The Best References And Hidden Details In Alan Wake 2

Highlights

  • Alan Wake 2 is full of Easter eggs and references, including hidden details from movies and voice actors.
  • The game connects to Remedy Entertainment’s other titles, such as Control, with shared universes and characters.
  • The presence of familiar characters, like Ahti and Mr. Door, adds depth to the story and creates a sense of continuity.

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As discussed in TheGamer’s review of Alan Wake 2 by Jade King, the sequel from Remedy has reached new heights for survival horror and set a new bar that Silent Hill 2 previously established. Since Remedy Entertainment is connecting its game universes, many Easter eggs and references from 2019’s Control bleed into the story of Alan Wake 2.

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In addition to Control, you also have plenty of hidden details referencing movies, voice actors, and elements from the original Alan Wake. While you didn’t need to play the developer’s past games, some will appear more obvious if you have.

Updated on December 9, 2023, by Dennis Moiseyev: Alan Wake 2 is not just rich in narrative full of mind-bending twists, ultra-terrifying sequences, and entertaining characters, but a gold mine of Easter eggs tied to Control, inspirational movies and television shows, and callbacks to Alan Wake. There were too many Easter eggs to include the first time around, but now all the eggs are in one basket, so to speak. Here’s the definitive list!

18 Nazareno’s Pizza

While traversing the Dark Place as Alan Wake, you may have noticed some pizza boxes lying around in random spots. Sheriff Tim Breaker has to eat something while trapped in the Dark Place, and his favorite seems to be Nazareno’s Pizza. You can even spot the establishment in the alley right after you pick up Alex Casey’s revolver.

The name ‘Nazareno’ is no coincidence. The pizza boxes are an homage to Remedy’s lead environment artist, Nazareno Urbano, who not only designed all the captivating and chilling art for environments in Alan Wake 2 but was also a senior environment artist on Quantum Break and Control.

17 The Harry Garrett Show Sign In Mr. Door’s Studio

Alan Wake 2 features a live-action talk show segment with Alan in the interview chair beside Alex Casey (portrayed by Sam Lake) chatting with the host, who’s a new character named Mr. Door. To those familiar with the original Alan Wake, the talk show element may feel like a nod to The Harry Garrett Show flashback, a meta interview where host Harry Garrett interviews Alan Wake about his Casey novel ‘The Sudden Stop’ and Sam Lake as himself.

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In the basement area of Mr. Door’s studio, you can see the removed sign for The Harry Garrett Show lying in storage. Sam Lake’s character also makes a strained Max Payne expression during one of the interviews in Alan Wake 2, which he likewise did during the closing of The Harry Garrett Show.

16 James McCaffrey Once Again Voices Sam Lake’s Model

Here’s a bit of a meta Easter egg with a side of Remedy Entertainment history. The very first major action title the studio developed was Max Payne in 2001. What was notable about the protagonist was that Remedy’s creative director and writer, Sam Lake, provided his likeness for the character model, and actor James McCaffrey did the voice performance.

Fast forward to 2023, and Alan Wake 2 brings back Sam Lake as an in-game character, Alan Wake’s seemingly fictional FBI agent Alex Casey from the novels, and voicing the hard-boiled detective yet again is James McCaffrey. There’s even a monologue in the game for Alex Casey that is very reminiscent of Max Payne’s noir style.

15 Quantum Break’s Shawn Ashmore Returns As Sheriff Tim Breaker

After the first Alan Wake game in 2010, Remedy’s next big triple-a title that proved even more thrilling and mind-bending was the Xbox One-exclusive Quantum Break. It’s a third-person shooter where protagonist Jack Joyce gets caught up in an unimaginable time-splitting conflict with unique powers of his own. And playing the main character is actor Shawn Ashmore.

Shawn Ashmore is no stranger to being in games, as you may have also seen him in The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan, in addition to being in tons of films and shows like X-Men, The Boys, and The Rookie. In Alan Wake 2, he reunites with the creative team of Remedy to be the new mysterious sheriff of Bright Falls, Tim Breaker.

14 Saga Anderson And Alex Casey’s Coffee Sip Is Recreated From Quantum Break

Sheriff Tim Breaker’s character isn’t the only callback to Quantum Break. If you recall, there was a live-action teaser trailer for the Alan Wake story ‘Return’ in the 2016 game. Return is a manuscript being written by Alan in the Dark Place, which is now altering reality. It’s also the name of Saga’s chapters in the game.

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At the start of the trailer, FBI agents Alex Casey and Saga Anderson are drinking a mug of coffee in perfect sync with each other while staring at an evidence board. This precise moment is recreated with Oh Deer Diner mugs in Alan Wake 2 when Saga and Alex Casey review their evidence board before interviewing Alan at the Elderwood Palace Lodge.

