What? Wait, that never happened... (Theory SPOILERS)

#1dantheengineerPosted 1/5/2012 1:34:21 AM
I apologize in advance for the Wall-O-Text.

I just finished the game and the DLC's, and have a theory that I haven't seen much mention of. I've seen a couple of people that have a gut feeling about something similar, but really nothing to back it up. I think I have evidence to support my theory.

As I was getting to the end of the game, there were two possibilities in my mind. The first is well discussed on these boards, being the "Zane wrote Alan into existence to fight the Darkness" theory (some believe Zane to be Alan's father, the theory works either way)

The second theory takes it a step further and says that Alan wrote the whole story, and created Zane as the writer to give the event meaning and give Alan a mentor or father figure. The only thing missing from this theory is a motive, other than just pure insanity.

Everything in the game supports both theories as possible, until a certain point. (Note that all quotes are from memory, they may not be exactly what was said but should be close.)

This point is at the end of the game, where we find Alan walking through a Dark Area, his writing now very literally being brought to reality (this is where you shine the flashlight on words to create objects). He hears voices from the past, shedding light on what happened with Zane and Jagger, and also on his own past. Then he sees Alice's name in the clouds above, telling us that the voice we hear is hers.

"I'm sorry, Alan. I'm in love with somebody else. I'm leaving you"

In-world Alan reacts quickly: "What? Wait, that never happened!" He dismisses it as untrue. The player also dismisses it as the darkness performing some trickery... And yet I couldn't dismiss it. Something was wrong with that quote. Everything else in the game fits the story. Everything can be traced back to some origin, something Alan had heard before or some other event. This one was completely different, it had no origin. It wasn't some edited quote meant to deceive Alan. The quote was uncut and unmistakable in its meaning. As I thought about it, the first theory blew apart, and the second theory took hold. All of the pieces fell into place as the motive was revealed to me. These are the events that I believe started everything.

Starting two years ago, Alan is a famous writer, and he and Alice are happily married. They enjoy each other's company, and their happiness can be seen in flashbacks in the game and in the DLC. Alice seems genuinely happy.

Then something happens. Alan stops writing. He begins changing, becoming distant and quick to anger. Without the writing, Alan is a changed man. This isn't the man Alice had loved and married. This man was mean and angry, and Alice didn't like it. Eventually she fell into happiness in the arms of another man.

At some point she realized that what she was doing was wrong. She needed to either find her happiness in Alan or leave him. So she decides to give him one last chance, to try and change him back to the man he once was. She find Dr. Hartman and thinks that he can help, then books a vacation at a nearby lake where they can relax. Perhaps being away from the city and with Dr. Hartman helping, Alan will be able to start writing again.

Continued...
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I used to play Battletoads on a 2" B&W TV w/ no sound & a half broken controller in 10' of snow uphill both ways! You kids don't know what hard is!
#2dantheengineer(Topic Creator)Posted 1/5/2012 1:35:43 AM
They get to Bright Falls. "Thank you for coming, Alan" Alice says. This seems insignificant the first time through, but having this new background these words seem much more important. This means a lot to Alice.

They get to the cabin and Alice is excited at the prospect of helping Alan get better. She shows him her surprise... A typewriter. This is where things turn south.

Alan becomes irrationally angry. "This is why you brought me here? How could you, Alice!?" He screams.

Alice explains that she thinks this might help him return to writing, that there is a doctor here that can help him... This only worsens things, as now Alan is screaming about being forced into a mental hospital. Imagine how Alice must have felt after everything that she had done, everything that she had been through. She knew that this was it, that there was no going back to the way things were. After some contemplation, while out on the back porch she admits the truth and finally ends it.

"I'm sorry, Alan. I'm in love with somebody else. I'm leaving you."

We have seen how Alan reacted to something as small as a typewriter. We can only imagine the anger that was unleashed with this revelation.

He gets violent. He grabs her, maybe even hits her. She scream for help (I am starting my second playthrough and am very interested to hear her exact words. Iirc they are something like "Help! Alan! Help!"). We originally interpreted her pleas of help as being directed to Alan (Alan, please Help!), but perhaps when she scream "Alan!" She wasn't pleading for his help but pleading for him to stop, while pleading for help from anybody within earshot.

