Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

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Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Amnesiaamachineforpigscoverart.jpg
Developer(s)The Chinese Room
Publisher(s)Frictional Games
Designer(s)Peter Howell[1]
Dan Pinchbeck[2]
Artist(s)Wesley Tack (Lead artist)[3]
Writer(s)Dan Pinchbeck[4]
Composer(s)Jessica Curry[2]
EngineHPL Engine 2[4]
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
Release date(s)10 September 2013
Genre(s)Survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player
DistributionDownload
 
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Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Amnesiaamachineforpigscoverart.jpg
Developer(s)The Chinese Room
Publisher(s)Frictional Games
Designer(s)Peter Howell[1]
Dan Pinchbeck[2]
Artist(s)Wesley Tack (Lead artist)[3]
Writer(s)Dan Pinchbeck[4]
Composer(s)Jessica Curry[2]
EngineHPL Engine 2[4]
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
Release date(s)10 September 2013
Genre(s)Survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player
DistributionDownload

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a survival horror video game developed by The Chinese Room and published by Frictional Games. The game is an indirect sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, developed and produced by Frictional Games. While set in the same universe as the previous game, it features an entirely new cast of characters and time setting.[4] The game became available to pre-order on 16 August 2013, and was released on 10 September 2013.

Plot[edit]

The game features several interlocking storylines. Some take place in the past, some in the present, and some are overtly real while some may be imagined.[5] Set in London on New Year's Eve, 1899,[6] the game's protagonist is Oswald Mandus, a wealthy industrialist and butcher. Upon the beginning of the game, he awakens from a fever that has unknowingly lasted for several months, after returning from a "disastrous" expedition to Mexico. Throughout the game, he hears the voices of his sons, Edwin and Enoch, calling for him as they lead him through the different areas of the game.

Mandus receives a call on the telephone from "the Engineer", who tells Mandus that Edwin and Enoch have been trapped far below them, in the "Machine" which Mandus created beneath his house. Even worse, the Machine has been sabotaged, putting his sons in danger. The Engineer tasks Mandus with clearing the floodwaters and bringing the Machine back online, providing ongoing guidance through telephones throughout the facility. Mandus is opposed in this tasks by the Manpigs, deformed swine-like monstrosities that patrol the depths he descends through.

Mandus eventually reactivates the Machine, but the Engineer betrays him, taking control of the Machine and unleashing Manpigs out into the streets of London to round up unsuspecting victims to feed itself with. Mandus regains his memory, recalling the recent past: after returning from Mexico, Mandus was consumed with obsession over a vision of the future from "the egg," hinted to be an Orb, in which both of his children are killed at the Battle of the Somme. Driven mad by the vision, Mandus decided that he could not allow it to come to pass, and he built the Machine to create a godlike being via mass ritual human sacrifice, to save humanity from its own carnage. He then killed Edwin and Enoch himself to spare their fate at the Somme.

Now remembering everything, Mandus vows to finish what he started by destroying the Machine once and for all. Despite the pleas of the Engineer, who believes the world would be better off if the Machine is allowed to consume it, Mandus succeeds in recreating most of the sabotage. He then reaches the inner chamber, in which dwells the Engineer - himself a deranged fragment of Mandus' soul. Mandus sacrifices himself to the Machine, putting an end to both it and the Engineer, and ending the horrors above.

Characters[edit]

Gameplay[edit]

The game is a survival horror game played from a first-person perspective.[4] Players explore the environments using a lantern, with diary entries and notes providing information on the lost memory of the title character. Some elements of The Dark Descent have been removed, while new elements have been added.[4] One of the reasons for this is to provide a fresh gameplay experience to veteran players of The Dark Descent.[4] The inventory has been removed,[7][8] along with the oil and tinderboxes.[9] Most of the puzzles that occur in the game are based on physically interacting with the environment because of this change. The sanity mechanic of the first game has been removed as well, meaning that the darkness and looking at the creatures no longer causes any drawbacks. Health regenerates whenever a player is damaged after a certain period of time.

The game's level design has been touted as "significantly different" from that of The Dark Descent, with larger areas and outdoor environments included. AI was also adjusted to ensure players are unable to predict enemy behavior based on their experiences with the original game. However, the core of the game remains the same as in The Dark Descent, so as not to disappoint fans who want more of what they loved in the original.[5]

Development[edit]

"How come a game meant for Halloween 2012 has been delayed for so long? Originally we thought it would be a short, experimental game set in the universe of Amnesia, but The Chinese Room had a vision that was bigger than that. As their work progressed, the potential for a much greater project emerged. What we ended up with is no longer what we had first imagined, but a fully fledged Amnesia game. A different kind of Amnesia, but definitely not a short experiment."

