Once we first began with recreation creation at Frictional Video games, we knew we wished to make immersive horror experiences. We threw in the whole lot we might consider: puzzles, physics, fight, creepy dream sequences – you identify it. These of you who performed Penumbra: Overture will keep in mind these components nicely. Now, as we strategy the launch of Amnesia: The Bunker – coming to PS4 on June 6 – we wished to have a look again at how we’ve additional refined our system and strategy to video games.

The actual breakthrough arrived with Amnesia: The Darkish Descent. We began specializing in key elements that led to a way more partaking expertise. We lower away fight and all different elements that didn’t straight gasoline the horror expertise. This led to gamers noticing extra about their atmosphere and changing into extra deeply engaged. A easy sound impact, as an example, might set off intense reactions, inflicting gamers to run and conceal. Gamers turn into immersed with the happenings in a approach we hadn’t seen earlier than.

One of many solely comparatively secure locations in Amnesia: The Bunker – the administration workplace. Test the map rigorously, planning your subsequent transfer is essential to your survival.

This revelation confirmed us that we might use such methods to propel the narrative in new methods. Few video games on the time had been doing this, and we felt we might nonetheless push the boundaries. That is how SOMA was born. We requested ourselves: As a substitute of scaring gamers, might you evoke comparable immersion in additional advanced matters? Within the case of SOMA it turned: are you able to make them query the character of consciousness? 5 years of labor later – seems you possibly can.

In Amnesia: The Bunker, the revolver is used to shoot off a padlock, showcasing how it may be used as greater than only a weapon.

We then aimed to develop our studio right into a two-project operation, splitting our crew in two. One group labored on Amnesia: Rebirth, the place we sought to intertwine gameplay and narrative extra tightly, introducing mechanics (like simulating a stomach rub) that carried important story implications. We had been pleased with the end result however felt we might have pushed additional. A transparent signal of this was that, as soon as gamers knew the sport, they might strategy every part in a predictable method. The gameplay merely wasn’t pushing far sufficient to actually empower the participant.

The lighter. An important merchandise used to craft varied instruments, reminiscent of a torch that can be utilized to fend off rats.

With Rebirth launched, and our different mission – let’s name it the Tremendous Secret Mission – nonetheless underway, Fredrik Olsson, who was the inventive lead on Rebirth, proposed a easy concept: Why not have one monster, give the participant a gun, and unleash them in an open world? This was a smaller, extra targeted mission we might end earlier than the Tremendous Secret Mission. The Bunker was born.

This idea diverged considerably from our latest video games, but when we hint again to our origins with Penumbra: Overture, it’s not that far off. In Overture, gamers tackled monsters in a freeform method, utilizing weapons, setting traps, and igniting canisters. The Bunker goals to do the identical, however to take it up a notch.

Idea of the revolver, first usable firearm ever in a recreation by Frictional Video games.

At the same time when Bunker was conceived, it was changing into clear that the Tremendous Secret mission wasn’t on the right track. Issues felt too linear, not open-end sufficient. Impressed by The Bunker, we determined to steer our different mission in the direction of a extra open-ended, gameplay-focused course as nicely.

If you run out of choices, utilizing brute drive to realize entry often is the solely selection. Cautious although, it makes a variety of noise and may appeal to undesirable consideration.

As a narrative-focused firm, we attempt to create tales by which the participant looks like an lively participant – it’s a core a part of our DNA. The widespread thread in all our video games is the exploration of one thing (be it the character of the thoughts or the expertise of being pregnant) from an lively, first-person perspective. The Bunker wanted to uphold this ethos, regardless of the mission’s restricted time and sources. We went with an easier, extra simple narrative: “It’s WWI. You’re a soldier trapped in a bunker, and a lethal beast lurks within the shadows. Escape!” All the recreation is devoted to telling this story as successfully as potential. Whereas not as advanced as earlier entries, it’s nonetheless very a lot a story-driven expertise.

This marks a brand new trajectory for us as an organization. Or maybe extra precisely, it’s us revisiting an older path and exploring what we will do with it. Beginning with Amnesia, we started stripping away gameplay components to see how far we might push that strategy. Now, we’re bringing programs, mechanics, and participant company to the forefront. We’re curious to see how far we will take this. The Bunker is an intriguing first step, being smaller in scope and aiming for a really particular expertise.

Regardless of being small and particular doesn’t imply it was a breeze to create – fairly the other. A number of fascinating challenges arose throughout improvement. For example, the open-ended nature of the sport implies that there are all the time a number of methods to get via doorways. In our earlier video games, passing via a door could be rigorously scripted with one, or sometimes two, particular options obtainable. 

In The Bunker, we merely endow doorways with sure properties, present some instruments, after which let the participant determine all of it out. In a recreation the place we wish to curate a sure holistic expertise, that is fairly tough. There are specific high-level notes, and this should happen no matter how the participant chooses to play. Options embrace making these beats extra system-based (e.g., adjustments in monster conduct) or establishing obstacles in such a approach that there’s all the time a method to overcome them, it doesn’t matter what sources the participant has.

Will probably be fascinating to see how gamers strategy the sport. We’ve already realized quite a few classes that we’re incorporating into the subsequent mission, and much more insights will emerge as we launch this recreation into the wild. We’re looking forward to you all to check out The Bunker, not simply as a brand new entry but additionally as step one in a contemporary course for us as a studio.


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