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Amnesia: The Dark Descent almost featured guns and Jesus

(Image credit: The Chinese Room)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent launched a decade ago, helping to define both modern survival horror and the YouTube genre of endlessly shrieking while playing a game. To mark the anniversary, developer Frictional Games has shared "lesser known facts" about it, teasing a slightly different vision of Amnesia. 

The Grunt, with its sagging skin and melted face, is likely the first thing that your mind conjures up when you think about Amnesia, but the original monster designs were for plant-human hybrids with charming names like Puking Baby-Plant and Flower-man. Enjoy some deeply unpleasant sketches of these plant friends below. 

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During his misadventures in Brennenburg Castle, Amnesia's forgetful protagonist bumps into Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, based on the real 15th century occultist. Frictional wove a bit of history into its horror, and there were a few historical figures it considered putting in the story. Alchemists like Nicolas Flamel, Geber and the Count of St. Germain aren't surprising, but I wasn't expecting Jesus to be among them. I guess turning water into wine is alchemy.

Amnesia uses a lot of tricks to freak you out, but it's your powerlessness that really ramps up the terror. Monsters get defanged a bit when you realise you can just put some bullets in them and then get back to what you were doing, but Amnesia's can't be confronted—they're just too dang scary. The absence of weapons and the need to hide seem fundamental to Amnesia now, but it turns out that a flintlock pistol was among the list of planned features. With ammo scarcity I think Frictional could have maintained a lot of what made the game great, but I'm glad it ended up on the cutting room floor. 

Other planned features included sanity restoring potions, bags of coins, inventory potion mixing, bombs that can blow up walls, and something unexpectedly whimsical: trampolines. That's the only one I'm sorry that never made it into the final game. What better way to regain some sanity than with a good bounce? 

Frictional also cut some environments, including a striking greenhouse—perhaps originally conceived when the studio was still considering plant monsters—and a grisly dissection lab. 

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Back in 2010, we called it a triumph of atmosphere over genre convention and awarded it an 88 in our Amnesia: The Dark Descent review. And ten years on, Frictional is still working on the series. Amnesia: Rebirth is the third game set in the world of Amnesia, but the second developed by Frictional. Set nearly a century after the first game, it follows a new amnesiac, Tasi Trianon, as she stumbles through the Algerian desert. 

Amnesia: Rebirth is expected to appear this autumn, but in the meantime here's some more Amnesia: The Dark Descent concept art. 

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Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.