Decrypting & Dehairing Frictional’s ‘A Machine For Pigs’

It's only sleeping

Breaking news, if you were reading the internet a couple of days ago. Following a brief ARG, a tiny, hopeful squeak of detail has emerged for the next game from Amnesia devs Frictional. Frankly anything is more useful than ‘it might be set in China, possibly‘, but in this case we have a couple of pieces of creepy, bloody concept art and a possible title.

That title? ‘A Machine For Pigs.’ Which sounds ever so slightly like a change of direction for George R.R. Martin’s reader-mocking novels, but also appears to refer directly to the abbatoir-esque scenes in the concept art. But is that the real name, or just a codename? I’ve done some research into animal-slaughtering equipment and come up with some EXCITING ALTERNATIVES.

‘Top Abbattoir Products’, according to this equipment-flogging site (which also boasts that its ‘meat stimulator reduces meat hanging times by up to 50%!’ Ugh ugh ugh):

Loading Bay Lift Arm
Low Voltage Stimulators
Hoists Bleed & Transfer
Tripe Processing Machinery
Hock De-Hairing & Cleaning
Tripe Cleaning Machines
Quarter Dropper for Loadbay
Stunning Equipment Electric
Meat Bi-Rail & Rollers
Hide Strippers / Pullers
Pig De-Hairing Machines
Rollers, Bi-Rail, Tubular & Flat Bar
Trolleys & Carriers

I see only one explicit mention of pigs in there, and that’s for a de-hairing machine. Ugh ugh ugh. A pig de-hairing machine works like this – please note that while this video isn’t particularly gruesome, it does feature a dead animal.

So… Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. But there we have it. The next Frictional game is definitely called ‘De-hairing Machine’, and will be a maudlin tale about preparing bacon. In China. Probably. I’ve got all the answers, me.

One thing that has been declared is that this is due in Fall 2012. ‘Fall’ is what dirty, unwashed colonials who foolishly shunned the loving and not at all greedy or unentitled arms of their mother nation call ‘Autumn.’

Oh yeah, here’s the other piece of concept art:

You can see full-size, uncropped versions of both this and the above by clicking on the lines in the last line of the decoded site here.

The results of the ARG, meanwhile, are being collected in this fan Wiki, which has dredged up multiple strong hints that Dear Esther devs Thechineseroom may be involved with the project. Also dredged up was this spine-troubling line:


And the subsequent de-hairing of pigs, right?


  1. Bhazor says:

    Hopefully this one will be scary all the way through instead of turning hilariously naff in the last third.

    Most unintentionally funny anticlimax ever.

    But I still think Pathologic holds the monopoly on scary videogame slaughterhouses.

    • kastanok says:

      If you’re referring to Amnesia, the last third included the torture chambers. The audio, and the implications suggested by the… implements absolutely did it for me, horror wise.

      Then again, it did end with a dull, squibby boss fight…

    • Outright Villainy says:

      @ kastanok: I think he may be referring to the character that gets introduced near the end (not saying any more than that for spoiler’s sake), who lets face it, was ridiculous. And he never shut up.

      Still, I agree, if someone says they played the choir without getting creeped out they’re lying.

    • kastanok says:

      Ah, yes, him. Slightly comical, even considering the circumstances.

    • goatfeet says:

      In Amnesia, comic relief is a mouthless corpse hanging over a pit of spikes

    • Bhazor says:

      The whole thing petered out to me. First couple of hours, dark, bewildering, trouser worryingly scary but as it went on and the levels became brighter and there was enough room to just run around monsters it became a lot less scary. When Chuckles popped up I giggled. It just lost appeal when it went from basic primal terror (fear of water, fear of pursuit, fear of the dark) and tried to do scares it wasn’t capable of (the torture machines are too clean and obvious, it felt more like a museum) producing.

      The ending boss was just fucking hilarious.

      An old naked man yelling at you while you knock over a vase. LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR!!!!

    • pasdcvbc says:

      I thought the China bits only were pointing toward Dear Esther developer thechineseroom being involved. I didn’t think it was actually alluding to the game taking place in China. link to

  2. Paxmayne says:

    The concept sounds like a load of old Hogwash to me!

    • Bhazor says:

      Really? To me it sounds crackling,

    • Blackcompany says:

      So when it comes to horror and video games, pathologic is hogging the spotlight, eh?

    • westyfield says:

      Pathologic’s games never get boring. I could pig out on them for hours.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      I hope the voicework isn’t as hammy.

    • The Tupper says:

      Ham getting into this pun thread early.

      Edit: DAMN you Stuart – you beat me to the bacon, you swine!

    • Joc says:

      You swines don’t relent, do you. Still, concept art for this has a lot of sty-le.

