The primary character, a best-selling novelist who is vacationing with his wife in Bright Falls while wrestling with his writer's block. She disappears abruptly, and Alan comes to in a wrecked car in the wilderness, missing a week's time, and searching for clues as to what happened to his wife. The subsequent events of the game were written out by him in a novel titled "Departure," which is being brought to life by the magic of Cauldron Lake. The Dark Presence touched him and affected his mind, convincing him to write a horror story that would allow him to bring his wife back, but would also give the Presence enough power to spread over the entire world. Realizing this and breaking free of its control, he rewrote the story so that he was the protagonist and could fight the Presence and save his wife.
Action Survivor: He's literally just a novelist who spent a bit of time on the gun range and wears a quite dapper tweed jacket. This is generally shown in his performance in-game; Wake can't run very far without getting tired, he can't take very many hits, and he's not an exceptionally good shot. If the enemy is more than twenty or thirty paces away, he's not likely to hit them, even with the hunting rifle.
The Alcoholic: Mainly due to the many parties thrown in the wake of his most recent novel. The Anderson brothers' moonshine had that extra special kick to it.
Happily Married: He and Alice do fight occasionally, but Alan wouldn't keep looking for her with such determination if they didn't have a good marriage.
Help Yourself In The Future: Just about every useful item in the game was written into the plot by Alan himself. Lampshaded in his internal monologues when noting that flash grenades aren't exactly standard electrician equipment.
Took a Level in Badass: Twofold in American Nightmare. He's much better at working with the plans he's written into being as well as his own instincts. However, he's also altered the genre of the story from Surreal Horror to a surreal form of Action, allowing himself access to bigger guns.
Took a Level in Kindness: In American Nightmare, Alan is far more patient with the other survivors than he was during his time in Bright Falls. He notes that, given the sheer insanity of the challenges he faced in the original game and beyond, there's next to nothing that could really get his blood pressure up anymore.
Tsundere: Amusingly, Wake is this toward Barry, in a not-romantic way of course. He'll will always throw a jab or two when he talks about him, but if Barry happens to be in danger, he'll drop everything to go after him.
The Un-Smile: Alan mentions that he has never been capable of smiling in a convincing way.
Weapon of Choice: Light and noise to combat the darkness, in the form of a flashlight and guns.
To the point that he remarks in a page that he "feels naked without them."
Voiced by: Brett Madden
Live-Action Model: Jonna Järvenpää
Alan's wife, who helps him write and manage his novels, and is vacationing with him at Bright Falls. Taken hostage by the Dark Presence, which is forcing Alan to write "Departure" and free it.
Dead All Along: As revealed to Alan by Dr. Hartman. DON'T BELIEVE HIS LIES
Distressed Damsel: Her kidnapping is what sets Alan on his journey through Bright Falls.
The Muse: Apparently Discussed after Alan rescues her and Deconstructed—It eventually relegated her to a backseat position in their relationship, with his writing taking priority, which is part of why their relationship decayed. Funnily enough, he ends up being her muse of sorts when she makes a movie about him.
Alan's agent and best friend, who rushes to Bright Falls when things go down. Initially skeptical of what's happening, he rapidly catches on and begins to help Alan. By the end of the game, he's loaded with flares, Christmas light body armor, and a headlamp to fight the Taken.
Acrofatic: His girth doesn't seem to slow him down even when a school bus is flung at him. He's not exactly obese, though. Just a bit on the heavy side, and his jacket makes him look bigger than he really is.
The Alan Wake files reveals that he's out and about, and was suing the writer of said file for awhile until he was persuaded to stop.
American Nightmare reveals that he's now a manager in the music industry, and the Old Gods of Asgard are one of his clients. He also keeps in touch with Sheriff Breaker, and co-handles Alan's works with Alice.
Voiced by: Jason Muzzo
The "Kidnapper" who contacts Alan in Episode 2 and is the antagonist throughout Episode 3, claiming to have his wife and offering her in exchange for the manuscript pages of Departure. Is quite dimwitted and has aggression issues.Actually working for Dr. Hartman.