13 Old Gods Of Asgard

The fictional Norse mythology-inspired music group Old Gods of Asgard is back in live-action form in Alan Wake 2 as the live studio band for Mr. Door’s talk show. In the first game, you heard their music and got to meet members Tor and Odin Anderson. Now, there’s even a surreal musical sequence featuring them, where you get to hear a new track of theirs called ‘Herald of Darkness.’

Old Gods of Asgard is actually a real Finnish band called Poets of the Fall, who’ve collaborated with Remedy Entertainment since Max Payne 2. They created the ending theme for Max Payne 2, the musical tracks for Alan Wake, songs for Control, and now for Alan Wake 2, even appearing as themselves in live-action through fictional characters.

12 The Oceanview Hotel Room Symbols

In Control, protagonist Jesse Faden often visited a mysterious place called the Oceanview Motel, which had a series of doors marked with room numbers and others inscribed with strange symbols. The Dark Place in Alan Wake 2 will send you to the Oceanview Hotel, which has doors with very similar markings to those in Control.

You’ll run into symbols such as the inverted pyramid and the half-spiral with a ‘c’ and cross mark inside the center as you explore the eerie halls of the Oceanview Hotel. You’ll mainly want to be in Room 665, however.

11 Familiar Characters From Control

Ahti

The Control Easter eggs don’t stop with the Oceanview Hotel. There are also many characters popping up throughout the story. The first familiar face is, of course, the janitor Ahti, who’s left the FBC building in New York to work in Mr. Door’s talk show studio within the Dark Place, with the same charming personality.

But that’s not the only place where you’ll find Ahti. He’ll also join Saga in Bright Falls, living alongside other residents in the Valhalla Nursing Home where he works. You can also find movie posters for ‘Nightless Night’ with his band Ahti and the Janitors credited for the music, and there are even posters just for his band in save rooms.

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Mr. Door

Mr. Door is someone Jesse’s brother Dylan claimed to have visited him in his dreams in Control, but here he is in live-action, played by Supergirl and Homeland star David Harewood, interviewing author Alan Wake in a late-night talk show called ‘In Between With Mr. Door.’ And, in his studio dressing room, you’ll find a book written by Dr. Casper Darling called ‘My Interpretation of Many Worlds’ next to a pack of cigarettes with the Black Inverted Pyramid logo​​​​​.

Dr. Casper Darling

Dr. Darling is the Head of Research for the FBC, explaining his scientific theories in a plethora of video presentations. His character authoring a book is an Easter egg in itself because Darling is portrayed by none other than Alan Wake’s voice actor, Matthew Porretta. The title is also a little on the nose with the strange worlds of Control and Alan Wake crossing over.

10 Ahti’s Watery Postcard And Office Painting From Control Is In His Nursing Home Room

Inside Ahti’s room at the Valhalla Nursing Home, which is located conveniently adjacent to the mysterious spiral door to room 306, is a painting featuring a man in a bath towel on the porch of a lakeside establishment holding an Ahma beer. This art depicts Watery’s sauna location, which seems to be what the town is famous for besides Coffee World.

Valhalla Nursing Home residents often take trips to the sauna in Watery, and these allow Ahti the opportunity to sing some karaoke in the neighboring Suomi Hall. The painting in Ahti’s room matches the precise artwork on the wall in his janitor’s office at the Oldest House and also appeared on Ahti’s postcard collectible in Control.

9 Control’s Rubber Duck, Pink Flamingo, And Waist Mannequin Altered Items

Alan’s manuscripts that Saga picks up throughout the chapters aren’t the only Altered Items appearing in Alan Wake 2. Not to be confused with Objects of Power, which all parautilitarians wield, Altered Items are those affected by Altered World Events. And this game has not one, but three common ones from Control.

If you go into the sauna room, there’s a yellow rubber duck that sits inside a bucket and later appears in other areas, like it’s multiplying or following Saga… The Lighthouse Trailer Park is infested with pink plastic flamingoes as lawn decorations. The waist mannequins are seen all around the basement of Mr. Door’s studio in the area where the shoebox is located.

8 Control’s Former Boss Cameos In One Of Logan’s Drawings

This Control Easter egg is more meta and almost like a game-within-a-game the way it’s presented. Saga’s daughter, Logan, has many cute childlike drawings taped all around her bedroom in their trailer in Watery. The center illustration on the wall by her bed is of Logan and her father playing a video game, and that game appears to be Control!

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The drawing inside the TV screen depicts a blue health bar with a plus beside it, like Jesse Faden’s bar in Control. The one-eyed creature scribbled in black with curved spiderlike arms is the paranatural entity boss called Former, who you fight during the Fridge Duty mission. The red teethlike pattern of triangles around Former in the drawing represents the transition to the Astral Plane.

7 The FBC In Bright Falls

Naturally, with all those Control references and characters being in the game, there are quite a few mentions of the actual Federal Bureau of Control having jurisdiction in Bright Falls, primarily in the area surrounding Cauldron Lake. When you meet the first sheriff’s deputy before heading to the crime scene through the forest, you’ll see a “No Entry” sign from the FBC posted on the fence.

