Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2012 - 08:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Indie developers like their pork chops.
The sequel to the acclaimed Amnesia: The Dark Descent has been in development by The Chinese Room in lieu of the original developers, Frictional Games. The Chinese Room is an independent game studio with close ties to the University of Portsmouth. Their first project, Dear Esther, was more of an interactive art venture than a game per se -- but exploring dim corners of an art medium is obviously something to admire.
While the original developers are still shrouding their new project, A Machine For Pigs has just received a trailer in time for Halloween.
The developers make their intentions known: they want to make you scream. They are requesting for users to send in WAVs, OGGs, or MP3s of their freaking out to firstname.lastname@example.org presumably as audio samples for the game itself.
Given that the setting is centered on late-Victorian era slaughterhouses I can let my mind wander about where the voices will be used specifically -- but I would rather not.
The game was originally set to be already released just this past October but the release date was bumped up into early 2013 for last-minute polishing. It is done when it is done, right?
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | September 11, 2012 - 02:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Amnesia, piracy, DRM
Frictional Games, the developers behind the Penumbra and Amnesia franchises, commented on the two years since the release of The Dark Descent through their company blog. Frictional has finally released the development budget for Amnesia which rings in at just $360,000 USD which is less than a tenth of their revenue. They also have not even thought about piracy in over a year: they are paid in sales not piracy figures – and paid they have been.
It is so nice when common sense prevails.
As I have discussed in my “Video Games Do Not Want to Be Art?” column, there are some developer-publishers who find their content intrinsically valuable and aim for long-term steady sales. Frictional Games appears to be one of those companies. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is possibly the most terrifying game in existence without compromising on their highly engaging story.
They also have not even thought about – let alone get frightened of – piracy in over a year.
Or maybe after making Amnesia these Swedes are not scared by anything lurking in shadows.
There is room for both blockbuster titles as well as enduring content with intrinsic value. Over the course of the last two years Amnesia has sold just shy of 1.4 million units. Amnesia currently – 2 years after its release – sees a steady 10,000 units sold each month excluding bumps in sales due to discounts. This revenue is over ten-fold larger than the $360,000 development budget.
The developer kept the topic of piracy brief with a simple statement:
It has been over a year since we even thought about piracy. With sales as good as above we cannot really see this as an issue worth more than two lines in this post, so screw it.
That is literally all that has been written about piracy.
Whenever I discuss piracy I feel the need to preface my statements with, “The solution is not to condone piracy.” I do not condone piracy nor has Frictional Games. If you wish to acquire a game – pay for it. If you do not wish to acquire a game – ignore it. Still, from the developer or publisher’s point of view, do not concern yourselves with piracy figures. Piracy figures are horrifically inaccurate and – most importantly – not a measurement that pays you one way or the other.
Worry about what will increase your sales – such as adding mod tools or design to sell your product indefinitely – because that will be what puts the roof over your head.
If you lose customers because of your paranoia – companies like Frictional will be there. Good on them.
Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2012 - 04:00 AM | Scott Michaud
(Update: Yep -- it has been confirmed. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Check it out at The Escapist)
Frictional Games have been releasing PC games since 2006 for Windows, the Mac, and Linux. Each game up to this point was survival horror themed and within the puzzle adventure genre. The most popular and definitely most scary installment was their most recent Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It is often considered to be the most terrifying game of all time. What could be next?
He definitely was not having a Funday
For a few days, Frictional Games created an alternate reality game which slowly doles out clues to the next project. What we know is that it the title is planned to be out in fall of this year; it will very likely have A Machine for Pigs either as a title or subtitle; and will also very likely be related to Amnesia. Clues suggest that the full title will be Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.
Why do I have a feeling this game will make Minecraft players cry?
Also interesting is that Frictional Games has discussed new features in their engine for their upcoming game. The new engine, which the upcoming game is expected to use, will support terrain as well as global sunlight with shadows. They are not terribly impressive features by any stretch of the imagination, but they were specifically developed for the engine to be used with the new game. Why is there such a need for outdoor lighting and terrain?