    • julianbenson says:

      You swines, you’re detracting from the solemnity of the setting.

      Edit: Damn you Joc!

    • Skabooga says:

      It’s just a couple of pieces of concept art. Sow what?

    • Dr. Evanzan says:

      It sounds like an offal concept to me.

    • Ian says:

      We’ve made a right pig’s ear of this and no mistake.

    • McDan says:

      I do hope it’s not too unsowvery, I look forward to finding a bag of milky ways again with this game.

    • Quizboy says:

      I look forward to dehairing this my game of the year.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      I think the concept sounds fine, but with wander-around-with-a-flashlight horror games it’s all in the implementation – it might be great, it might be a bit of a boar.

    • puppybeard says:

      I rasher look forward to seeing a larger porcine of this concept.

    • firetail says:

      Ive got a strong itch for a new survival horror: its starting to need a good scratching

    • jrodman says:

      I wonder how the performance will be. On my old computer amnesia was quite a bit of a porker.

    • anotherman7 says:

      I can’t stand this premise. They should just scrapple it and try again.

  3. kastanok says:

    I withdraw my previous statement.

    THIS makes my day!

    • kastanok says:

      I actually whooped out-loud, Homer Simpson-like, when I read the possible connection with thechineseroom. This can only be improved by Valve throwing money at them.

  4. Anthile says:

    Needs “Hammy! Nooo!” tag.

  5. airtekh says:

    I absolutely loved Amnesia.

    This is a day one purchase for me.

  6. Richie Shoemaker says:

    My wife is insisting I go vegan. After that video I am one step closer.

    • westyfield says:


    • kastanok says:

      Well, it is dead. There are many good reasons to reduce or cut meat intake, but I don’t think a bit of de-hairing of the carcass is one of them.

    • Orija says:

      Heh, that was cute compared to what they show in Earthlings.

    • db1331 says:

      Let me guess, she only stopped putting meat in her mouth AFTER you got married, right?

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      That video is actually the best of possible circumstances. In some cases, the pigs are not fully dead, and suffer through the process of being de-haired while simultaneously drowning. Please, take a moment to appreciate how that would feel.

      Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to say ME MAN ME WANT MEAT

  7. ArtyFishal says:

    I hope this is the title. It’s fantastic!

    • Shazbut says:

      Agreed. I even think they should keep that title even if they have to twist the game slightly to fit it

  8. The Tupper says:

    Mrs The Tupper wants to know where she can buy me one of those de-hairing machines for xmas. Stupid gal doesn’t realise that hairy shoulders are a hallmark of massive virility.

    • kastanok says:

      It’s not the Hair of Samson, Tupper.

    • Sarlix says:

      Mr T. Tupper – even as my nemesis, I take pity on you and your simian like body. It is indecent for a gentleman (even one such as yourself) to go about ladened with such vast sums of body hair.

      May I suggest you take a lime bath, Sir


    • The Tupper says:

      Mister Sarlix (and I use the nominative term only to demonstrate that, even under provocation of the most hunnish variety, a TRUE gentleman never forgoes civility):

      Once again I find my eyes drawn to your tedious attempt at puerile mendacity under a cloak of sagacity. If it were not beneath my status I’d have young Hownslow, my manservant, run over to Hammerbrook’s the Oddmonger and purchase the contraption second to the left in his display case.

      I find it unlikely that one of your calibre should be unfamiliar with the implement of which I speak, therefore my intention (should you persist in your flagrant attempt to incite my ill-humour) is clear.

      Good day, Sir.


    • Sarlix says:


      I am afraid you have only further revealed your simian like nature by resorting to such lowbrow threats, albeit cleverly worded ones. I suspect that you have made employment of someone much more learned than yourself to compose the above text. As I doubt to think that, you yourself, are able to pen such linguistic delights as ‘mendacity & sagacity’

      I have just been conversing with my esteemed college Sir Crispin Bathwater of Oxbridge, over a glass of sherry. After hearing about your ‘ape like’ hair growth he made the splendid suggestion that you would make a fine exhibit in his Natural History Museum. Our monocles popped in laughter at the thought of a ‘Simia-simiae-Tupper’ plaque hanging in the halls of academia.

      If you are so inclined I shall have my manservant Barryman send a box around for you in the morning.

      Good Evening, Sir.


    • The Tupper says:

      Mr Sarlix:

      It may pleasure you to note that the size of my lexicological perspicacity is famed from the shores of the New World to the Celestial homelands in the Orient. Why, Mrs The Tupper was commending me on its formidable breadth whilst in our chambers only the other night!

      As for your ‘esteemed’ colleague, it may intrigue you to discover that, as a teen, Sir Crispin was my very own fag whilst boarding at The Other Place – whereupon I gained his measure comprehensively.

