Let’s just get this out of the way right now: Licensing issues suck for fans. They’ve prevented many beloved films from being put onto Blu-Ray by companies like Scream Factory and Arrow Films, prevented classic games from being released on to services like Steam or GOG.com, or in the case of expiring rights, means that soon fans will no longer be able to enjoy these films/games in the future.
Such is the case for Remedy Entertainment’s Alan Wake, which is now entering its final days of being available for purchase on both Steam and GOG.com. The game’s side story, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, is not affected, but is still being given a discount for fans. The issue stems from expiring music rights, which if you’ve played the game, know how integral the music is to the gameplay. Songs like David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, as well as songs from the in-game fictional band Old Gods of Asgard, performed by the real-life band Poets of the Fall, are the amongst the sticking points.
Other games that have licensed music have had problems in the past with expiring rights, such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. While it would be simple (in the case of Vice City) to simply patch out the music, Remedy instead is looking to renew those rights. But until then, the game will have to be sunsetted until the matter is sorted out. If you haven’t played the game, which is masterful in its storytelling, you can grab on Steam for $3 USD, or spring for the Collector’s Edition or get the whole series for under $5 USD. Over on GOG.com, you can grab the games for a simliar price, but with added goodies like making-of videos, developer diaries, supplementary comics and more.