He pushes her around. Grabs her and pushes her at the railing... And the railing gives way. She crashes through, and falls to the water below. Knocked unconscious by the fall, she sinks to the depths of the lake.

Realizing what he has done, Alan dives in after her. But it is too late, she is beyond his reach. She is gone. Alice is dead, and Alan has killed her.

No, no, that couldn't have happened. Alan begins to deny it. That isn't how it happened, it wasn't me, I DIDN'T KILL ALICE! The events swarm around him and he looks for answers, he looks for a way out of the guilt and responsibility. It was the darkness, it was some unknown force of the lake that took her away from me! I was trying to save her! I still can! She isn't dead, only taken by this evil force! He can rewrite the story, write how it REALLY happened, and maybe he can get Alice back.

So he begins writing, writing the events that happened, writing the events that will happen so that he can save Alice. He gets lost in it, lost in his madness, lost in the story he has created. But subconsciously he knows that he can never leave this madness, for then he would be faced with the truth that Alice is no more. And so he writes his eternal fate into the story. He must sacrifice himself to save Alice. He must stay forever in the Darkness, and Alice will live. And without him ever leaving, he will never face the truth. The madman types frantically at the keys, lost to the Darkness forever.

TL;DR: Alan killed Alice, then wrote everything that happened afterwards so that he can deny the event and place the blame elsewhere.

I am starting a second playthrough, and will add info and more precise quotes as I hear them to support or derail this theory. Let me know your thoughts or if there is anything that I missed.
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I used to play Battletoads on a 2" B&W TV w/ no sound & a half broken controller in 10' of snow uphill both ways! You kids don't know what hard is!
#3dantheengineer(Topic Creator)Posted 1/5/2012 6:32:31 AM
So I'm at the part where Alice gets attacked. Her exact words are:

"Alan? Alan! Alan, no, NO!"
"Alan! Alan! Where are you! Help!"
"No! Alan! Help me!"
"Alan!"
"No! No! Aaah!"
"Stay away from me!"
"No! Oh no!"
Then Alan enters the cabin as Alice screams while falling.

Each of those lines can be interpreted as either her pleading to Alan for help or to stop attacking her, except the second one. That one seems pretty clear that she isn't struggling with Alan. Of course, if Alan is truly as delusional as I think, his recollection of even these early events may already be twisted. I guess the advantage of a theory that relies on the insanity of the main character makes explaining possible holes in the theory easy...
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I used to play Battletoads on a 2" B&W TV w/ no sound & a half broken controller in 10' of snow uphill both ways! You kids don't know what hard is!
#4crazyman931Posted 1/6/2012 9:17:36 AM
I like your second theory but I don't really agree with the whole "Alan killed Alice than wrote a story to take blame away from him" idea. I remember in the game Alan saying that he had written in something: a sort of "fail-safe" for his involvement in the story since he subconsciously knew there was something wrong (the Darkness was using him). I think this fail-safe was Zane himself. If he had been creating a "backdoor" to save himself since the beginning, it would make sense that Zane would be that backdoor since he is at least alluded to throughout the story.
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#5mrbakasanPosted 1/6/2012 1:53:45 PM
As someone who JUST played this game and all of this is still fresh in my mind, I am really intrigued by the these theories. I'm still in the process of trying to piece it all together myself and haven't really developed any of my own theories about the game, but I think this is very interesting and is giving something to think about.
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#6dantheengineer(Topic Creator)Posted 1/6/2012 11:59:30 PM
crazyman931 posted...
I remember in the game Alan saying that he had written in something: a sort of "fail-safe" for his involvement in the story since he subconsciously knew there was something wrong (the Darkness was using him). I think this fail-safe was Zane himself.

I think you are correct that Zane is the fail-safe, but not quite in the way you mean. I don't think he was written in to the story as a way for Alan to escape the nightmare, but more as a way to keep him in it forever. If Alan ever wrote himself into a hole, he could use Zane to save him, his own personal Deus Ex Machina to swoop in and save the day when there is no other way out.

