A Machine For Pigs: More Horror Through Better Visuals

A Machine For Pigs: More Horror Through Better Visuals

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Dan Pinchbeck of thechineseroom says improved visuals in Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs will make the game a disturbing, unsettling and flat-out horrifying experience.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent was a big hit for Frictional Games, so it was a bit surprising to learn that the job of making a sequel had been handed to thechineseroom, the studio behind the haunting Dear Esther. On the other hand, Dear Esther is solid proof that thechineseroom knows a thing or two about minimalist approaches to emotional manipulation, which makes it a pretty good candidate for the job.

It's a job the studio is taking seriously, according to Pinchbeck, who told Gamasutra that anything less frightening than the original is a failure. To help make that happen, the studio is putting a big effort into improving the new game's visual fidelity. "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," he said.

Another priority is to make the world disturbingly believable, even as players explore and dig deeper into it. "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," he said. "But you're so hooked. Inside, you're peeling away like bodies from a pile and you just can't stop yourself."

The original Amnesia was much like that; it had its share of monster closet moments but was more effective for the sense of slow-burning horror it imparted over the course of the entire game. The more you learned, the worse it got, which is really quite an achievement for a videogame. If A Machine For Pigs can duplicate that experience or, God forbid, make it worse, I suspect we'll all come to regret it.

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What I got from that is that the sequel is not being made from the folks who made Amnesia.

Rats.

Console release? Please?

And who really needs sleep, right?

Kinda sad the people behind Amnesia aren't making the sequel, but I think this will be fine.

Zhukov:
What I got from that is that the sequel is not being made from the folks who made Amnesia.

Rats.

From what I'm getting, it's a joint effort.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amnesia:_A_Machine_for_Pigs

Hopefully they'll be able to pull off their goals. Something can be said about a game so strikingly beautiful that you want to explore but can't bring yourself to do so because you're afraid of what you might find.

I cant understand why a small dev studio would offload its biggest IP to another studio.

Its not I dont have faith in thechineseroom to make a nice game, its more I think the original guys had a fine grasp on what made Amnesia so scary... it wasnt the graphics ( the monster models were actually rather ... plain ), it was the audio and the setting, the masterfull hand on the pacing.
I hope to hell this isnt a case of trying to make it visually scary, and end up skimping on the rest... a horror more like Dead Space 2, which is more closet jumping than actual horror, I got lots of frights but didnt really feel any horror.

... all those little details, the walker who would follow you about...on the floor above you, and always that little delay before he started to walk... was it your footsteps ? A monsters ? Let me stop and listen, oh shit that last step wasnt mine.
The water stage, cant even see the model but scares the crap out many players ( me included ).

On the bright side I am sure Frictional games will keep an eye on the game and lend some guidance if needed.

Fiz_The_Toaster:
And who really needs sleep, right?

Kinda sad the people behind Amnesia aren't making the sequel, but I think this will be fine.

Yeah, my curiosity - for now, since we really don't have much to go on with the game - leans towards what Frictional's role in all this. Are they taking a completely hands-off approach, working on something else while thechineseroom develops a sequel for them? Is it at least on some level a collaborative effort?

Frankly, if it's the former, Dear Esther is really not a game to judge a developer's abilities by, because, well, it contains practically no gameplay.

Veldt Falsetto:
Console release? Please?

BLASPHEMY!

Hammeroj:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
And who really needs sleep, right?

Kinda sad the people behind Amnesia aren't making the sequel, but I think this will be fine.

Yeah, my curiosity - for now, since we really don't have much to go on with the game - leans towards what Frictional's role in all this. Are they taking a completely hands-off approach, working on something else while thechineseroom develops a sequel for them? Is it at least on some level a collaborative effort?

Frankly, if it's the former, Dear Esther is really not a game to judge a developer's abilities by, because, well, it contains practically no gameplay.

All I can think of is that it's probably a collaborative effort since I would think Frictional would want their sequel to be on par with the previous games. That's the only thing I can think of that would make sense anyways since while Dear Ester looked great it practically has no gameplay, so hopefully this will be just fine.