Later on, in another chapter, you’ll see a greater FBC presence in the woods. An FBC technician named Steven Lin will tell you that the Federal Bureau of Control is monitoring the “volcanic activity and air toxicity levels.” After Saga goes through a sequence of creepy events, you’ll see monitors in that same spot warning that Cauldron Lake has experienced an Altered World Event (A.W.E.).

6 Alan Wake’s American Nightmare Outfit And Death Rally Easter Egg

At one point in the game, Alan receives a change of clothing. The black, gray, and white checker plaid shirt with a white tee underneath is identical to the outfit his character model wore in the spin-off game Alan Wake’s American Nightmare. The 2012 game expanded story elements and was even more action-oriented with a wider weapon variety and came with an arcade mode.

While on the topic of arcades, the Elderwood Palace Lodge, where Alan Wake is being held for questioning, has an activity room with a Death Rally arcade cabinet. Death Rally is the first video game developed by Remedy in 1996. There was also previously an arcade cabinet version of it in Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.

5 Blue Coffee Thermoses

Sam Lake loves coffee, both in the real world and the game world of Alan Wake 2. His character, Alex Casey, drinks it a lot during the game, and there’s even a coffee-themed amusement park named Coffee World (also referenced in Control). In the first Alan Wake, blue coffee thermoses were collectibles, but they return in the sequel with a more practical twist.

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The Oh Deer blue coffee thermos now serves as a way to save your progress in the game, the first one earned after you get the power working in the Witch’s Hut. If you press on the thermos for either a quicksave or manual save, it opens up with some steamy brew inside the lid. You’ll also see collectible ads for the coffee thermos from the Koskela Brothers on TV screens.

4 Sheriff Breaker’s UFO Theories Are A Nod To Fargo

If you’re brave enough to scour the woods around Cauldron Lake, you’ll stumble upon some writing on a notepad beside a paperback titled ‘UFOs… and u,’ claiming to be the ultimate guide to spotting flying objects. This note is written by the obsessed Tim Breaker, who believes UFOs are an explanation for what’s happening to him, even writing that he feels Mr. Door might be watching him.

The “I was right to come to Bright Falls” mention confirms it’s Breaker. You’ll even see more volumes of UFO books on his desk at the sheriff’s office, and he discusses them on his evidence board. How UFOs are randomly referenced, and all these theories about them, evoke similar themes from Season 2 of FX’s Fargo, with the small-town crime drama inexplicably incorporating random UFO sci-fi elements in its storyline, like the saucer in the motel shootout.

3 Twin Peaks References

Speaking of coffee lovers and characters that come with their quirks, the town of Bright Falls and its law enforcement are heavily inspired by Twin Peaks, especially with the focus on FBI agents in the sequel. Alan Wake in the Dark Place is equivalent to Agent Dale Cooper being stuck in Twin Peaks’ Red Room, with the antagonist Scratch also being inspired by BOB and evil doppelgangers.

You may notice the sign welcoming you to Bright Falls is the same design as the Twin Peaks sign in the show, and Bright Falls is home to the Mirror Peak mountain landmark. Calling it “Mirror Peak” is as close as you can get to referencing “Twin Peaks.” There’s also a Mirror Peak Bar in the Dark Place, using the same neon green and red colors for its sign as the Twin Peaks title card.

2 The Shining References In The Opening Credits Sequence And Oceanview Hotel

If you’re a fan of Alan Wake, you’re probably a fan of acclaimed horror author Stephen King, whose writing unequivocally influenced the story. 2010’s Alan Wake had a quote at the beginning from Stephen King, but the entire opening credits sequence in Alan Wake 2 replicates The Shining’s iconic opening credits.

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The aerial shot of Saga Anderson and Alex Casey’s car driving through a winding road surrounded by an endless sea of tall trees is precisely the same as the drive Jack Torrance makes to the Overlook Hotel. You’ll hear the same ominous musical notes from the film’s score during the Alan Wake 2 title card reveal as well.

Furthermore, the eerie Oceanview Hotel in the Dark Place, which you visit in Initiation 5, is referred to as a haunted hotel in the game. Furthermore, there’s a room with a bathroom similar in its design layout and green tile color to Room 237’s bathtub.

1 More Night Springs Coming Soon

While wandering the gritty New York-inspired streets of the Dark Place, you’ll see tons of billboards and posters everywhere. Some advertise Alex Casey projects, and others are marketing the television show ‘Night Springs.’ There’s a billboard of Night Springs right across from the subway entrance and posters lining walls that read “New season coming soon,” serving as a tease for the Night Springs expansion for Alan Wake 2

In the original Alan Wake game, the televisions didn’t have Koskela Brothers ads, but instead, a fictional Twilight Zone-inspired series called ‘Night Springs.’ This show is also a favorite of Logan’s, who has a poster of Night Springs in her room, and the TV in Saga’s Mind Place cues up the Night Springs logo at a unique point in the game.

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