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Amnesia: The Collection Releasing... After Halloween


Jack Gardner

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To the dismay of many, the newly announced Amnesia: The Collection for PlayStation 4 will not be putting the fear of mind-shattering darkness into players until after the spookiest day of the year. However, for the first time ever Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, and Justine will be playable on console . PlayStation 4 owners will be able to experience the game that I once called "the best way to paint your pants brown" on November 22. 

 

 

The announcement on the PlayStation blog was made by Thomas Grip himself, the creative director at Frictional Games, who proceeded to delve into the history of how Amnesia came to be. The studio was struggling to create a game called Lux Tenebras and had almost run out of funds back in 2009. The vision for Lux Tenebras was "to make a Super Mario version of a horror game; something that could be enjoyed in bite-sized chunks, was replayable, and mostly relied on easily repeatable gameplay mechanics." 

 

Unfortunately, Lux Tenebras wasn't coming together as smoothly as Frictional had predicted. Outside funding ran out in 2009 after two years of working on the project and the studio was looking like it would soon be closing down. Then, a minor miracle changed everything. Frictional Games' niche horror series, Penumbra, went on sale and the studio saw a small influx of cash and fans. The feedback they got from those enamored with their style of scares and additional money inspired some desperate number crunching. Frictional came up with a plan to save the studio. If everyone took a 50% pay cut, they would have one year to make a successful game. 

 

"The trouble was that [Lux Tenebras] just wasn’t very good, explained Grip, "but the recent sale had almost doubled our fan base, and everyone praised the horror aspects of our past titles. It seemed that we knew how to scare people — and more importantly, it was something people wanted more of. Our goal became to make the most frightening game we possibly could."

 

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Taking the assets and framework they had developed for Lux Tenebras, Frictional began cutting away all the elements that got in the way of scaring players. They conjured their knowledge of physics-based object interactions from Penumbra and took away the ability to fight off dangers. They added insanity, sound effects, anything and everything they could think of to induce unease and enhance the sensation of horror. 

 

One year later, Frictional Games released Amnesia: The Dark Descent and it went viral. Let's Plays latched onto the game and exposed it to millions of people around the world. Frictional didn't just manage to survive; they managed to thrive. The small studio basked in the limelight and used it wisely. They managed to put out a standalone expansion called Justine and worked with The Chinese Room to create a short, unique horror game set in the same universe called Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. Frictional had enough success that they were able to spend over ten times as much money on the studio's follow up, Soma

 

Amnesia: The Collection might not release until almost a month after Halloween, but the game series that might very well be the contender for scariest of all time should certainly be on your radar if a game hasn't made you shiver alone in the dark. 

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