In all of horror, the true terror often lies in threats of things that might have been more than what really is. A jump scare that’s just a gust of wind or a monster that’s actually a hallucination, you know the kind. Here’s a truly frightening prospect then: a version of Amnesia: The Dark Descent with some very different details. Frictional Games celebrated the game’s 10th anniversary by sharing some lesser-known ideas for the game as it might have been. Some of them are a real trip.
Game development is an extremely iterative process, so it’s no wonder developers are often wary of sharing things that didn’t make the cut. What if players are disappointed? Look at these two environments that didn’t survive production. I don’t know that I’ll mourn the loss of the Dissection Lab, but the Greenhouse looks quite neat. Oh, except that Amnesia was going to at one point feature awful human-plant hybrid monsters like a “puking baby-plant” and “flower-man”. Nevermind, I’m okay with never having visited the Greenhouse.
For a decade-old game that’s still scary today, other roads not taken are easier to look back on with a shrug and a laugh rather than remorse.
Outside of any better explanation, some of the other cut features from The Dark Descent truly are laughable. Although it might have made sense for historical chemists and alchemists like Nicolas Flamel or Geber to find their way into Amnesia’s story of dark occult experiments in place of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Frictional considered another option. Apparently Jesus was a possibility at one point.
I can also understand why Frictional would have considered bombs for exploding walls. That could have played into the chemistry bits of the game. Same goes for potions that would have restored Daniel’s sanity. I would’ve literally killed (inside the game) for a cure from the maddening darkness. But trampolines? Frictional, you’re pulling my leg. I don’t even dare speculate on the potential use for a trampoline.
You can find a few other choice details on Frictional’s Twitter account including books and other games used as inspiration and a presentation for Amnesia when it was still called Horror Cabinet. I think we can all agree that Amnesia is catchier.
Almost makes you wonder what off-the-wall ideas have already been cut from Frictional’s next psychological thriller game. Amnesia: Rebirth will be the next of the series, this time set in the Algerian desert starring a woman named Tasi.