Could someone explain the ending to me? (SPOILERS)

I just completed the game last night. I hated Alan Wake. I liked it at first but fighting the same boring enemies and the constant dying cause I couldn't hear the enemies coming drove me nuts. I liked the story at first but as time went on it got confusing. At first, I thought Alan was schizophrenic cause the cop at the end of episode 1 said the island didn't exist. I had seen this kind of stuff countless times in all sorts of films like Secret Window, Identity, etc. Everything that supposedly happened, never happened at all. It's such a cheap way to end a film without coming up with an explanation for why everything happened. By the time I got to the beginning of chapter 4, I thought, " I knew he had schizophrenia!" and almost returned the game cause I figured I'd be wasting my time. Once I kept playing past episode 4 the story became even more confusing. I watched the ending and was completely lost. I had no clue what was going on.

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Please, explain the ending to me. I didn't mean to offend anyone when I said I hated Alan Wake but I would still like to know what was going on all this time.

 

Discussion Info


Last updated July 3, 2018 Views 0 Applies to:

No!

The story is actually pathetically simple, but there are loose ends that are never tied up and ancillary elements that make the simple story a lot more convoluted than it should be.  That's why the story sucks.  The irony is that this is a game that supposed to be all about an author and his story.  

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Anyway, I'll try to give you the short version.  Needless to say: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!

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Bestselling thriller writer Alan Wake, suffering from a two-year long stretch of writer's block, travels with his wife Alice to the small idyllic town of Bright Falls, Washington, for a short vacation. While Alice shops for groceries, Alan goes to obtain the keys and directions to the cabin they will be staying in from its owner, Carl Stucky, at the local diner; an older woman, claiming that Stucky fell ill, hands them to Alan instead. Alan and Alice arrive at Cauldron Lake, where their cabin sits on an island within it. As they unpack, Alan discovers Alice has set up a typewriter, hoping Alan will try writing on the vacation. Angry, Alan sets off for a brief walk alone, but races back to the cabin when he hears Alice's screams. He arrives too late as some entity drags Alice into the lake's water, and without a moment's hesitation, jumps in after her, but shortly blacks out.

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Alan comes to a week later, crashed after his car went off the side of the road outside of town. As he travels back to town, supernatural events occurring in his wake such as human figures shrouded in darkness that can only be defeated with light, and an ethereal figure wearing a deep-sea diving suit. When he meets Sheriff Sarah Breaker and reports Alice's abduction, the sheriff notes that there had not been an island in Cauldron Lake for nearly 30 years, sunk by an earthquake. Alan becomes the primary suspect in his wife's disappearance, attracting the FBI's attention. Barry, Alan's agent and friend, comes to Bright Falls to help Alan recount events and understand what happened.

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Alan comes to learn that Cauldron Lake is possessed by an entity called the Dark Presence, and has the ability to turn fiction into reality. The Dark Presence is trapped within the lake, but is able to exert its influence on the local area and convert humans into the darkness-possessed "Taken". The diving suit figure is the consciousness of former writer Thomas Zane, who had owned the cabin and drowned during the earthquake; Zane is attempting to prevent the Dark Presence from escaping, and has provided Alan with pages of a typewritten manuscript entitled Departure, a work Alan recognizes as his own but that he was unaware of writing and which foretells of upcoming events. After one night of heavy drinking, Alan begins to recall the events of the missing week: once he dived into the lake he was taken by the Dark Presence, and was forced to write Departure as a means to lay the path for the Dark Presence's escape using the lake's mysterious power, but Zane was able to influence Alan's subconsciousness to write in the means for Alan's own escape and means to defeat the Dark Presence.

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As the Dark Presence becomes more and more powerful, ravaging Bright Falls, Alan and Barry discover several clues that point them to a hermit, Cynthia Weaver, that knows the path to "The Well-Lit Room" where a weapon against the Dark Presence can be found. They locate Cynthia, having protected herself in a power plant, and she takes them to the Room, where Alan finds a simple light switch unit called "the Clicker", part of the fiction that Zane helped Alan to create. Alan leaves his allies safely behind and returns to the lake, successfully using the Clicker to destroy the Dark Presence. Despite its defeat, Alice does not yet emerge from the lake, and Alan realizes that balance must be maintained; he willingly throws himself into the lake waters; Alice soon reappears. Within the depths of the lake, Alan finds himself in the cabin, and realizes that Departure is not yet finished, and turns back to the typewriter to continue the story and write his own means to be free of the lake. He comments to himself that "It's not a lake—it's an ocean."

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Thanks for that, Wikipedia.  Anything else you need answered?