      Let us simply say that his nickname, “Crispy Bathwater”, was earned in whole.



    • Sarlix says:


      /signed SS

    • Shazbut says:

      Well done, both. A most stimulating discourse

  9. Ignorant Texan says:

    ‘Fall’ is what dirty, unwashed colonials who foolishly shunned the loving and not at all greedy or unentitled arms of their mother nation call ‘Autumn.’

    While I enjoy the feeble invective thrown our way by a gout, port and unearned privilege burdened citizen of an antediluvian ‘mother’ country, I do worry that perhaps you might be ill, Mr Meer? Seeing as you neglected to add ‘unkempt’, ‘uneducated’, ‘violent’, and ‘atavistic’ in your list of our failings.

    Oh, and new stuff from Frictional? Yay!

  10. The Infamous Woodchuck says:

    that chair looked evil

  11. Buttonbasher says:

    I thought the China bits only were pointing toward Dear Esther developer thechineseroom being involved. I didn’t think it was actually alluding to the game taking place in China.

  12. Jackablade says:

    I’d like to see them make the protagonist of their grim-dark horror game a pig. Not a mutant pig man or some anthropomorphised character. Just a regular pig trying to escape from a nightmarish abattoir.

    • Navagon says:

      Now that definitely sounds like the kind of game we could expect from a Chinese Room / Frictional collaboration.

    • Voon says:

      That, I want to see. And play

      But, it looks to me like it’s set in an abbattoir, which slaughters more than just pigs.

  13. yutt says:

    A Machine For Pigs is my favorite NIN album.

  14. Craig Stern says:

    Um, are those members of the KKK in that last picture?

    • puppybeard says:

      Nah, I think it’s two blood dots on the glass, over a smudge (hanging carcass?) on the far side.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      The infamous Krazy Killer Kumquats? Yeah, they get around.

    • Craig Stern says:

      Oh, okay. That makes sense. I was starting to suspect that this would be a game in which you try to elude the Klan after they take over your Chinese meat-packing facility.

  15. Cryptoshrimp says:

    This line reminds me ever so slightly of The Machine Stops. Am I the only one?
    Also, pretty good idea to base a game about, I’d say. Loved Amnesia more for its story than scary-factor, though, so I hope they keep that up.

  16. Gap Gen says:

    I guess as far as horror goes, the industrialised storage of conscious beings and their conversion into little pieces is pretty good material, especially given how widespread it is in reality. After all, Psychonauts’ Meat Circus seems to have tramatised more people than most other videogame levels.

  17. TheGroovyMule says:

    Well… it could be scary if you’re playing as the pig

  18. Heinrich says:

    Am I the only one just getting some weird “Sorry for not letting people link directly to us” text whenever I try to open these images?

    Also, more Amnesia? Yes, please.

  19. CoffeeScamp says:

    TheChineseRoom were also responsible for Korsakovia, which was all about a madman who thinks the world is ending..

    If these guys are teaming up with Frictional.. I think it’s going to be as horrible as it’s sounding :)

    • dethtoll says:

      Interesting choice of words.

    • kastanok says:

      A man who cannot remember anything, nor form new memories, who thought that clawing out his own eyes, wrapping his hands in copper and shoving them in a TV would be the sensible thing to do in light of reality as he saw it.


  20. Navagon says:

    All I know for sure is that I’m very interested in this one.

  21. Qwartz says:

    A Machine for Pigs anagrams to “a chafing promise”, which is… worrisome. :P

  22. dethtoll says:

    Man, I hope that chineseroom thing is just a red herring.

    I could honestly be interested in this, provided they don’t just pull more Lovecraftian bullshit out of their asses yet again.

  23. kastanok says:

    I’m surprised not to see Pathologic mentioned already in relation to these concept images. I’m getting shivers just thinking of the exterior of the abbatoir, of the hanging sacks of rotting meat swinging from the broken-down pulley ropes, of the tales of black milk and…

    You know what, it’s too damned late in the night to dwell on such things.

  24. Davie says:

    Interestingly, this is the first time I’ve read the alt text on an article image and gone “HAHAHA–oh god.” You creeped me right out, Mr. Meer. Well done.

  25. Nyobshtayn says:

    Deary me. That thar does not look like a pig…


  26. Thermal Ions says:

    I’m betting on a story about a mass murderer / secret alien invasion which uses a pig abattoir to process the local population for pleasure / food. You have to infiltrate the facility armed with nothing more than your wits, a half empty box of matches, a ticket stub from the local cinema and a ball of pocket fluff, subsequently saving your loved ones/random strangers, and exposing the operation.