– Frictional Games on the delay of the game.[10]

In 2010, after the release of The Dark Descent, Frictional Games wanted to further the Amnesia franchise, but had no time for it. Later, they met Dan Pinchbeck of The Chinese Room at GDC Europe 2011, where the plan for the game began to form.[4][9] It was originally intended by The Chinese Room to be a small mod, but it was expanded to a larger scale project when "the two companies realized what could be achieved with a larger game."[9]

Development for the game began in December 2011 at The Chinese Room, while Frictional Games was producing and publishing the title.[4]

The game was originally set to release before Halloween 2012, but was later delayed to early 2013 due to overwhelming response and to meet the expectations. In February 2013 Frictional Games announced a status update about the game in which they announced they would release the game in Q2 2013.[10]

In late May 2013, Jens Nilsson, the co-founder of Frictional Games, stated in a forum post that: "We know we will not make Q2 (2013), we also know when the game will be ready for launch. We have not set the exact day yet. You can however make good use of the weather outside this summer and look forward to gaming with the piggies as the summer comes to an end."[11] Dan Pinchbeck stated, "Frictional's take is, release it when it's done."[9]

In August 2013, The Chinese Room confirmed on their Twitter feed that the final release date for the game was 10 September 2013.[12] The game was available to pre-order since 16 August.[13][14][15]

Marketing[edit]

Initially code-named "gameB" by The Chinese Room,[16] the announcement of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs was preceded by a viral marketing and alternate reality game campaign that began when Frictional Games updated their website Next Frictional Game,[17] which has prior been used to announce the first installment, in early 2012. The website featured a heavily blurred image, the Amnesia logo and a caption reading "Something is emerging...".[18][19]

The blurred image was hyperlinked to Google Maps with the search field set as "China".[18][19] The website was later updated with a slightly less blurred image, and hyperlinked to Google Maps with the search field set as "Boreray."[20] It was updated for a second time, with a non-blurred image (a piece of concept art), redirecting to Google Maps with the search field set as 502 2nd Avenue in Seattle.[21] The three hyperlinks were hints towards The Chinese Room's involvement in the game (a previous game by The Chinese Room, Dear Esther, was set on an Hebridean island like Boreray, and the address in Seattle pointed towards a restaurant named 'The Chinese Room').[4][21]

Examination of the site's source code led fans to a webpage that resembled a computer console with usable commands and a countdown. After the expiration of the countdown, a message on the page read "A machine for pigs coming fall two thousand twelve."[22] The game was formally announced via video game blog Joystiq.[4]

On 14 June 2012, the first teaser trailer was released on Frictional Games' YouTube channel.[23][24] It showed various scenes from the game, from industrial settings to more studious rooms. In the final shot, the character wakes up to the sound of an enemy breaking down a door making pig-like grunts and squeals. An unseen creature enters the room, its shadow is cast against the back wall as the player hides under a set of stairs.

On 31 October 2012, to coincide with Halloween, a second trailer was posted on Frictional Games' YouTube channel.[25][26] Many new features were shown, such as the updated lantern and the new voice for the main character. The trailer also shows the protagonist being confronted by one of the enemies in the game.

On 3 September 2013, Eurogamer released a video of the first 30 minutes of the game.[27]

See also[edit]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings72.53%[28]
Metacritic72/100[29]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Edge7/10[30]
Eurogamer7/10[31]
Game Informer7.75/10[32]
GameSpot8/10[33]
IGN8.3/10[34]
PC Gamer US89/100[35]

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs received mixed to positive reviews from critics. It has an aggregate score of 72.53% on GameRankings[28] and 72/100 on Metacritic.[29]

Eurogamer gave A Machine for Pigs a score of 7 out of 10, noting that it "will absolutely keep you fed".[31] GameSpot gave the game a score of 8 out of 10, saying that while it's a "captivating adventure", it is also "a very dark and disturbing one that touches on depressing real-world themes and doles out psychological horror along with monsters and gore".[33] Edge magazine wrote that "A Machine For Pigs will prove divisive among fans of Frictional Games' much-lauded original".[30]

