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Amnesia: The Bunker - first-person horror in desolate WW1 bunker - coming March

Morgoth

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Amnesia: The Bunker promises a 'semi-open world' with sandbox-style survival horror


By Andy Chalk
published about 3 hours ago
The next addition to the infamous Amnesia horror series will be out in 2023.

The groundbreaking Amnesia horror series is returning with a brand new game called Amnesia: The Bunker, and this time developer Frictional Games is doing things a little differently. The new game will feature unscripted survival-horror gameplay in a sandbox-style semi-open world, enabling complete control of moment-to-moment decisions, and you'll even get a gun and a flashlight to help smooth things out.

Like its predecessors, Amnesia: The Bunker will be set in the past, but will continue to bring the series a little closer to contemporary times. Players will step into the role of a French soldier trapped inside a dimly-lit First World War bunker, who's being hunted by... something. Naturally, he has no idea why he's there or what's chasing him—only that he needs to escape. I'm sure he'll be fine.

Both The Dark Descent (opens in new tab) and Rebirth (opens in new tab), as well as Frictional's non-Amnesia masterpiece SOMA (opens in new tab), are very linear experiences: You can run and hide from monsters as you see fit, but everyone experiences the same general story progression from start to finish. The Bunker is an attempt to step out of that format and move into something more organic and reactive: It will have "hardly any scripted events," and every puzzle and obstacle in the game will have "multiple available solutions."

"We know we can do story and narrative quite well, especially the more linear versions of it, but we want our players to be able to express themselves more in our games," Amnesia: The Bunker creative lead Fredrik Olsson told PC Gamer. "In The Bunker we’re going all-in survival horror and we focus foremost on making it a really scary experience. To achieve this, we are experimenting with more systemic, dynamic, and emergent gameplay, and trying to give our players a higher sense of agency."

Understandably, the studio is approaching the development of The Bunker in a very different way than it has in its previous games. "With a sandbox-style design, the challenge becomes much broader and mechanics driven," Olsson said. "Instead of trying to lead the player through a set number of situations, triggers or events you need to constantly think in systems. You still need to envision quite specific scenarios that you would like a player to (potentially) go through. The difference here is that you need to design your systems so that they fuel and enable those types of scenarios dynamically.

"For us, when designing The Bunker, the most important thing (and the first thing we did) was to find our core framework and core gameplay loop. We knew these would have to generate several hours of playtime. We want to deliver a sense of stress, dynamic threats, have player decisions affect the world and overall just have a strong contrast between risk and reward. When we had found a promising core, the rest was all about building/tweaking that core and attaching new secondary systems on top of that."

Amnesia: The Dark Descent was a genuinely revolutionary game in 2010, but I'm just playing through Rebirth now (believe it or not, the timing is entirely coincidental) and the horror experience is definitely blunted: Rather than screaming and fleeing in blind terror as, well, I may have done in Dark Descent, in Rebirth I'm more focused on staying mobile and slipping past enemies when opportunities present themselves. It feels more like a stealth game than horror: It's excellent and I'm very much enjoying it, but the alchemy that made The Dark Descent such a terrifying brain-melter just doesn't have the potency it once did. Frictional hopes The Bunker will bring back that magic, and maybe even exceed the horrific stands it set with its previous games.

"If you manage to create a tense, suspenseful and scary experience where the player has a strong sense of agency, it immerses the player more in the world," Olsson said. "With strong immersion comes strong emotions. So even if the sandbox-y approach doesn’t allow you to tailor the experience, it creates a strong foundation for really scary moments.

"If you get your systems to play together just right the player's brain will be constantly occupied with planning, contemplating and weighing every decision, knowing that it’s their own actions that might lead to some horrible consequence or some great reward. When you have a person in that type of mode, the more dynamic, emergent, and coincidental scares can be even more powerful than the ones you’ve deliberately staged."

The inclusion of a weapon in The Bunker is also very interesting: Previous games in the Amnesia series have limited players to strictly defensive actions—that is, running, hiding, crying in a corner like a small child. The pistol seen in the trailer clearly isn't very powerful (in videogame terms, at least) and I don't imagine we'll be swimming in ammo, but the mere fact that we'll be able to fight back at all is a potentially major change in the overall dynamic.

And while The Bunker is set in the Amnesia universe and "another addition to its lore," Frictional said the story will be more focused on the player's decisions and actions, rather than following a specific character: "The Amnesia universe is simply a very interesting setting to do that in."

It'll be tough to pull off, but if Frictional is able to successfully immerse in an unscripted and unpredictable world filled with all the deeply-warped awfulness the studio is known for, it could be a genuinely dreadful experience—in all the best ways, of course. Amnesia: The Bunker is expected to launch in 2023 on Steam (opens in new tab) and the Epic Games Store (opens in new tab), along with Xbox and PlayStation consoles. For now, you can find out more at amnesiathebunker.com (opens in new tab).

Soma dev reveals "unscripted" WW1 horror Amnesia: The Bunker

Out on PC and consoles in March 2023.

Matt Wales avatar


News by Matt Wales Reporter

Published on 1 Dec 2022



Frictional Games, the studio behind masterful sci-fi horror Soma, has announced a new entry in its acclaimed Amnesia series. It's called Amnesia: The Bunker and is heading to Xbox, PlayStation, and PC in March next year.

