Remedy Entertainment's Alan Wake 2 received widespread acclaim from fans and critics when it launched on 27th October, continuing the tale of the tortured, titular writer. The sequel to the cult-classic Alan Wake, buoyed by more than a decade of hype and developed by a Remedy with the momentum of a well-received Control behind it, you'd expect the game to sell like gangbusters, wouldn't you?
IGN reports that Alan Wake 2's seemingly dire sales predicament doesn't paint the whole picture, citing the latest Circana (formerly NPD Group) industry sales figures. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Marvel's Spider-Man 2, and Hogwarts Legacy claimed the top three spots for November. Alan Wake 2 was conspicuously absent from the top 20.
Now, there are a few things to note. Circana's data doesn't account for digital data unless the publisher chooses to supply it (Epic Games does not). Remedy opted for a digital-only release for Alan Wake 2, which means no physical figures. Circana analyst Mat Piscatella did confirm to IGN that Alan Wake 2 ranked 115th on PlayStation in terms of MAUs (monthly active users) in November, but it still doesn't give us much to go on.
Ampere Analysis' Piers Harding-Rolls offers something more concrete, estimating that Alan Wake 2 managed 850k sales across consoles by the end of November. We wouldn't expect PC players to account for as many. An Epic Store exclusive, Steam users hate booting up competing launchers. Harding-Rolls notes that interest will increase as the price drops.
Control, a new IP for Remedy, managed to move 2 million units in its first year, famously developed on a modest budget of just $30 million. Alan Wake 2's budget is estimated to be more than double that, including marketing, making the game Finland's most expensive cultural product.
We prefer words to numbers and don't claim to be business experts. But wouldn't you expect Remedy's latest to outsell its last? Sequels generally sell better than their predecessors, and given the added budget, not to mention critical acclaim, we'd imagine Epic would at least expect Alan Wake 2 to outsell Control, and maybe it will. But then, if this year has taught us anything, it's equally likely the powers that be were expecting considerably more bang for their buck.