Ilkka Villi discusses playing Alan Wake

A character with many personas.

Alan Wake and Mr Door in Herald of Darkness music video from Alan Wake 2.

After 13 long years, Alan Wake has returned and his flashlight is brighter than ever. Ilkka Villi, who stars as Alan in Alan Wake 2 and its predecessor, recently had an interview with Wassup Conversations where he discussed his experiences playing the writer.

Villi explains how he landed the role over a decade ago. He claims he was already familiar with Remedy in 2005, and he went for an audition for the studio. Not long after, he got a call from Sam Lake and found himself as the protagonist of Alan Wake.

It’s no easy feat playing Alan, as separate people perform the character’s voice and motion capture. While Villi handles the motion capture, Matthew Poretta voices the writer. Achieving this requires fine-tuned coordination, as Villi has to ensure his performance matches the voice acting.

Alan isn’t the only character Villi has played in the franchise. He reveals that he also did motion capture for one of the Anderson brothers and even a few female NPCs in the first game. In Alan Wake 2, he also plays Scratch and Thomas Zane.

When discussing Alan’s personality, Villi points out how the character can be quite angry and abrasive at times. Alan “really gets a punishment” by being trapped in the Dark Place, though Villi admires how the character never gives up despite his monumental challenges.

Alan Wake 2 update progression-halting bugs alex casey
Screenshot by Destructoid.

Working with Sam Lake

Villi also discusses working with the creative genius Sam Lake. He reveals how it’s a pleasure working with Lake because of how full of ideas he is. Despite this, he’s always open to suggestions and he always wants to know how others feel about ideas. Thanks to the use of his face for Max Payne and Alex Casey, Lake has become a recognizable figure in gaming but Villi claims that the writer remains humble despite the fame.

Lake plays a large role in Alan Wake 2 where he plays Casey and sometimes even himself. Villi compliments Lake’s acting skills, though he also hilariously describes how the writer was later reluctant to perform scenes he had written for himself.

Since its launch, Alan Wake 2 has been celebrated by critics, and it managed to snag 8 The Game Awards nominations. Though Alan may be in the Dark Place, it’s clear that Remedy’s future is looking bright.

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Smangaliso Simelane
Staff Writer - Smangaliso Simelane is a writer with a passion for all things related to video games. He has been writing about video games since 2020.
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