On another topic, thinking about my last post about the taking of Alice I think that after the first fight with Alice is when my theorized events begin. By the time we hear Alice screaming for help, she is already dead and we are seeing her death in the way that Alan is trying to rewrite.

And on a side note, I'm in Chapter 4 now and a few things I have noticed that don't necessarily have anything to do with my theory, but that I hadn't noticed before:

A page of the manuscript states that Emil (Hartman) was Zane's Assistant.

Tor and Odin call the Dark Witch "Baba Yaga", which has been discussed as the origin of Barbera Jagger on these boards.
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I used to play Battletoads on a 2" B&W TV w/ no sound & a half broken controller in 10' of snow uphill both ways! You kids don't know what hard is!
#7dantheengineer(Topic Creator)Posted 1/7/2012 3:16:23 AM
Interesting quote from an episode of Night Springs at Andersons' farm (Dream of Dreams):

"I'm a dream. You're a dream. The guy in the diving suit is a dream. The girl with the smiles and sunshine, definitely a dream."

I didn't notice a guy in a diving suit in the Night Springs episode, but that obviously refers to Zane in this game.


More on topic, Barbera Jagger to Alan during the flashback to the drowning in Episode 4:

"It's your fault that she is dead. You are guilty. All she wanted to do was to help you write. You killed her."

Jagger then tells Alan that he can change it with the power of the lake. "You can write her back. The story will come true and all will be well again."

So even if all of these events are actually coming true and it isn't all just in Alan's head, there is still a good possibility that Alan killed Alice. Jagger seems to be trying to convince him of this anyway.
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I used to play Battletoads on a 2" B&W TV w/ no sound & a half broken controller in 10' of snow uphill both ways! You kids don't know what hard is!
#8Dark_EpathyPosted 1/8/2012 3:03:25 PM
I disagree, not necessarily about Alice dying (although I think it's possible she could have, although I don't know if it would be possible to resurrect her with the lake's power) but about her cheating.

In the "The Writer," the second DLC episode, Wake sees a pretty authentic, biting dialogue between the imaginary Hartman and the subconscious Wake. The dialogue essentially affirms everything Wake had previously refuted--he was the one who was wrong, the whole thing was a fantasy, etc. Then the imaginary Hartman reveals a recording, supposedly of Alice. In the recording, Alice tears Wake a new one, and he feels it. Wake sees it as a defense mechanism of the Dark Place, but we know that the Dark Place only responds to a person's psyche.

This recording is not real, and I don't think the quote this theory revolves around is, either. I think, instead, they are both manifestations of Wake's own suppressed fears. Even through his drinking and writer's block, he was probably aware of the dissolution of his marriage. He was afraid of losing Alice--to the bottle or another man.

Of course, it's all speculation. I'm really curious as to where American Nightmare will pick up--is Wake still trapped in the Dark Place? I wonder.
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Why are you people so hung up on what's canon or not? - freakazaa
#9dantheengineer(Topic Creator)Posted 1/8/2012 10:34:33 PM
That's another possibility, Dark_Epathy. I think the beauty of this game is that there is no right answer for what is happening. It is extremely well constructed in a way that several different possibilities can be true, but while hinting at all of them it confirms none. As the Steven King quote in the beginning says, the point of a horror story is that it leaves questions unanswered, and those questions should never be answered.

I personally would be disappointed if we suddenly find Alan tied up in a padded room and my theory is proven to be correct. At that point the mystery is gone, and additional playthroughs will be pointless because I know that none of it is real.
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I used to play Battletoads on a 2" B&W TV w/ no sound & a half broken controller in 10' of snow uphill both ways! You kids don't know what hard is!
#10Dark_EpathyPosted 1/9/2012 1:00:59 PM
I've always had disdain for stories that go for those cop-out endings, simply for the sake of suspense. "Oh, hey, the story never happened because he was crazy all along. Twist!"

It's really very cheap. Like you said, it destroys any point in revisiting the story, since there's no tension or anything at stake. I don't think that'll be the case with Alan Wake and its sequel, though--at least, I hope.
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~@_@~
Why are you people so hung up on what's canon or not? - freakazaa