How Remedy Has Mastered The Art of Interweaving Music Into Narrative

Poets of the fall and Remedy team up to provide another genre-defining music driven experience.

                                                                              Story Highlights

  • Alan Wake 2 interweaves music and narrative like no other Remedy game before it.
  • Chapter songs that are not only bangers but also summarize the events of the specific chapter.
  • Musical set pieces featuring Old Gods Of Asgard make for some of the best moments in gaming.

The things that excite me regarding the new Remedy releases surely consist of experiencing an out-of-the-box gameplay experience. But I also look forward to finally updating my playlist with some of the best songs that have been made specifically for these games in collaboration with talented artists such as The Old Gods Of Asgard, the alter ego of the real-life band Poets of The Fall, as it exists in the Remedy Connected Universe.

Alan Wake 2 clearly takes a huge win in this department as not only does it consist of a plethora of amazing music pieces, but also creative utilizations of these songs to push both the narrative and the gameplay. It almost feels like Sam Lake was testing the waters for narrative presentation with Alan Wake 1 and Control, with Alan Wake 2 being the culmination of his work and his best game yet.

Note: The article may contain minor spoilers for Alan Wake 2.

Chapter Songs

Alan Wake 2
Radio Was A Much Needed Addition In Alan Wake 2

I still remember the first time I ended the beginning chapter of Alan Wake 1, years ago. The ending left me in both awe and confusion regarding the mysterious yet engaging nature of the story. But the thing that caught me off guard was the song that started playing at the end of the chapter. It was right then, and there I realized that I was definitely playing through a Remedy Title.

A new song would play at the end of each chapter, which would soon become one of my many motivations to play through the game. Even though Control lacked this kind of treatment, I was sure that Alan Wake 2 would bring back the distinct musical pieces for each chapter. Not only do you experience bangers after ending these chapters, but each song now has a meaning behind it.

These melodies will not just act as music to your ears, but they will also complement the narrative. The team responsible for soundtracks at Remedy have amazingly outdone themselves in Alan Wake 2, where each song serves a purpose. Pay attention to the lyrics, and soon, you will realize how a specific song at the end of a specific chapter will summarize the events of that chapter as well as hint towards events that have yet to unfold.

These songs will not just make for extraordinary additions to your playlist but will also enrich your experience while enabling you to better grasp the story as it unfolds. Remedy has always been exceptional with story-telling through various entertainment mediums, but Alan Wake 2 just shows how far the studio has come in perfecting that art.

Musical Set Pieces

musical
It’s A Dark Ritual With Rock And Roll

Set pieces are these large and amazing levels designed to showcase the absolute best of a video game. Well, Sam Lake’s creative vision was to showcase the absolute best of his craft by integrating a musical segment into the gameplay. All of it fits together to form some of the best moments that you will ever experience in a video game.

Remedy’s first musical set piece was a concert in Alan Wake 1 where Children of the Elder God is played live by the members of Old Gods of Asgard. While you listen to this majestic rock and roll piece, Alan has to fight against an army of Taken. The whole experience just made it clear to me that Remedy would take risks that no other studio would.

Another musical set piece can be found in Control, known as the Ashtray Maze, where the player gets to listen to Take Control by Old Gods of Asgard whilst navigating through an ever-changing maze and fighting off the Hiss. The fast-paced and smooth gameplay made this whole segment even better, and the lyrics of the song were actually summarizing the entire plot of the game.

musical
Champion of The Light, Herald of Darkness

I honestly thought that no other game would be able to top the Ashtray Maze sequence. That is until Alan Wake 2 released, which is actually packed with two such segments for the dual protagonists. That’s two new songs by Old Gods of Asgard that are played in high-octane, almost other-worldly sequences. Alan’s side of the musical set piece almost made me go, “This has never been done in a video game ever. Period.”

We sing Alan Wake 2
byu/Opening-Revenue2770 inAlanWake

The musical segment known as the Herald of Darkness is a huge 20-minute stretch and one of the longest musical sections in a video game. It has everything from live-action acting to dancing to singing, all happening in real-time as you control Alan and move through the entire segment as if it were another level. The dancing performance is so good that the community actually expects a recreation of this segment at the Game Awards.

It doesn’t stop there; the whole Herald of Darkness song is actually a summary of Alan Wake 1. The lyrics of this song actually summarize the events of the first game, and the live-action segments showcase exactly that on the big screens. Saga’s musical segment is more akin to the Ashtray Maze, with it being action-oriented, but the Dark Ocean Summoning song gives you a dopamine rush whilst entailing a summoning ritual through lyrics.

Old Gods Of Asgard And Remedy

Alan Wake 2
Old Gods Of Asgard In Alan Wake 2

Old Gods of Asgard is actually a fictional band that exists within the Remedy Connected Universe and is actually played by the Finnish Rock Band known as Poets of the Fall. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Remedy’s game would be incomplete if it weren’t for the songs that Poets of the Fall creates for these games. And Poets of the Fall also uses Remedy’s games as a platform to debut their new songs as well.

Old Gods of Asgard
byu/raull96 inAlanWake

Alan Wake and Control would both lose a very special piece without the rock and roll music library of Old Gods of Asgard, aka Poets of the Fall. Fun Fact: Poets of the Fall have been making songs for Remedy as far back as Max Payne 2. However, while the song Late Goodbye is used in only the ending credits of Max Payne 2, it is still another banger.

The members of Old Gods have also become major parts of the story in the Remedy Connected Universe, and their existence is beautifully justified in most of Remedy’s titles. Even Quantum Break references the band. I really wish more video game studios and game developers would approach music like Remedy does, with the inclusion of collaborations with a band and creatively weaving these tunes and themes into the storyline.

From playing a major part in the narrative of RMC to elevating the gameplay experience of Remedy’s titles a hundredfold, Poets of the Fall recorded their best songs to complement the studio that takes the biggest creative risks in the video games industry. Even now, listening to the songs of Old Gods of Asgard, it almost feels like I am playing through Control or Alan Wake all over again.

Conclusion

Remedy and Sam Lake’s ambitious video game development has always been apparent through their games.  The intelligent use of music in these titles is one of the major reasons for creating all the never-before-seen moments. I really hope Remedy never stops collaborating with Poets of the Fall and that we get to see more masterclass pieces of music from them in Alan Wake 2’s DLC.

Alan Wake 2 launched on 27th October 2023 for PC and next-gen consoles, including Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. You can also read Huzaifah Durrani’s review of Alan Wake 2 on eXputer, who has titled this game Remedy’s best achievement yet, thereby rating it 5/5.

Lastly, we conducted an interview with Sam Lake to learn more about the development of Alan Wake 2, and his answers to some of our questions have been truly insightful. Best check it out for more details. 

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Haris Umer is a Guides Writer on eXputer who can be seen torturing himself by playing FromSoftware’s offering of Souls games. He speaks about games with overwhelming passion, which readers can spot in his guides. Haris has been avidly playing video games for 15+ years now. You can find out more about his gaming experience by looking through his PSN and Steam profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years || Previously Worked as a Freelance Writer

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