In the latest trailer for upcoming horror-adventure Alan Wake 2, developer Remedy Entertainment introduced audiences to new game co-protagonist, Saga Anderson – a franchise newcomer at the mercy of the rising darkness.
While not much is known about Saga just yet, Remedy’s Sam Lake and Hannah Price, and actress Melanie Liburd recently sat down with GameSpot to discuss more about the debuting character, and how she becomes embroiled in Alan Wake’s world.
‘We don’t have that many playable characters through almost 30 years of Remedy history,’ creative director Sam Lake said. ‘[Creating a new protagonist] is a big event and we take that very seriously.’
According to Lake, the birth of Saga Anderson was inspired by a need to tell an ambitious, multi-faceted story in Alan Wake 2, where multiple perspectives could help illuminate how far the franchise’s dark forces have spread.
‘Having multiple points of view in the story, and having more tonal shifts with that, just felt like the right way to go,’ Lake said. ‘Even though this is called Alan Wake 2, this is just as much a Saga Anderson game. They are very much at the heart of the story – both of them.’
Anderson finds her place in the story on the trail of FBI agent Robert Nightingale, who was taken by the darkness in the original Alan Wake. Alongside her partner, played by Sam Lake himself, she travels to Bright Falls and seemingly stumbles onto an odd cult.
With experience working as a criminal profiler in strange cases, she’s the ideal candidate to explore Nightingale’s disappearance, and the inner workings of Bright Falls, which has seemingly grown darker since Alan Wake vanished from the town.
According to Lake, Anderson’s character was very malleable before Hollywood actor Melanie Liburd was cast.
‘The story was there, not the whole screenplay when we started shooting, that’s how we usually work; there is an iterative process,’ Lake said. ‘But then, together with Hannah and Mel – and this has now been the process for us with Hannah and Control as well – we find the perfect actor for it through the casting process, and then we all sit down, start finding the character together, workshop it, start shooting material, and out of that we discover things.’
While Anderson was a complete, well-rounded character, the collaborative process meant Liburd was able to add her own sense of personality, as well as humour, to the role.
‘We talked about it from the beginning,’ Liburd said. ‘How she’s such a well-rounded, full character even from the page that Sam created. So it was just a really fun experience to discover more about her – what a great mother she is, and really what a geek she is about her job.’
Anderson will be an essential character in the main story, with her passions driving her as the quest to discover Nightingale’s fate evolves, and her investigation becomes intertwined with Wake’s attempt to destroy the darkness and escape Cauldron Lake.
‘She does need to be there,’ Liburd said. ‘Alan needs Saga, and Saga needs Alan. And that is the main thing that fans will understand when they see her.’
Intriguingly, when GameSpot questioned Sam Lake about Anderson’s surname, and potential ties to the Anderson Brothers who appear in Alan Wake, he reportedly played coy. He acknowledged the surname had appeared in the game before, but apparently ‘avoided eye contact’, indicating Saga may have ties to the history of Bright Falls.
Whatever the case, her appearance in the upcoming game is certainly intriguing. Check out the full GameSpot interview for more on Saga Anderson, and the role she’ll play in this highly-anticipated sequel.
Alan Wake 2 launches for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PC on 17 October 2023. As recently revealed by Remedy, it will be a digital-only release.