Fiz_The_Toaster:
All I can think of is that it's probably a collaborative effort since I would think Frictional would want their sequel to be on par with the previous games. That's the only thing I can think of that would make sense anyways since while Dear Ester looked great it practically has no gameplay, so hopefully this will be just fine.

It better be. This talk of Frictional "producing" the game is mighty suspect.

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To be honest I find something disturbing and contridictory about a gaming company famed for it's minimalist approach (as was stated) being brought in to do a game all about detail and immersion. It seems like picking the worst possible guys for the job.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that they do detsailed graphics well, but their big claim to fame right now "Dear Esther" is more of a "look, don't touch" experience and a walking tour that pretty much sells itself on nonsense that is just nonsense while seeming like it makes some kind of themeatic sense. In this kind of game it all does need to (eventually) fit together, and those enviroments need to be things you can interact with on a level they just don't seem to have experience with.

That said I'm all for Horror games, so I'll probably give it a shot, but really I wasn't all that impressed by "Amnesia" even if I did see the potential there. If anything it was guilty of trying too hard, in forcing some of the ways you had to deal with monsters and whatever. I never really got far with it due to the disconnected between seeing some things I could do to change the scenario, and then not being able to do them. I understand why they didn't want combat or weapons for example, and I get it, but at the same time in that situation one of the very first things I would have done was improvise one and there was tons of potential or that with the stuff you see around. Not to mention that the monsters don't seem especially bright or perceptive. To an extent I saw some bits as dealing with a brain damaged bear (bit, strong, dumb, without the same level of sense), which just happened to leave some truely fantastic openings to set traps or otherwise leave it trapped in places where it wouldn't bother me.

I'm just saying, when I feel my character suffers from severe mental retardation in addition to Amnesia, it breaks my immersion.

Of course I also understand this kind of thing is hard to write for a reason.

I don't know what to make of this yet, I'll hold out until there's some more actual content.

Though I do have to say that thechineseroom is an awesome name for a game company. Love that thought experiment.

Shut up and take my money!

238U

Well, it's not like I didn't need new nightmares anyway. The old ones were getting predictable. "Oooh, you're chasing me into a bottle, and sealing it, and filling it with swirling sands, and when I am just about to suffocate the grains become ants the systematically seek to devour everything that is! Oh no!" Yawn. Let's get some new ones.

Therumancer:
That said I'm all for Horror games, so I'll probably give it a shot, but really I wasn't all that impressed by "Amnesia" even if I did see the potential there. If anything it was guilty of trying too hard, in forcing some of the ways you had to deal with monsters and whatever. I never really got far with it due to the disconnected between seeing some things I could do to change the scenario, and then not being able to do them. I understand why they didn't want combat or weapons for example, and I get it, but at the same time in that situation one of the very first things I would have done was improvise one and there was tons of potential or that with the stuff you see around. Not to mention that the monsters don't seem especially bright or perceptive. To an extent I saw some bits as dealing with a brain damaged bear (bit, strong, dumb, without the same level of sense), which just happened to leave some truely fantastic openings to set traps or otherwise leave it trapped in places where it wouldn't bother me.

I'm just saying, when I feel my character suffers from severe mental retardation in addition to Amnesia, it breaks my immersion.

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I personally loved Amnesia because it did things right. To paraphrase Yahtzee, Amnesia simply gives you the sandpaper, you're one one vigorously massaging your undercarriage with it.

Seeing that the arthouse failures that made Dear Esther is making the sequel, though, makes me all sorts of sad.

Ympulse:
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I personally loved Amnesia because it did things right. To paraphrase Yahtzee, Amnesia simply gives you the sandpaper, you're one one vigorously massaging your undercarriage with it.

Seeing that the arthouse failures that made Dear Esther is making the sequel, though, makes me all sorts of sad.

Yes, The Chinese Room are all wrong for this kind of project, on that we can both agree.

On Amnesia, don't get me wrong, it did do a lot of things right, it's just that the things it did wrong were able to break that immersions for me. It has nothing to do with me being a badass (cute picture though), and you'd be correct that a heroic monster stomper wouldn't have fit within the setting. However, I'd be very surprised if it never occured to you on any level that a few times you were in a perfect position to say light one of the baddies on fire with lamp oil, drop really heavy things on them, or rig something with some of the ropes and chains. Heck a few times I thought "well, I think something is basically over there, it would be great to close this door and then move this stuff in front of it".