The Bunker - which will be the fourth Amensia game, following on from The Dark Descent, A Machine for Pigs, and last year's Rebirth - promises to be something a little bit different, favouring "unscripted" semi-open-world horror over its predecessors' more linear scares.

"For the first time, players are equipped with high levels of freedom to impact gameplay, choosing their playstyle as they explore at will," Frictional explains in its announcement. "With hardly any scripted events, and constant tension brought about by an ever-present threat, it is up to each player to finesse their approach to survival."

Frictional calls The Bunker a "pivotal point" for the Amnesia series, and says it'll incorporate emergent gameplay and sandbox elements as players - in the role of a French soldier hunted by an "adaptive" otherworldly creature - explore a dimly lit World War 1 bunker armed with a revolver and noisy dynamo flashlight. Its dingy corridors will likely trigger a few nightmarish flashbacks for fans of Frictional's pre-Amnesia Penumbra games.

Frictional says The Bunker's sandbox set-up encourages players to "explore and experiment, using wits and whatever tools are at their disposal" to overcome the game's various challenges, all of which have multiple solutions and approaches. Additionally, its unscripted nature means objects, threats, and resources will change on each play through, and players' decisions will affect how the game responds.

And if that has you intrigued, Frictional says it'll be sharing more on The Bunker "soon".


Sounds like the Anti-Rebirth. I'm intrigued.
 
Last edited:

Wunderbar

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I guess they want to earn our trust again an do a palate cleanser after the horrid Rebirth. Or maybe they are chasing the recent "horror where you can actually defend yourself" trend.
 

agentorange

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unscripted sandbox, keeping lights on, one bullet gimmick all makes this seems like twitch streamer bait. further decline of frictional. is this one even really made by them? the last amnesia game was farmed out to some freelancers.
 

RapineDel

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It just sounds like a "survive until the timer runs out" game that they've tried to market as innovative.

The fact that Rebirth only came out 2 years ago should be a big red flag, most fleshed out indie games are not developed this quickly.
 

Morgoth

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In fact, The Bunker appears to be another "filler" project as Thomas Grip's own passion project is something entirely else.
Oh ok, it's just that we've heard all that before (Soma wasn't supposed to be horror originally).

It would extremely surprise me if Grip's non-horror game ideas that he was so passionately blogging about for years was quietly canned.
 

Barbarian

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I remember in rebirth(which is set in the 30s) there was a section of the game set in a french military desert base which fell prey to the horrors. Don't really remember if there was a bunker in it, but I think it did.

I assume this could be a prequel then. Somewhat boring if so.
 

Barbarian

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Btw bros, I'm somewhat out of the loop but I really enjoy games in the style of frictional(first person horror/sci-fi and narrative driven - if lovecraftian a plus). I even enjoyed Rebirth somewhat, for all its flaws.

What are the best games in this style to be released in the last few years and worth a try? I didn't like Outlast at all btw. Too much gratuitous gory and rapey shit.
 

Morgoth

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Btw bros, I'm somewhat out of the loop but I really enjoy games in the style of frictional(first person horror/sci-fi and narrative driven - if lovecraftian a plus). I even enjoyed Rebirth somewhat, for all its flaws.

What are the best games in this style to be released in the last few years and worth a try? I didn't like Outlast at all btw. Too much gratuitous gory and rapey shit.

Other than SOMA and Alien Isolation, it's a desert.
 

Luzur

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"For the first time, players are equipped with high levels of freedom to impact gameplay, choosing their playstyle as they explore at will,"

somehow i feel these words are a prelude to it being shit
 

Ivan

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+1 anti-rebirth, intrigued/hopeful
 

agentorange

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Btw bros, I'm somewhat out of the loop but I really enjoy games in the style of frictional(first person horror/sci-fi and narrative driven - if lovecraftian a plus). I even enjoyed Rebirth somewhat, for all its flaws.

What are the best games in this style to be released in the last few years and worth a try? I didn't like Outlast at all btw. Too much gratuitous gory and rapey shit.
did you play Resident Evil 7? Miasmata is also very good and different, as it's hybrid of survival game and horror, but all the survival elements are tied to the narrative so there is no grinding for materials or endless crafting. https://store.steampowered.com/app/223510/Miasmata/.
 
Dumbfuck
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Btw bros, I'm somewhat out of the loop but I really enjoy games in the style of frictional(first person horror/sci-fi and narrative driven - if lovecraftian a plus). I even enjoyed Rebirth somewhat, for all its flaws.
If you're the kind of nigga that will suffer through Stillbirth then I have some games for you that are way better.







 

Dr1f7

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unscripted sandbox, keeping lights on, one bullet gimmick all makes this seems like twitch streamer bait. further decline of frictional. is this one even really made by them? the last amnesia game was farmed out to some freelancers.
the first amnesia was streamerbait by accident; I actually think that's the game that launched a bunch of let's play careers.
despite that little mishap amnesia TDD is still one of my fav games of all time and I'm always excited to hear about new frictional shit. I think they played a large part in recalibrating the horror genre
 

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