Alan Wake 2 picks up 13 years after the first game left off, which just so happens to have released 13 years prior. While the first game had its share of interesting characters and plot points, the sequel surpasses the first game in every way – especially in the character writing and acting. From the dual protagonists all the way down to side characters with a handful of lines, every character manages to deliver stand-out performances.
With how twisted the story gets, it needed to be matched beat for beat with characters to stand against atop overwhelming tide of weird… and the game delivers. The beautiful mix of in-engine and live-action footage makes for an incredibly unique experience. To determine the best characters, this list will consider a combination of the voice acting, character writing, and motion capture that combine to deliver such unforgettable performances.
- October 27, 2023
- Remedy Entertainment
Warning! Major Story Spoilers For Alan Wake 2 below.
10 Tim Breaker
Provides A Dose Of Normalcy In An Abnormal World
In classic Remedy fashion, Tim Breaker is an intersection of several Remedy elements. He’s played by Shawn Ashmore, who played the main character in Remedy’s Xbox exclusive, Quantum Break, which involved time manipulation powers (Time Breaker, anyone?). In addition, he plays the cousin of Sarah Breaker, the sheriff of Bright Falls during the first game. Tim has stepped into that position now, and he’s an immediately endearing character. Even in the dark situations he finds himself in (first investigating the murders at Cauldron Lake, then being lost within the Dark Place), Tim strives to remain positive, even as his sanity is slowly chipped away.
I’ve been trying to map it, but it keeps looping and shifting. Like there are many versions stacked on top of each other.
He offers a friendly face to Alan Wake as you explore the Dark Place, and he works to uncover the identity of Warlin Door, a mysterious figure in Bright Falls’ past who has been haunting his dreams – and the reason Tim Breaker was pulled into the Dark Place to begin with. Tim’s story isn’t resolved by the end of Alan Wake 2, as he chooses to remain in the Dark Place in search of Mr. Door, but with two DLC expansions on the horizon, along with Control 2, this is certainly not the last we’ll see of Sheriff Tim Breaker.
9 Kiran Estevez
Our Gateway Into The Federal Bureau Of Control
During the first hour with the game, Saga Anderson comes across an FBC (Federal Bureau of Control) monitoring station, our first brush with the world of Control. The FBC presence can be felt all over Cauldron Lake, but it wasn’t immediately clear just how involved they might be. Then, partway into the game, a full FBC strike force makes its appearance, led by Agent Kiran Estevez. She showcases a ‘been there, done that’ attitude that fits in perfectly with the weirdness the FBC contends with on a regular basis, but Janina Gavankar’s portrayal brings a deeper human side to what could otherwise be a fairly bland authority figure.
Good news, we have Bureau intel in all of this. Bad news, it’s highly classified. Good news, consider yourself deputized into the Federal Bureau of Control. Here’s a key to the cell where we keep the files. Happy reading.
Despite being initially at odds, Agent Estevez becomes a fast ally to Alex Casey and Saga Anderson, even deputizing them both into the FBC. While she wasn’t exactly the bombastic reveal that, say, Jesse Faden might have been, the very direct and overt connection between the two games helps to further blur the lines between the two franchises.
8 Koskela Brothers (Ilmo & Jaakko)
Perhaps a bit of a cheat entry, but Ilmo and Jaakko Koskela truly shine when they’re together, either on screen in their hilarious and unhinged fake TV commercials, or just in the regular course of interacting with them during the game. Continuing the long Remedy tradition of multimedia inclusions in their games, the Koskela brothers offer a much-needed comedic relief during the quieter moments of exploration.
Ahma Beer is a traditional Finnish lager, and we drink it the Finnish way! … Partaking in the Finnish tradition of kalsarikannit – drinking at home alone in your underwear with no intention of going out. It’s not sad if it’s intentional.
They aren’t just there for laughs, though; the reveal that they’re the leaders behind the Cult of the Tree, in addition to the later twist that the Cult of the Tree were actually the good guys all along, make for heavy impacts during the later hours of the game, especially with the reveal that the Alan Wake Saga has been interacting with has actually been the Dark Presence itself.
7 Mr. Door
The Man Who Stands Between
One of the most enigmatic characters in the game, Mr. Door is, well, a mystery. Initially, he plays the role oftalk show host, rolling with whatever confusion is spilling out of Alan Wake’s mouth during his excursions out into the Dark Place. As time rolls on, however, Mr. Door reveals himself to be much more than he seems, holding a deeper knowledge of the mechanics of the Dark Place and of Alan Wake’s journey through it. He’s deeply ambiguous, with players never quite sure if he’s a force for good or evil – or neither!
You keep opening doors, peeking in, reaching through to get what you want, and that puts you in my path… This has gone on long enough.
His mysterious involvement in pulling Tim Breaker into the Dark Place certainly hints at a darker intent, and his dimensional abilities – combined with the hints that he is in fact Saga Anderson’s father – make clear that there’s more in store for Mr. Door.
Mr. Door was actually mentioned briefly by Dylan Faden in Control, so Alan Wake 2 marks his second ‘appearance’ in the Remedyverse.
6 Tor & Odin Anderson
The Old Gods Of Asgard
Another duo entry, Tor and Odin Anderson are returning characters from the first game. Their shtick remains much the same – they’re initially presented as delusional strung out former rockstars of the Old Gods of Asgard, but overtime, it’s revealed that their insane ramblings might not be quite as insane as they once seemed. While this pattern is repeated in the sequel, with Saga initially dismissing their drunken ramblings, Alan Wake 2 takes their characters further, adding layers to their interactions with Saga Anderson.