The last line of the game "It's not a lake- it's an ocean" is what I believe is the set up to a proper sequel (not any of the story-thin DLC but), Alan Wake 2.  Alan is trapped at he bottom of the lake at the end of the game, but he realizes that the mystical elements of the lake (or maybe the Dark Presence) is way bigger and deeper than what they originally thought, thus the metaphor: it's not a lake, it's an ocean since he is realizing that whatever crazy thing transpired during the game is not confined to just Cauldron Lake.

-M

@DistortedHarp6

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There was no need for you to be rude.

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@SiliconIceman.

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Thanks for the help. I'm still confused.

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Here's my take on what happened at the end based on what I saw in the final cutscenes:

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I thought Alan was dead during the entire game and what Alan was going through was Hell. I thought his wife survived and Alan drowned.

Yeah, the "Twilight Zone-y", "Stephen King-ish", "Twin Peak-ing" style of the game tries to mess with your head so that you don't know what to believe, but no, Alan Wake is very much alive during the whole game.  The first "level" of the game is a dream sequence that turns out to be a premonition.  Aside from that and the time he gets drunk, the entire game takes place in reality... or rather, the game's version of reality.  

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His wife was captured by the Dark Presence that resides in Lake Cauldron.  When Alan dove after her, he was trapped there, too and was forced to write a novel (horror novel) that mystically makes the Dark Presence more powerful and allows it to escape the confines of the lake.  The Dark Presence needs artists and creativity to grow more powerful using the magic of the lake.  

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Personally, I think that the bottom of Lake Cauldron is like a gateway to another dimension (how else can you explain walking and breathing at the bottom of the lake?)  This is the dimension that the Dark Presence exists in, trying to escape to our world, but the only way they can do that is to get enough energy from artists (paintings, drawings, songs, writings) and grow more powerful in order to cross over to our world.

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That's the only way this thing makes any sense to me.  I guess you can make the argument that this dimension could be a form of "hell", but I don't really think that's what the game was going for.

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At the end of the game, Alan realizes that the dimension has to maintain a balance, so he sacrifices himself in order to free his wife.  At the end of the game, he is the one trapped at the bottom of the lake while his wife is released back into the real world.  When we last leave him, he is trying to "write" his way out of this place since he knows that whatever he writes will have magical properties and come true.

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I hope this clears things up a little for you.

-M

@ Silicon Iceman

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It clears things up really well. Thanks Silocon Iceman.

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I have one question though. If Alan Wake refused to write for the dark presence, why wouldn't the dark presence keep his wife with him and inflict harm to her in order to get him to write? Use the wife as leverage to get Alan to keep writing. Once Alan dies, kill the wife too.

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Once Alan and his wife are dead, bring the island back up and wait until another artist or somebody to come along and use them to write to give the dark presence more power.

What you are describing happened in the game.  Remember that at the end of the first chapter, Alan dives into the lake after Alice.  The beginning of chapter two starts out when you awaken in a car accident and you later find out that you've been missing for a week.  During that week, the Dark Presence has been holding you and your wife captive at the bottom of the lake.  The Dark Presence (in the form of that woman it took the shape of) told you that she is holding your wife captive and if you want to free her or see her ever again, you have to write.  I think the name of the manuscript he was working on is called "The Departed" or something like that.  So Alan starts writing, making the Dark Presence more powerful.  Alan tries to be sneaky and tries to "write" his way out of this situation, but the Dark Presence is smart and starts twisting his writing into a horror novel, so that plain fails, but he keeps trying and in doing so, he makes the Dark Presence more powerful.  Thomas Zane (the guy in the old diving suit that was a previous victim of the Dark Presence), helps Alan break free and escape the bottom of the lake the first time and then he wakes up in the car accident and we start playing Chapter 2 with no recollection of the events of the past week.  

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Had it not been for Tom Zane helping Alan escape, he would have stayed down there at the bottom of the lake writing until he was too weak and later, dead.  In which case, they'd probably kill the wife, too and then go on to find another victim, just like you said.  But when Alan escaped, he had to figure out what happened during that week he went missing and then once he found out, he had to go back to rescue his wife.  The manuscripts that you collect throughout the game are pages that Alan typed while he was at the bottom of the lake.  He recognizes his story, but he doesn't actually remember typing it.  The story "The Departed" that he writes when he was down underneath the lake is actually the events of the game you are playing taking place and coming to life.  That's the "twist".

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-M

Alan was still trapped in limbo. Does that help?

Good stuff Iceman.

I loved the ending, left it open and i can't wait for the next installment!

just saying iceman that the manuscript is called   "The Departure"

@Proplaya1000;

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Thanks for clearing that up.  It's been a while since I've played the game, so I'm a bit hazy when it comes to some of the details.

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-M