Posts Tagged ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’

!: Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Seven Year Humble Bundle

We’re seven years old! (Actually, we were seven years old last month, but we’ve never been much for punctuality.) And so by way of celebration we’ve curated the latest weekly Humble Bundle, and that means we’ve chosen some of our most beloved indie games from the past seven years for the Pay What You Want sale. An esoteric bunch, but so very beautiful, all. If only there were room for all the delights of those many wonderful years. As ever, some of the money goes to charity, too: we chose EFF and Medecins Sans Frontieres. Find out more, below, or simply click over the the bundle itself.

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Don’t Stay Away From The Trapdoor, An Amnesia Mod

Don't you open that trapdoor. You're a fool if you dare...

Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions, where nobody goes, stands an ancient castle, according to an old British legend. Deep within this dank and uninviting place, lives Jonathan Burke, overworked servant of “the thing upstairs.” But that’s nothing compared to the horrors that lurk beneath the trap door, for there is always something down there, in the dark, waiting to come out.

Don’t you download that Trapdoor. You’re a fool if you dare. Stay away from that trapdoor, ’cause there’s something down there…

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SOMA’s Grip On YouTube Screamers, The Future Of Horror

I played Amnesia: The Dark Descent spiritual/ghooooostual successor SOMA, and it didn’t really do it for me. That said, Frictional creative director Thomas Grip’s plans for the wetter-is-deader stroll into the maw of madness are quite interesting, though whether he can pull it all off remains to be seen. Today we continue on from our previous discussion, pushing doggedly forward into Grip’s plan for possibly the longest build-up (five hours!) in horror gaming history, YouTube culture’s effect on horror, procedurally generated scares and why they both aid and mortally wound true terror, modern horror’s over-reliance on samey settings and tropes, and where Grip sees the genre heading in the future.

Agree or disagree, the man has some extremely illuminating perspectives, and you can’t fault him for wanting to break away from the played-out influence of his own previous game. It’s all below.

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SOMA’s Grip On BioShock Comparisons, Indie Influences

SOMA didn’t scare the scuba suit off me, but I did find a creeping sort of potential in its soaked-to-the-bone corridors. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2 this ain’t. Or at least, it’s not aiming to be. Currently, it still feels a lot like a slower-paced, less-monster-packed Amnesia in a different (though still very traditionally survival-horror-y) setting, but Frictional creative director Thomas Grip has big plans. I spoke with him about how he hopes to evolve the game, inevitable comparisons to the Big Daddy of gaming’s small undersea pond, BioShock, why simple monster AI is better than more sophisticated options, the mundanity of death, and how SOMA’s been pretty profoundly influenced by indie mega-hits like Dear Esther and Gone Home.

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Hands-On Impressions: Amnesia Follow-Up SOMA

It’s not that I feel like SOMA is poorly made. On the contrary: for a demo of a game that’s at least a year out, the Amnesia spiritual successor practically sparkles beneath its grimy, moss-encrusted shell. I just feel like, despite a very unexpected setting, I’ve been here before. Crept through these halls, turned these nobs, let these tidal waves of otherworldly sound crash into me as I press ever onward, slightly on-edge but no worse for the wear.

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So Much Clanky, Creepy Foreboding In This SOMA Trailer

SOMA-uch? No, that doesn't work at all

Everyone knows that the scariest things aren’t actually monsters themselves. It’s the horrors lurking in our own runaway imaginations, creatures of such impossible (and impossibly specific) phobia that our only recourse is to head for the hills long before we ever see them. That’s the power of a great horror environment. SOMA‘s Upsilon research facility, for instance, creaks, groans, and whines quietly to itself like a child who’s afraid of the dark. From there, your mind does the heavy lifting. Watch below, and then read about Amnesia: The Dark Descent developer Frictional’s core design pillars for its sci-fi madhouse.

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Level With Me, Thomas Grip

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.

Thomas Grip is creative director of Frictional Games, based in Helsingborg, Sweden. They’re known mostly for the Penumbra (a first person horror game series) and Amnesia (another first person horror game series), and they’re currently working on another first person horror game called SOMA (a first person horror game). Astute readers may sense a pattern.
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