The Signal is an additional Alan Wake episode released via DLC. The DLC was free to all those who bought a new copy of Alan Wake, but for those who rented or bought a pre-owned copy, the price of the DLC is 20$
It was released on 27th July 2010.
Although this episode is known to be in "Season One", it is said to be a more stand-alone/special episode.
Continuing on where the main game finished, Alan finds himself outside the diner in a night time Bright Falls which quickly changes to daytime. Entering the diner, a surreal déjà-vu dream of the events play out similar to when Alan first arrived, with everything eerily familiar but out of place. Alan is unable to remember where he was prior to this moment, but knows he must go to the back of the diner which he forcibly enters. Zane talks to Alan and warns him that he should go no further and that Alan must focus. Zane plays a video of Alan struggling with reality and even telling of events playing out at the moment, Alan realizes where he is: The Dark Place.
Leaving the bathroom, a powerful disturbance causes Alan to lose his balance and focus for a brief second. Night time has now fallen in Bright Falls and the main area of the diner the area is littered with televisions playing a warning message from Alan himself which later happens precisely as the message described. Going out the back of the diner, Alan finds himself in the forest surrounding Bright Falls and believes that something went wrong with Departure's ending. Seeking safety from the Taken inside a lone house, Alan finds a manuscript page, which Alan recognizes as his manuscript. However, the words are "jumbled to dream like fragments". Many of the words from the manuscript appear in front of Alan but he focuses on one word in particular, "phone". Shining his light on it, a phone appears and Zane tells Alan he can help him but he has to stop slipping deeper and follow the signal. From there on; Alan follows the signal through Bright Falls streets which makes him encounter multiple disturbance shifts, television warnings and many Taken. After escaping the Church's mutated Taken infested basement, Alan sees a manuscript page floating from the sky, multiple words again appear including one called friend. Shining his light on it, Barry Wheeler, Alan Wake's friend and manager appears in a see-through form, also bringing his personality along with him. Alan realizes the signal is pointing to a structure in the distance which Barry points out it’s sawmill, Alan questions how Barry knew that with Barry responding with a confusing answer.
Going deeper into the woods, a warning message plays out, a new type of invisible Taken appears and hound Alan throughout the forest. Everything begins to get, in Barry's own words, weird. He says that Alan's unguarded thoughts are coming together to create strange places that Alan will have to traverse through to get to his goal. Words begin to change into 'bad' words forcing Alan to be careful around them. Entering and going through the Sawmill, Alan begins to remember Alice and wonders about her. Alan eventually reaches Zane in Alan's own home. Zane appears and tells him its not the darkness that's causing this but himself- he is trapped in his own mind. After Alan angrily refuses to believe he is creating this, Zane is forcibly pushed away and televisions start to attack Alan. After the battle Alan approaches the main television with him agonizing over "Why... why.. why couldn't I make him stop". A powerful scream comes from the television and Alan collapses in agony. Awaking, Alan echoes a previous scene with Dr. Emil Hartman at Cauldron Lake Lodge but is soon shown to be back in the cabin in Cauldron Lake, laying on the floor surrounded with manuscript pages. Alan is slowly panicking and slowly losing himself saying "there’s no way out... I need to get out of here!!"
- Investigate the restroom. - After you enter the distorted diner.
- Pick up the flashlight. - After a flashlight appears through the mirror.
- Pick up the gun. - After a gun appears through the mirror.
- Exit the diner. - After Tom Zane has finished talking.
- Investigate the light. - After you see the light in the distance.
- Follow the GPS signal. - After the call with Zane.
- Investigate the flare. - After you trigger the "memory".
- Find a way out of the basement. - After you enter the rather large basement.
- Reach the sawmill. - After you find a way out of the basement and see the sawmill with imaginary Barry
- Destroy the TVs. - After you meet Zane.
In the special episodes, the game revisits locations throughout the main game. Below is a compiled list of these locations and the episode taken from in order of appearance.
- Oh Deer Diner, Episode 1: Nightmare
- Bright Falls General Store, Episode 5: The Clicker
- Bright Falls Church, Episode 5: The Clicker
- Alan's Apartment, Episode 2: Taken
- Cauldron Lake Lodge, Episode 4: The Truth
- Bird Leg Cabin, Episode 6: Departure
- Ilkka Villi (model) and Matthew Porretta (voice) as Alan Wake and Insane Alan
- Brett Madden as Alice Wake
- Fred Berman as Imaginary Barry
- James McCaffrey as Thomas Zane
- Benita Robledo as Rose Marigold
- Jessica Alexander as Sarah Breaker
- Mark Blum as Emil Hartman
- Linda Cook as Cynthia Weaver
- Lloyd Floyd as Tor Anderson
- Cliff Carpenter as Odin Anderson
- Jeff Gurner as Rusty
- Gianfranco Negroponte, Navid Khonsari and Andrew Totolos as Taken
Reception from the DLC has been very positive. Many critics praised the story twists, and the new gameplay elements. Many also noted that Wake "going off the deep edge" is a good character turn for him. However, there has been some negative reception from critics due to the short length and how the game was not focused on story as much as gameplay.
- Did Alan really get out of the nightmare?
- Every new purchase of Alan Wake on Xbox 360 should contain a token code card for this DLC.
- The DLC also comes free with the PC version of Alan Wake.
- By decision of Microsoft redeem codes for this DLC was not included in Poland (neither standard nor limited version).
- The flashlight and handgun are most likely metaphors for the story that Alan is creating in his mind during the duration of the DLC, as mentioned by Zane. They can represent the plotline and process of elimination in the story, which, theoretically is why the setting is distorted and changes often, as a video of Alan explains in the second episode of the regular story.
- Mike from Remedy revealed in Kotaku comments section that they like to refer to the DLC episodes as "Specials".
- After Alan picks up a Verizon phone and Thomas Zane calls him, Zane's first words are a quote from the popular Verizon commercial, "Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?"
- It appears as though alarm clocks and cardboard cut-outs replace coffee thermoses as collectibles.
- Although there are more manuscript pages, there is no achievement that requires them to be collected. In fact, the pages are just there to help progress the story.
- Despite there being TV's, there are no new episodes of Night Springs or even real-life commercials, because this is all imaginary and perhaps an enemy.
- There are no radio shows in the DLC.
- There are a few slight differences in the surroundings of the DLC (this DLC is set in Alan's head and it's obvious that things can change in the surroundings). In the diner kitchen in this DLC, there is a door to the left. In Nightmare and The Clicker, there is no door.
- The music at the end of the signal is Anna Ternheim - No, I Don't Remember, which is available at iTunes.
- During the destruction derby segment of the level, the imaginary Barry Wheeler quotes it being a "death rally". This is an obvious hint to Remedy's first game called Death Rally. In Hartman's lodge there is a Death Rally poster in one of the rooms, along with an Xbox 360 on a table.
- In Alan Wake's study there are two pistols in glass on his bookshelf that belong to Max Payne.
- Another Max Payne reference can be found right at the beginning of the episode. After Alan has taken the flashlight and pistol; open the far left stall, the words 'Mirra was here' are written on the wall. This is a reference to Address Unknown, one of the TV series found in Max Payne 2.