It’s a sign of a good horror game when the mere act of holding down the W key to progress through the next hallway requires you to remind yourself “You’re not going to die. It’s okay. This isn’t real.” Such is the case with Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. But unlike its predecessor, the scares aren’t what make it so memorable and worth your time.
The Chinese Room
Frictional's Jens Nilsson has posted a status update on their horror sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Nilsson says the team have now received the final version of the game from The Chinese Room - the Dear Esther devs who have been handling the bulk of development duties. Frictional still need to tweak, test and translate the game, and expect to be ready for release by Q2 2013. That means we're due a flood of definitely not exaggerated YouTube reaction Let's Plays at some point this summer.
It’s a busy and varied field this year: exquisitely picked soundtracks tussle for our affection with gorgeous bespoke scores, covering every genre from bustling chiptune beats to orchestral epics. Dishonored's sparse but potent use of the sea-shanty was fittingly iconic, while Jesper Kyd’s Darksiders 2 score swept from Celtic pipes to Mongolian throat singing, and Spec Ops: The Line’s astutely selected records patched both Deep Purple and Verdi into its eclectic, psychedelic ambience.
As reported earlier, The Chinese Room have released the latest trailer for Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, the follow-up to Frictional Games’ deeply unsettling Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Set in Victorian London, some sixty years after the events of the first game, Pigs isn’t a straight continuation of that story, but a wholly new tale set in the same universe. That doesn’t mean it won’t be looking to recapture the same sense of giddy terror that the Dark Descent induced in its hapless, cringing players, however. We got in touch with The Chinese Room’s boss-man and creator of Dear Esther, Dan Pinchbeck, to discover how the scares shake down.
Horror sequel, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, has a new and suitably unheimlich trailer, showing off the game's gloomy Victorian locales and the terrible contraptions which lie beneath them. A Machine For Pigs is the follow-up to Frictional Games' indie classic, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, though this time development is helmed by The Chinese Room, makers of Dear Esther. It's not a straight continuation from the last Amnesia game, either - the story takes place sixty years later, on the eve of the 20th century, and swaps the dank confines of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle for the smoggy streets of London.
The Chinese Room's Dan Pinchbeck also has a special request to make of viewers: "What we really need are some screams," he says. "We want fans to record themselves screaming, puking and freaking out. Tape it all, send it through to us, and we'll sift through it and the best stuff will end up going into a background mix for one of the levels."
Thomas Grip, head of Amnesia: the Dark Descent creators Frictional games, thinks games need to be pushing open more ominous doors to explore new corners of the dilapidated mansion that is the human psyche. "Take just about any big game release and the core concepts of that game is something that a ten-year old can enjoy," he said in an interview with Beefjack. "This means that just about any games that I can enjoy today would also have been enjoyed by my ten-year-old self."
The studio behind Amnesia, Frictional Games, have been leading fans on the Frictional forums along a breadcrumb trail of clues over the last few days, a trail that leads to this announcement for A Machine of Pigs, due out in "FALL TWO THOUSAND TWELVE." The page also features the above bit of concept art, the last of a series of hints that suggests Dear Esther developers The Chinese Room may have some involvement with the project.
You wander the cliffs, caves and sheep-pens of a windswept Hebridean island. A single voice reads out fragments of letters, and through these you gain snatches of information about the island and other people who took a walk similar to yours.
Their stories bleed into each other: the travel writer who visited the island in pursuit of a legendary hermit. The shepherd stranded here without friends or family, whose situation reflects the hermit’s. Dear Esther is about heavy subjects: isolation and tragedy tie the island’s visitors together.