Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Developer Wants You to Have a “Complete Meltdown”
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, the sequel to the pants-poopingly frightening Amnesia horror game, has
pig big shoes to fill, and the heat is on Thechineseroom, the developer that was handed the series’ reigns from Frictional Games.
Thechineseroom creative director Dan Pinchbeck discussed with Gamasutra
his plans for the upcoming sequel, explaining his design philosophy and the level of fear he hopes to inspire in players.
“The thing is, if we don’t frighten people as much as the original, then we’ve failed. But now we have to frighten people that know what to expect. The big design challenge is: How do we protect the things that make Amnesia great, and how do we evolve everything else to make a really fresh experience?”
The trick, he believes, is to identify what players associate with the original Amnesia, and to find ways to subvert those expectations and deliver a different — but just as chilling — experience.
“With this new game, we want to create a world that is so rich and dramatic and beautiful that the player is constantly torn between wanting to go around the corner to see what’s there and not wanting to go around the corner because they’re frightened of what’s there.”
One problem with horror games — and movies — is that, in poor horror, the protagonist often goes forward into more danger when logic dictates to stay put. In a movie, we yell at the screen and call the hero an idiot. In a game, we feel railroaded into making an unwise decision. The design philosophy Pinchbeck just described would add great internal conflict in the player.
Pinchbeck went on to describe the level of fear he hopes to inspire:
“With Amnesia, it’s not just about a superficial level of fear, it’s about feeling that something has burrowed into your head and is just scratching its nails at you. But you’re so hooked. Inside, you’re peeling away like bodies from a pile and you just can’t stop yourself.
“We want this game to be absolutely skin-crawlingly, heart-shatteringly, and nerve-jarringly terrifying — that’s the target. Everything is geared around that. Just turning people to complete ice and making them have complete meltdowns.”
Will the sequel be able to fulfill that design goal and live up to its predecessor?