Badass Normal: Does remarkably well fending off the Taken. Indeed, he's well-versed with their weaknesses, and is entirely unintimidated with fighting them (so much so that he has absolutely no problems setting up his meetings with Alan to take place in the middle of the night deep in the Taken-infested woods.)
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Alan quickly deduces that he is the kidnapper and repeatedly asks for his gun. Mott simply replies that things are going to be done his way and refuses to let go of his only weapon.
You Have Failed Me: One manuscript page reveals that Hartman was incredibly frustrated that Mott gave Alan only 2 days to finish his manuscript instead of the full week Alan wanted. He doesn't get killed until the Dark Presence comes along.
Voiced by: Jeff Gurner
A park ranger who rents out cabins outside Bright Falls.Gets snatched by the Dark Presence and turned into a Taken in Episode 2.
The waitress at the diner in Bright Falls, and one of Alan's biggest fans. Is touched by the Dark Presence and used to drug Alan and Barry in Episode 3, and doesn't quite recover.At the end of the game, she is implied to be the next Lady of the Light.
And I Must Scream: When she is possessed by The Dark Presence and unable to control her actions.
Head of the local Bright Falls sheriff's office, who is investigating Alice's disappearance and eventually joins Alan in fighting the Dark Presence.Is at least partially aware of the weirdness around Cauldron Lake, which is why she readily works with Alan.
Action Girl: Accompanies Alan and Barry while armed with a shotgun.
In the Alan Wake Files, set after the game, she's talked to the author on a few things, but doesn't talk about what happened during the game or why there's a lot of damage and missing people in Bright Falls.
American Nightmare implies she's still sheriff, and states that she and Barry still keep in touch.
Voiced by: Linda Cook
One of Bright falls' residents, who is obsessed with making sure all the lights in the town are working properly.Was a friend of Thomas Zane before he vanished, and became the Lady of Light, devoted to safeguarding the town, Zane's memory and manuscript, and the Clicker.
The Atoner: She protects Bright Falls in remembrance of Tom.
Crazy-Prepared: Guess who left all of those safe havens and supply caches for Alan to conveniently find.
Not to mention the Well-Lit Room (which is the absolute end all of crazy, but is completely necessary and useful) and her underground tunnel (lit the whole way) that goes right to it.
Two brothers who formed a heavy metal band in the '70's on their farm near Cauldron Lake, and renamed themselves as Norse gods to further their image of reborn deities. Now mentally-unstable old men who live in Dr. Hartman's clinic, but occasionally sneak off to raise hell in town or get some moonshine.Have encountered and fought against the Dark Presence in the past, and were aware of both the Lady of Light and Thomas Zane, and their significance in fighting the Dark Presence.
The Power of Rock: Literally. "The Poet and The Muse" explains how to defeat the Dark Presence, while "Children of the Elder God" details how to fight the Presence and the Taken. And considering the nature of Cauldron Lake, those songs may be the entire reason why the Taken are vulnerable to light in the first place.
Invoked again in American Nightmare with their new single, Balance Slays The Demon. As you can probably guess, its lyrics detail how to defeat Mr. Scratch. And a reversed message saying "It will happen again, in another town. A town, called Ordinary."
The Dark Presence
Voiced by: Kate Weiman (Barbara Jagger)
The central antagonist of the game, a hostile, aggressive supernatural entity that exists within (or under, or is trapped by?) Cauldron Lake, which creates the Taken. In Alan Wake, its main "face" is that of its avatar, the "Scratching Hag" Barbara Jagger. Its power is limited by what is written or created by the artists around Cauldron Lake. The Presence was originally encountered by Thomas Zane, and convinced him to bring back his deceased love Barbara Jagger - but since Zane didn't specify how she came back, the Presence took over her body and used her as an avatar.
Author Avatar: It makes stories come to life, it directs the flow of the plot, and it ultimately is the reason anything in the game happened. Draw your own conclusions.
