Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows (Steam Deck YMMV)
Current goal: Reflect on how wonderful James McCaffrey was
This was a sad week for fans of Remedy’s games. We lost a resonantly creative soul with James McCaffrey’s passing this week.
Read More: Alan Wake II, Max Payne Voice Actor James McCaffrey Has Passed Away
It’s not easy going back and replaying Alan Wake II right now. Conversations between Saga Anderson and Alex Casey (who was voiced by McCaffrey), especially in the opening moments, just simply land differently with knowledge of McCaffrey’s death. There’s a new emotional contour here.
James McCaffrey’s talent was such that he could rope you into a world and a character with a single word. The second you hear his voice you’re back in the gritty, dark and unforgiving world of Max Payne, pulled into the cryptic, brutalist mystery that is Control, or turning to your partner for backup and support in the face of inexplicable events in Alan Wake II.
McCaffrey’s performances remind me of why I often come to video games: It’s not just about escapism or a skill challenge. It’s about connection with other humans, many of whom I never even met, through an artistic medium. There’s a recognizable slice of humanity in each of McCaffrey’s performances, ones I find memorable and deeply affective. And by this existing in a video game, my consciousness feels closer by way of the interactivity, whether I’m playing a character or interacting with an NPC.
And so I’m jumping back into Alan Wake II (from scratch, no new game plus for me yet) with the hopes of picking up any little details I might’ve missed the first time around. I want to soak up McCaffrey’s final performance. I want to remember hearing his voice for the first time in Max Payne, back when it seems like I could more easily slip into a state of joy while playing a video game. And in this, his final game, I want to say goodbye to someone who brought me and many others such joy through his talents. — Claire Jackson
Alan Wake II’s new game plus mode features new story content
How about another trip down the spiral? Alan Wake II’s recent new game plus update lets you go back in with all of your unlocked goodies and also features a new ending. And if you’re not too keen on repeating yourself, remember…it’s not a loop…
And that’s a wrap. We’ll see you next in two weeks, as many of us are taking off for the holidays. Do you have any games lined up for the long break?