is major crossover between the communities of Bright Falls and the iconic setting of Twin Peaks. The Oh Deer Diner has a near-identical layout to the Double R Diner, both towns have quirky elderly women who are obsessed with hoarding certain items, and everybody seems to be inexplicably fixated on hot beverages. On that note, the "Damn Good Cup of Coffee" achievement (for finding every collectable thermos) is a direct reference to Dale Cooper's catchphrase from Twin Peaks.

Meanwhile, Alan Wake's eclectic soundtrack prominently features the Roy Orbison song "In Dreams," which was also used to memorable effect in Lynch's Blue Velvet.

Night Springs Pops Up Everywhere

Alan Wake Remastered Screenshot
"Night Springs" appears throughout "Alan Wake" in various different mediums, often tying into the themes of the game itself. Remedy Entertainment

Night Springs is a fictional television show within the universe of Alan Wake. A nostalgic parody of The Twilight Zone, you can watch reruns of this black and white series by scouring for TVs hidden around the environment. Each episode depicts a paranormal situation with a bizarre twist ending, one that loosely ties into the events that are transpiring in Bright Falls.

In addition to the TV broadcasts, the Night Springs brand pops up throughout the game in little easter eggs. At Dr Hartman's clinic, you can see that a frustrated video game designer is working on an adaptation of the show (one that looks eerily similar to Alan Wake itself) and the Anderson brothers appear to be playing some kind of licensed board game version as well.

Given that it is later posited that Bright Falls might have been the original inspiration for Night Springs (on account of its strange history of unexplained phenomena), it's not surprising to discover that its residents are fascinated by the series.

Alan Wake Remastered is available now on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC and PS5.