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How Alan Wake's Story was Influenced by Silent Hill 1 and Silent Hill 2
In the previous article, we had a detailed review of "Alan Wake". If you missed it, here's the link for you:
>> Alan Wake Review <<
Now let's take a look at some suspicious similarities between Alan Wake and Silent Hill. Here you will see how the developers tried to copycat the scenario from this classic Japanese horror game.
Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for Alan Wake 1, Silent Hill 1 and Silent Hill 2.
1. Similar Setting
The events of Alan Wake take place in a small American resort town located near the lake. Moreover, this city has a special power - it is capable of turning people's fantasies into reality.
We saw the same thing in Silent Hill. This town also could turn fantasies and memories into reality. Moreover, it was also a resort and is located near the lake. Alan Wake's developers just copied the setting of SH games - and only changed the name of the city.
2. Story begins like in SH1
The beginning of the story in the two games is absolutely identical: the writer comes with his relative to a small town, the car accident occurs, the relative disappears, the writer goes in search of the relative, meets monsters, and so on.
The only difference is that in SH1 the missing relative was the daughter, while in Alan Wake it was the wife.
3. The game starts with a Nightmare
The first 15 minutes of Alan Wake are a short nightmare sequence followed by an awakening.
This idea was also borrowed from Silent Hill games. In almost all parts of the series, the first 10-15 minutes of the game were traditionally a "nightmare” scene, after which the hero then woke up. This idea was present in SH1, SH3, and SH4.
4. Darkness, Light and Fog
Fog, darkness and flashlight were an important core elements of Silent Hill. Darkness in the game came suddenly, regardless of the time of day. With its arrival, the world took on a nightmarish look, and monsters appeared. And our main companion was a small flashlight.
And "Alan Wake" is really similar in this aspect. Night can fall on its own in a few seconds - and with the advent of darkness, monsters appear. All locations in the game are shrouded in thick fog. And a lot of attention is paid to the flashlight theme.
5. Similar Characters
It's quite funny that even the selection of characters in Alan Wake is clearly borrowed from Silent Hill 1.
There is a main character-writer, a good policewoman, a cunning doctor-villain, and a strange old woman. The only difference is that in Silent Hill there was only one old lady, but in Alan Wake this character was split into two different ladies.
Let's take a quick look at each character.
5.1 Alan Wake = Harry Mason
In both games, the main character is a writer who went on vacation to a resort town - and is now trying to find a relative who disappeared during the trip. Moreover, even the designs of the characters look somewhat similar.
5.2 Sarah Breaker = Cybil Bennett
The female police officers we meet upon arrival in the resort town. At first, the cops do not realize the seriousness of the events taking place in the city, but they still try to help the writers. And in the end they almost die because of this.
Positive altruistic characters performing a supporting role.
5.3 Emil Hartman = Michael Kaufmann
Both of these characters work as doctors in local clinics. Calm, reasonable, practical. At first, they strongly deny their involvement in what is happening. But in reality, they were trying to use Alessa\Zane's special abilities and the "power of the town" for their own gains. Hartman and Kaufman have the same ending - in both games, the cunning doctors die.
5.4 Cynthia = good Dahlia
Cynthia is in many ways similar to the image of Dahlia that we see when we first meet her.
Both of these old ladies constantly speak in riddles and babble strange omens about the darkness that is devouring the city. They help the main character and give him an important artifact necessary to fight the darkness (Flauros\Clicker).
The only difference is that Cynthia remains at the level of a stereotyped positive character, and disappears from the story without a trace after the third meeting. While Dahlia was a more interesting character and also had a secret darker side.
5.5 Barbara = bad Dahlia
There were two sides to Dahlia Gillespie in SH1 - first she was shown as a positive character, then as a villain. If Cynthia corresponds to the positive image of Dahlia, then Barbara is an analogue of the negative side of Dahlia.
Moreover, even the true goals of Dahlia and Barbara are very similar. In SH1, Dahlia tried to create a new world by turning Alessa's fantasies into reality. In AW, Barbara tries to manipulate Zane/Wake to create the new world that she wants (also by turning the writer's fantasies into reality).
6. SH2 and the Story of Thomas Zane
While most of Alan Wake's story was taken from SH1, the developers also managed to copy some things from Silent Hill 2.
The story of Thomas Zane in "Alan Wake" is very similar to James Sunderland's story in SH2:
6.1) In Silent Hill, James meets a copy of his dead wife - but she behaves very strangely and is not a real person. Thomas Zane also met a copy of his late wife - but in reality she was a product of the "power of the town" and his own fantasies.
6.2) Thomas Zane tried to resurrect his dead wife using a special ritual. To do this, he went to a small island in the center of the lake and began to write a story about her there (so that the wife from his fantasies would become reality through the "power of the town”). We saw a very similar idea with the "ritual to resurrect the dead wife on an island in the center of the lake” in the Rebirth ending of Silent Hill 2.
6.3) In the end, Zane commits suicide by drowning himself in the lake. James does the same thing in the "In Water" ending of SH2.
Development of Alan Wake began in 2003, when Silent Hill series was at the peak of its popularity. And it’s obvious that the developers from Remedy wanted to imitate the popular game and make their own "Finnish Silent Hill”.
But unfortunately, in the process of working on the project, they went too far with copycatting - and began to openly plagiarize the Silent Hill's scenario and characters. And clearly without asking permission from the original authors.
In addition, all the copied ideas in Alan Wake are implemented noticeably worse than in Silent Hill games. Despite the similarity, the characters in AW turned out to be less interesting than in SH. The city is not as memorable. And the concept with the manifestation of the thoughts and fantasies was much more deep in SH games.
Therefore, in the end, the story of Alan Wake leaves a disappointing impression. In my opinion, such level of plagiarism on scenarios from other people's games is unacceptable. Especially considering that AW was falsely advertised everywhere as a project with a very good and well-written story.
Other interesting articles
about horror games on our website:
>> Horror Game Reviews <<
>> Museum of Horror Games <<
Author of the article: SilentPyramid
Date of publication: 28.06.2012
Article update: 28.10.2023
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