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my problem was the same as games with forced stealth sections that don't make sense. I felt the game mechanics, in trying to be scary, forced things in a way that wound up being counter productive. I was concerned more because of my inabillity to react in any meaningful manner, rather than a lot of the situations themselves.

"Dear Esther is solid proof that thechineseroom knows a thing or two about minimalist approaches to emotional manipulation, which makes it a pretty good candidate for the job."

Yeah, but you take that with a grain of salt.

PCgamer: Dubbed an 'interactive ghost story', Dear Esther is never overtly scary. Instead, it builds atmosphere and an emotional weight.

I think whether thechineseroom can pull this off isn't something that can simply be answered with a yes or no. In the end the results will have to speak for themselves.

"-the studio is putting a big effort into improving the new game's visual fidelity. "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," he said."

I'm just going to leave this here and hope Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs will be something positively talked about long after it's release and not evidence for another "Beautiful image Scary" discussion.

This is a big task. I hope the gamble pays off.

Therumancer:

I'm just saying, when I feel my character suffers from severe mental retardation in addition to Amnesia, it breaks my immersion.

imagine you're so scared you're going insane, and now picture how clearly you'd be thinking. it's not character in the game that's breaking immersion, it's you! you're playing the game from a detached perspective instead of pretending you're actually there.

Good luck!

Now if only the next Silent Hill was made by the original Amnesia team.

poodlenoodles:

Therumancer:

I'm just saying, when I feel my character suffers from severe mental retardation in addition to Amnesia, it breaks my immersion.

imagine you're so scared you're going insane, and now picture how clearly you'd be thinking. it's not character in the game that's breaking immersion, it's you! you're playing the game from a detached perspective instead of pretending you're actually there.

Not so much because Amnesia does involve puzzles that require a degree of logic and focus, which wouldn't be possible if you project that much dysfunction onto the character. Basically if my reasoning can be applied to those parts of the game, then they would also be applicable to other aspects of the game.

It's based on the industrial-revolution-era meat packing industry. They would have to be complete idiots to fail at making it scary.

Interesting.

From what I understood about the appeal of the first Amnesia, a lot of the horror came about in what you couldn't see. While I didn't find the game all too frightening myself, I did think that it was impressive how they managed to have a monster that you most likely never got a good look at.

For a horror game, that's something they did right.

Tamrin:
I think whether thechineseroom can pull this off isn't something that can simply be answered with a yes or no. In the end the results will have to speak for themselves.

Absolutely true, although I think that's the case with any studio. What makes tcr an ideal candidate is that Dear Esther was in many ways very, very similar to Amnesia, but directed toward a different purpose. Sound, visuals, a slow-burning story and a masterful use of what isn't there to manipulate players are common elements in both games that were used to achieve different (although also similar, in some ways) reactions.

I say all this as a big fan of Dear Esther but if anyone beside Frictional is going to do the job, I'm glad it's them and I'm really looking forward to what they can do with it.

Therumancer:

poodlenoodles:

Therumancer:

I'm just saying, when I feel my character suffers from severe mental retardation in addition to Amnesia, it breaks my immersion.

imagine you're so scared you're going insane, and now picture how clearly you'd be thinking. it's not character in the game that's breaking immersion, it's you! you're playing the game from a detached perspective instead of pretending you're actually there.

Not so much because Amnesia does involve puzzles that require a degree of logic and focus, which wouldn't be possible if you project that much dysfunction onto the character. Basically if my reasoning can be applied to those parts of the game, then they would also be applicable to other aspects of the game.

i haven't played so you might be right. i played part of penumbra and lost interest when i got some other games, so i don't really know much about the games.

I. Cannot. WAIT!

I don't think the fact frictional isn't completely in charge of the game is going to hurt it too much. They are still there, still watching over the whole thing. And if it is scarier than the last, sleep takes a back seat for a while.

You know who we need to make the sequel to our much beloved horror game? The people who made the world's most pretentious hiking/suicide simulator. That's an awesome idea.

Edit: also, this:

JoesshittyOs:

From what I understood about the appeal of the first Amnesia, a lot of the horror came about in what you couldn't see.

 

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