Blue and Orange Morality: The developer commentary track remarks that the Dark Presence is an utterly alien being that simply doesn't understand human morality, or even human behavior, which is why it lets Wake get away with a lot of the stuff he does. However, it does understand humans well enough to manipulate Wake by holding Alice hostage, as well as to lure him into a trap using Rose.
Villainous Breakdown: Over the course of the last two chapters, it/she becomes more and more desperate to stop, and then outright kill Wake, frustrated by the many narrow misses the storyline is forcing it into. It builds up to increasing amounts of enemies and poltergeists, disruption and destruction of the environment, scouring the bottom of Cauldron Lake for wreckage to rain upon Wake, and finally a huge tornado with Jagger at its center. All throughout this, she spouts weak, ineffectual threats and insults that only serve to indicate that, at least to the extent that the concept applies to it, the Dark Presence is scared.
A poet and apparently bestselling author who lived in and around Cauldron Lake in the 1960's, and was in love with a woman named Barbara Jagger. When Barbara drowned, the Dark Presence convinced him to bring her back using his poetry, but he didn't explain how she returned, allowing the Dark Presence to put in its own explanation and take over her body. In response, Thomas Zane chose to write himself and his actions entirely out of existence, thereby containing the Dark Presence. He also wrote in a loophole that allowed Cynthia Weaver to remember him and what had happened, allowing her to become the Lady of Light.Later on, when Alan Wake arrived at Cauldron Lake, Alan wrote Thomas Zane into his novel as a guide, taking on the form of a man in a diving/space suit, who would help Alan fight the Dark Presence.
The Obi-Wan: He acts as Alan's guide and aids him, though indirectly. He is also considered as the Obi-Wan to Alan's Anakin. Becomes much more direct in "The Signal" and "The Writer" DLC, which are almost completely Zane trying to guide Alan through the Dark Place and teach him to fight its influence.
Voiced by: R.J. Allison
A retired cop who is now the host of a late night radio program. Alan first meets him on the boat into town where he asks him to stop by later for an interview.In chapter 3, Alan does stop by the station, but he's not there for an interview...
Cool Old Guy: It may not be obvious the first time you meet him, but he is definately more awesome then he first appears.
Nice Guy: He is very pleasant to everyone he meets. The exception is Agent Nightingale, whose violent and reckless attitude outright offends him.
Voiced by: Gary Swanson
Owns a gas station and the cabin that Alan and Alice rented for their vacation.He ends up becoming the first elite taken.
A doctor who owns a clinic reserved for artists near Cauldron Lake. He's also the one who convinced Alice to bring Alan to Bright Falls.As it turns out, he intended to use Alan to his own ends, but meets a gruesome fate before any of his plans can come to fruition.
Big Bad Ensemble: With the Dark Presence and Agent Nightingale, but never meets the latter.
Unexplained Recovery: An official post-game comic shows that he's alive and well after his encounter with the Dark Presence. It's never explained why he was spared.
Voiced by: Matthew Porretta
Live-Action Model/Portrayal: Ilkka Villi
The antagonist of Alan Wake's American Nightmare. Originating from the Dark Place, he is a new avatar for the Dark Presence and the embodiment of all negative stories and loose rumours ever told about Alan, making him a maniacal, flamboyant, sadistic serial killer. Capable of travelling freely between the Dark Place and the real world, he finds delight in threatening Alan with taking over his life and killing Alice and constantly sharing his monstrous deeds with him.
Attention Whore: Is pretty clear about this right from the start. In his own words:
"But the difference between you and me...? I'm not afraid to be the center of attention."
Ax-Crazy: Unlike the calm, collected Barbara Jagger, this guy's a loudmouth psychopath in love with himself.
Evil Is Petty: In the Super Effective Sales Trailer, he goes to Remedy's offices, kills people with a sledgehammer, stuffs their bodies in a freezer, and enslaves Sam Lake to write for him. He also steals candy, rides a scooter around in the halls, flips off a picture of Alan, and enslaves a potted plant to write for him.
Hidden Depths: One video has him oddly subdued but clearly agitated. He opens up to Alan, since they're so much alike being dopplegangers, and mentions that the fact of his existence is extremely disturbing to himself. He tries several times to ask Alan for help and to work together, but he literally can't get the words out. For whatever reason, Mr. Scratch was trying to reach out to Alan.