Jim Rossignol of Rock, Paper, Shotgun noted in his review of A Machine for Pigs that it "is a marvellous, revolting, disturbing sequel to Dark Descent".[36] PC Gamer '​s T.J. Hafer expressed his opinion that A Machine for Pigs adds to the palette of The Dark Descent '​s "helplessness to explore the emotion of fear". Hafer also added that the game "will hold your head underwater until you’re about to drown and then bring you back up for air, again and again".[35]

A writer for Game Informer said that The Chinese Room "proves once again that it has wonderful, affecting stories to tell and can create environments that ooze atmosphere", also adding that while having trouble "giving into the scares", it "will still rattle of the faint of heart". He criticized the game however, saying that it is "hard to remain frightened [...] when you feel like the game is pulling punches".[32]

Jim Sterling of Destructoid said that "if you want to be told a vexingly bizarre story presented with a real sense of style, The Chinese Room may have exactly what you want". He also said that "if you're a massive survival horror fan who wants to be made to scream, however, you probably want to stick your snout in someone else's offal".[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Peter Howell: Games Research & Development Portfolio". Flux-digital.co.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Profile – The Chinese Room". thechineseroom.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs". Wesleytack.com. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j De Matos, Xav (22 February 2012). "Building A Machine for Pigs and expanding the universe of Amnesia". Joystiq. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Denby, Lewis (16 July 2012). "How Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is scarier than its predecessor". BeefJack.com. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Davies, Marsh (31 October 2012). "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs interview: we talk to the devs about their scarefest sequel". PC Gamer. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Kozlovskih, Ivan (29 November 2012). "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Thomas Grip: "Being alone is always good for creating fear!"". Gamestar.ru. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Sinha, Ravi (21 March 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs – Interview With Creative Director, Dan Pinchbeck". Gamingbolt.com. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d Gauntlett, Adam (2 July 2013). "You're at the Heart of A Machine For Pigs". The Escapist. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Nilsson, Jens (19 February 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Status Update". Frictionalgames.com. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Nilsson, Jens (27 May 2013). "RE: Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Discussion Topic Part 2". Frictionalgames.com. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "So, the secret is out – Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is set for...". Twitter. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Kubba, Sinan (16 August 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs sn-out in September". Joystiq. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Hilliard, Kyle (16 August 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Coming Next Month". Game Informer. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Chalk, Andy (16 August 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Arrives Next Month". The Escapist. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "gameB". thechineseroom.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Amnesia – Something is emerging". nextfrictionalgame.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b Pearson, Craig (10 February 2012). "Frictional Teases Next Amnesia". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Mitchell, Richard (10 February 2012). "Frictional teases a new Amnesia project, possibly set in China". Joystiq. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  20. ^ Atlas, Emma (15 February 2012). "Frictional Games Updates Teaser Site With a New Map Location". Pikigeek.com. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Papadopoulos, John (17 February 2012). "Frictional Games’ Next Game hints to Seattle; final artwork revealed". DSOGaming.com. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  22. ^ Priestman, Chris (19 February 2012). "Frictional Games: 'A Machine For Pigs Coming Fall 2012'". Indiegamemag.com. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  23. ^ Sharkey, Mike (15 June 2012). "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Teaser Trailer". GameSpy. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Parrish, Peter (14 June 2012). "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs teaser is full of sunshine". Incgamers.com. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  25. ^ Nichols, Scott (1 November 2012). "'Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs' gets Halloween trailer". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  26. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (31 October 2012). "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs gets a spooky Halloween trailer". Eurogamer. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  27. ^ Welsh, Oli (3 September 2013). "Let's Play Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs". Eurogamer. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  28. ^ a b "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs". GameRankings. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs review". Edge. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  31. ^ a b Smith, Quintin (9 September 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs revie". Eurogamer. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  32. ^ a b Turi, Tim (9 September 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs". Game Informer. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  33. ^ a b "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Review". GameSpot. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  34. ^ Sliva, Marty (10 September 2013). "This Little Piggy Had NIightmares". IGN. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  35. ^ a b Hafer, T.J. (9 September 2013). "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  36. ^ Rossignol, Jim (9 September 2013). "Wot I Think: Amnesia – A Machine For Pigs". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  37. ^ Sterling, Jim (9 September 2013). "That'll do, pig". Destructoid. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 

External links[edit]