Alan Wake has returned to Steam, with other digital platforms like the Xbox Store soon to follow. The game, which features a soundtrack of licensed tunes, was pulled from sale on online storefronts last summer as a result of those music licenses expiring.
Now, a little over a year later, Remedy Entertainment says the game is headed back to online stores, starting with Steam, thanks to publisher Microsoft’s renegotiation of those music licenses.
You often hear of games like Alan Wake being removed from sale as the contracts that populated the game with licensed music expire, but hearing one of those delisted games return from the grave is a much rarer tale. In some cases, developers are able to avoid the issue by patching out the offending tracks or, in the case of Remedy’s Quantum Break, introducing a toggleable option for licensed music in the menu. But in the case of many games, including Alan Wake, patching songs out of the game when those licenses expire is easier said than done.
While Alan Wake is back online for the foreseeable future, the game is notably an outlier as far as delisted titles go. Gamasutra blogger Liz Surette published a blog after Alan Wake's initial delisting that explores the legal side of navigating licensed music devs curious about this topic should give a read for more information.