Humanoid Abomination: He might be a new avatar for the Dark Presence. When Barbara Jagger drowned, it took on her appearance and was able to move about the world much like Mr. Scratch. She was also known as "The Scratching Hag" around Bright Falls.
Kick the Dog: Good lord, he's basically a dog-kicking machine. Just when you think he's finally topped himself, Alan turns on another TV and Mr. Scratch finds some new way to get under Alan's (as well as the player's) skin.
Knife Nut: He doesn't believe that he can truly "connect" with people by using bullets.
Large Ham: You wouldn't think it, given he shares a voice/mo-cap actor with the rather down-to-earth Alan Wake. However, it's clear Ilkka Villi enjoyed himself as Mr. Scratch. A lot.
Non-Action Big Bad: For all his boasts and taunts, all he ever bothers to do is send random Taken after Alan rather than try to deal with him directly. Even his victims are all either tied up and helpless or taken by surprise.
Rage Against the Author: Promotional material depicts him killing Sam Lake in one video, and enslaving him in another after going on a killing spree throughout Remedy's offices.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: In American Nightmare, he's pretty heavily implied to have taken advantage of the girl at the Drive-In, using his darkness to render her more pliable than she would have been normally.
Weaksauce Weakness: As it turns out, he can't withstand the light much better than the mooks he sends after you. Small motel lights and things like that are apparently fine, but anything close to a floodlight and he's toast.
The Unpronounceable: Any attempt Alan makes to say his name out loud results in a static noise.
Voiced by: Christina Evangelista
A female mechanic you meet in American Nightmare. She's also into new age stuff.
Back from the Dead: At least twice. She's killed by the Darkness at the end of Act 1 and 2, although she starts remembering her deaths in Act 2, and in 3 she and Alan figure out how to finally prevent it by stopping the Taken from knocking out her garage's fuse box.
Dirty Coward: She thinks of herself as one, as she ran away when Mr. Scratch began killing Michael to gain access to the Mount Redtooth Observatory and didn't even call the police. Alan assures her that this isn't the case.
Genre Savvy: Although all the women become this by the third loop, Emma catches on the quickest and starts setting up things as early as the second loop. Lampshaded when Alan rescues her the third time.
Emma: Is it bad that this time I went, "Oh, he's gonna be right along to save my ass!"?
Nerds Are Sexy: And she's got the glasses and a sexy British accent to go with it.
Stiff Upper Lip: Her response to a mass of Taken swarming throughout the observatory on the last visit? "I really wish they would stop flagrantly breaking the laws of physics in my observatory. It's rather rude."
Unfazed Everyman: She takes time looping best out of all three women (possibly because she doesn't have anything bad happen to her) and actually expresses some minor interest in letting it continue so she can study it.
Voiced by: Desi Sanchez
Serena is a film maker and a supposed friend of Alice Wake, encountered in American Nightmare. Since Alice thought Alan was dead, with the help of Serena, they made a film based on Alan for the annual Night Springs Visual Art Show Film Festival.
Brain Washed: Touched by the Darkness via Mr. Scratch, and becomes a total slut. You can snap her out of it by turning on the lights to her building, which cures her instantly. As she retains full memory of her actions, she feels disgusted afterwards and thanks Alan for not taking advantage of her.
Although helping her is optional in Acts 2 and 3 for some reason.
Meganekko: Just like the the doctor Alan visited before her... maybe one of the developers has a thing for this trope.
Mind Rape: Being touched by the Darkness leaves her very disturbed and worried about going crazy.
Not So Different: Like Alan Wake (and Weaver, and Rose) she was "touched" by the Dark Presence and then cured by light. As with Wake, her perception of reality is subtly altered afterwards.
Video Game Caring Potential: Curing her of the Dark Presence is completely optional the second and third time around, but is still a nice thing to do.
Voiced by: Larry Kenney
Radio host based in Night Springs. He's pretty much AN's version of Pat Maine.