Alan Wake video game developer paid  for Stephen King quote

Literary master of horror Stephen King only charged $1 for the use of the quote that opens the Alan Wake video game

Developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Game Studios, the video game Alan Wake begins with the narrator quoting a line that was written by Stephen King – and during an interview with Eurogamer, Remedy boss Sam Lake revealed that King only charged them $1 to use that line.

In case you’re not familiar with Alan Wake (as I wasn’t before seeing the article on the Eurogamer website), Eurogamer provides the information: Alan Wake begins with a sequence where we see the title character driving through the lonely countryside, over which we hear him deliver the following lines: “Stephen King once wrote that ‘Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.’ In a horror story, the victim keeps asking ‘Why?’ But there can be no explanation, and there shouldn’t be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest, and it’s what we’ll remember in the end. My name is Alan Wake, I’m a writer.”

The quoted King line comes from an article the author wrote for his The Pop of King column in the pages of Entertainment Weekly. The specific article was Why Hollywood Can’t Do Horror.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Lake said, “Creating the original Alan Wake, I really, really desperately wanted a quote from him to start it off. It’s my understanding he wanted $1 for us to get the rights to use it. [It was] so very generous.

Alan Wake was released in 2010, and a remastered version was released in 2021. Wikipedia notes, “The story follows bestselling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance during a vacation in the small fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington, all while experiencing events from the plot in his latest novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life. In its pacing and structure, Alan Wake is similar to a thriller television series, with episodes that contain plot twists and cliffhangers. The game itself consists of six episodes, and the storyline is continued by two special episodes, The Signal and The Writer, that were made available as downloadable content (DLC) within the same year of the game’s release. Additionally, a six-episode live-action web series called Bright Falls acts as a prequel to the game, and a number of related books also expand upon the Alan Wake story. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, a stand-alone spin-off, was released in February 2012.” A sequel, Alan Wake II, is scheduled to be released for PlayStation 5, Windows, and Xbox Series X/S in October.

It’s no surprise that King only charged $1 for the quote used in Alan Wake, because it’s well known that he has a “Dollar Baby” arrangement where he only charges $1 when students, aspiring filmmakers, and theatre producers want to make an adaptation of his work. So why not charge $1 for a line from an Entertainment Weekly article as well?

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