Odin: They believe because deep down, they want to be told what to think. We’re different. Rebels! You must stop it before it turns real. Don’t be part of the story. Make the story.
As she discovers her ties to Tor as her grandfather, this reveal deepens her understanding of her own supernatural ability as a seer. While the exact nature of their ‘divinity’ isn’t fully solidified, there’s still no denying that they share extraordinary abilities. Paired with their ties to Ahti, Mr. Door, and the Dark Place itself, it’s very likely we’ll continue to see more of this odd couple and their epic music.
Enigmatic Janitor On Vacation
Ahti is perhaps the most beautifully surprising inclusion in Alan Wake 2, and his introduction marks the true nexus point of the Alan Wake/Control Remedyverse. First Introduced in 2019’s Control, Ahti is the enigmatic janitor who can be found all over the Oldest House, and who fancies himself the true authority of the place – above the board, even. Always more than he appears to be, he is both caretaker and guide, offering deeply confusing advice laced with obscure Finnish phrases that can be quite confusing to follow.
Water is the oldest balm. Water finds its way. What water brings, it takes away. It can be clean or dirty, it can give life or drown it.
He serves a similar role in Alan Wake 2 both for Saga Anderson and Alan Wake, appearing in both the real world and the Dark Place to help guide our heroes along. While there are a number of elements that link Control and Alan Wake 2, Ahti is perhaps the most endearing (and mysterious). Last we saw of Ahti in Control, he was going on vacation. To Bright Falls, perhaps?
4 Thomas Zane
Auteur Director Driven Mad By The Dark Place
Thomas Zane was something of a surprise character in Alan Wake 2 – he was a critical component to the first game, the example creative the Dark Presence had manipulated previously in the 70s. In the first game, he was a poet, but the version Alan Wake encounters in AW2’s Dark Place is a film maker. Players are left to stew on this inconsistency, as is Alan Wake himself, but it plays perfectly into the warping nature of the Dark Place.
You stopped writing! You said it was too dangerous. That we didn’t deserve to get out. Then he showed up. Scratch. He promised to write. To get me the hell out of here. He was magnificent.
Zane is something of a drugged-out eccentric artist who looks the same as Alan Wake (played by the same actors), deepening the confusion around the character. The exact nature of why Zane looks like Wake is left unclear, but the bizarre interactions between the two characters marks a high point in Alan Wake’s journey through the Oceanview Hotel.
3 Alex Casey
More Than A Fictional Hard-Boiled Detective
Perhaps one of the more complex characters in Alan Wake 2, Alex Casey embodies a few personas. There’s Alex Casey, the fictional protagonist written by Alan Wake, who becomes a character within Alan’s journey through the Dark Place. Then, there’s the actor on Mr. Door’s talk show who has been cast to play Alex Casey. Then, there’s Alex Casey the FBI agent, Saga Anderson’s partner. These characters overlap quite a bit, but while the ‘fictional’ Alex Casey is more of a hard-boiled detective caricature, Alex Casey the FBI agent is much more rounded as a person.
I’d had this dark place in my head for so long. Sometimes I’d forget the pain was there, like it was the way you were supposed to feel. I was not in a dark place. I was the dark place, the source of it all, the vessel.
They share similar rough edges, but FBI Casey also has a soft side, is open and communicative with his partner and with Agent Estevez, which add a ton of depth to an already rock solid performance. These two characters are also split between Sam Lake’s motion capture and James McCaffrey’s voice acting, creating a perfectly weird cross-section of personalities at play.
2 Saga Anderson
The Hero The Story Needed
It’s tough to introduce a brand-new character to a video game sequel literally named after the other protagonist, but Saga Anderson immediately endears herself to players within the first 10 minutes. She’s smart, clever, and deeply curious – along with her chemistry with her partner, Alex Casey – combine to create a multilayered dynamic that immediately pulls you into her story. As she explores the warped world of Bright Falls and Watery, her humanity – and her paranormal powers – have you rooting for her through every success and every setback.
Wake said the horror story would make people crazy. Like they are being brainwashed to believe the story. Is it spreading?
Tying her into the insane, possibly divine family of rockstars Tor and Odin – The Old Gods of Asgard – further weaves her into Remedy’s strange multidimensional narrative. With her being deputized into the FBC toward the end of the game, and due to her own supernatural abilities, players can only hope that she’ll continue to make prominent appearances in the future Remedy is crafting.
1 Alan Wake
The Perfect Guide On This Journey Of Madness
While there’s nothing that says a game’s titular character has to be the best character, Alan Wake manages to stand atop the deeply talented cast in this incredible title. Like Alex Casey, Alan Wake is portrayed by two performers: Ilkka Villi performs the motion capture for the character, and Matthew Porretta provides the iconic voice work. Deepening the character’s portrayal from his 2010 debut, Alan Wake delivers a performance like no other. With his story predominantly set in the Dark Place, Alan Wake must contend with reality-warping conditions at every turn.
The Dark Place wants to drown me. I’m losing myself. I have to fight it. I have to remember.
Constantly embroiled in meta-infused plot points and analyzing the layers of storytelling he is crafting and that are being crafted around him, on top of the twisting, maddening nature of the Dark Place itself, it’d be easy for Alan Wake’s humanity to become lost in all the surreal elements of his story. But, it’s his grounded, flawed approach to every situation that endears Alan Wake to players so forcefully. Alan Wake isn’t a perfect character, and it’s precisely those imperfections that make him such an incredible protagonist.