Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, a first person survival horror game about immersion, discovery and living through a nightmare.
The year is 1899. Wealthy industrialist Oswald Mandus has returned home from a disastrous expedition to Mexico, which has ended in tragedy. Wracked by fever, haunted by dreams of a dark machine, he recovers consciousness in his own bed, with no idea of how much time has passed since his last memory. As he struggles to his feet, somewhere beneath him, an engine splutters, coughs, roars into life…
For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do?
Dan: We’re a small studio based in Brighton, UK, although our team works remotely across the country. We make first person games with an emphasis on story and player experience. We released our first game, Dear Esther, last year, and it’s done amazingly well – over 800,000 copies now. For the last year we’ve been making Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs…
Do you use the same development process for all of your games?
Dan: I’m not sure we’ve made enough games to answer that! When we made Esther, the studio didn’t really exist, it was just me and Jessica Curry collaborating with Rob Briscoe. We’ve expanded now to 12 people, so it’s been a pretty intense learning curve. Fortunately, we work with really talented, amazing devs and we learn from them all the time. I think we are settling into a core process now, but what I will say is we definitely have is consistent attitude to making games – quality of player experience is everything, and we focus as a studio on treating our team really well and giving them lots of creative freedom.
Which game engines/game making tools do you use for Amnesia ?
Dan: The whole thing was made in FGs HPL2 engine, which we made some adaptations to. So we had to learn the engine within the development timescale, which was pretty intense. Like I said, we’re lucky to have some really, really talented people on board.
Why did you decide to make Amnesia available to Linux platforms?
Dan: That’s a question for Frictional, not us, they made that decision before we came onboard. But I do agree that it’s really important to bring it to Linux. Particularly at the moment, the trend is towards proprietary systems again, and like most developers, I’m instinctively drawn to more open approaches.
Does Linux support require much effort from a developer?
Dan: Depends on the title really. We released Dear Esther on Linux recently and we’ve only had a couple of big reports back. So it’s been relatively low impact. The biggest issue we have is that as a tiny team we had to outsource the ports, so that can slow down getting issues fixed. We’re getting better at that though, and trying to move that support in-house.
What makes Amnesia distinct from other games ?
Dan: Where do you want to start? It’s a proper horror game that is all about the players experience, not just resource management and jump scares. It’s got that slow burning fear, that dread and that sense of immersion that most horror games just lack almost completely. I think Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the greatest horror titles ever released and I just hope we can do justice to its legacy with our sequel!
What news can you reveal about Amnesia 2?
Dan: A linux release date? The release date is down to Frictional, not us. Although I suspect it will be simultaneous release with PC and Mac.
Download Amnesia (1st) Demo
Playable demo for ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’ – ~155MB Linux version