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

Dr1f7

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wishlist today!
 

Wunderbar

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One of Frictional devs definitely frequents Codex, they saw Roxor's negative posts and made a video about gassing some rats.
 

ds.

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Penumbra (both Overture and Black Plague) had more puzzles than their later games so going back tho the gameplay from those would not be so bad. These videos don't give me a Penumbra vibe though.
 
Glory to Ukraine
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Inb4 enemies are actually invulnerable and the pistol is only used to open doors.

Dunno man, I liked the first Amnesia, but the whole series went really downhill after that. Doubt that this will be somehow good.
 

Dr1f7

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their illness was
amnesia! and they had to get it fixed in
a bunker!
:P
 

Wirdschowerdn

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A Dark Descent Into Amnesia: The Bunker, With Its Creators

By Robert Zak
Published 4 days ago

The game's Creative Lead Fredrik Olsson explains why the 4th Amnesia will be the scariest yet.

Ever-depleting resources, inky darkness that chips away at your sanity, and unspeakable horrors chasing you through clammy crepuscular corridors; these have been the hallmarks of the Amnesia series ever since it single-handedly revolutionised video game horror with The Dark Descent back in 2010. Now, with Amnesia: The Bunker around the corner, we’re set to dive into this eldritch universe for a fourth time.

What’s refreshing about Amnesia is that instead of following the trend of first-person ‘helpless horror’ that it started, and reaching for the gloss and glamour of bigger-budget games that were heavily inspired by it–such as Resident Evil and Alien: Isolation–the series has been drastically changing its setting and themes with each entry, while doubling down on those little things that only really Amnesia does: the tactile fiddliness in every action from opening doors to hiding in cupboards, the unscripted monstrosities, thet dingy atmosphere.

When I ask Fredrik Olsson, Creative Lead on Amnesia: The Bunker, what the key ‘identifier’ is for the series, his response is an indirect one. “For us, Amnesia is an interesting universe,” he begins. “We tend not to look backwards too much as a studio, and instead want to look to the future, and new things we can try out. What we did with Rebirth for example, is in certain ways different from Dark Descent, and with Bunker it's very different again. But for me, if there’s anything the series has always done, in my opinion it’s the contrast between darkness and light.”
amnesia-the-bunker-2

He’s right, of course. From the gloom of Dark Descent’s castle, through the excavated desert tomb of Rebirth, and now a labyrinthine World War I bunker complex in Bunker, that play between light and darkness–and the murkiness about which one truly is safer–has always been there. Traditionally, the player would be better able to hide in the darkness from monsters, but that darkness would chip away at their ‘Sanity’ or ‘Fear’ levels. For the first time in the series, The Bunker does away with those meters–and UIs entirely, for that matter–moving the horror towards what Olsson calls a more “tangible” kind of fear.

Much of that fear revolves around a generator at the heart of the bunker, which keeps some degree of light and power on in the place. That generator relies on fuel, however, so throughout the game you’ll be returning to top it up if you don’t want your world plunged into darkness. The game is essentially on a constant clock, which in true Amnesia style you can only keep track of if you actually carry a pocket watch. This amplifies the tension in already stressful situations. “If you're out there in the bunker doing a little quest or mission, it takes time,” says Olsson. “If you spend too long hiding under the table or in a closet or whatever while the threat is around, you're basically burning fuel in the generator and you might end up in pitch black darkness.”

Weapons may sound like a controversial inclusion to Amnesia’s historically weaponless setup, but Olsson reassures me that they blend into that tense, fiddly mechanical framework that the series has always been renowned for. Bullets will be scarce, and without a UI to conveniently display how many are left in your chamber, you’ll need to manually check the cylinder of your revolver to see how much heat you’re packing. “It takes a couple of seconds for you to do this, which creates a great tension moment if the monster is near you,” Olsson tells me. “Don't remember if you put that last bullet in or not? Do you want to check, or do you want to risk it?”

The same goes for grenades, where you hold down a button to grab the pin before aiming then chucking the grenade. “But the player might decide not to throw it, and then they just release the button, so it becomes a kind of action that they do. There's a lot of decisions taken towards trying to immerse the player as much as possible.”

As something of a horror purist, an issue I’ve had with some of those big-budget post-Amnesia games is that too often they seem to give in to the allure of action-horror by their midpoint, equipping the player with enough firepower that the suspenseful cowering flow of the early stages makes way for a bit of a power trip (just think of Resident Evil Village from Heisenberg’s factory onwards, or the ability of Alien: Isolation’s flamethrower to send Xenomorphs scampering). By making ammo ever-scarce and applying that trademark series fiddliness to each weapon, Amnesia: The Bunker is aiming to use weaponry to amplify the fear factor, as you fumble to load rounds into your revolver or your hand trembles on the grenade pin. Olsson even suggests that the gun is “more of a tool than a weapon” in The Bunker.

The titular bunker is a space you explore in largely non-linear fashion. “It’s much more hub focused than previous entries, which is partly because you have this safe room, which is the admin office of the bunker,” Olsson tells me. “This is basically the only place where you can save the game. It’s your planning place. That's where you can lock yourself in, manage your inventory, and is the only place in the game where you can feel safe.”

The layout of the bunker is constant, but borrowing a little design trick from the roguelike genre, the locations of most items and resources in the game are randomised on each playthrough; not just basic items, but also weapons, tools, and traps laid down by soldiers before you found yourself in this hellish setting. On one playthrough you might find a gas mask, which protects you while gassing the mysterious threats chasing you, then on another playthrough, in that same place you might find a lighter, which of course has its own uses.

“I’ve played the game maybe 20-30 times, and the randomisation makes it really super fun,” begins Olsson. “Even small things like resources can change [your experience] so much, and I kind of wonder why more games don’t do this.” Olsson isn’t alone in this thinking. As I write this, Hitman’s new rogue-lite ‘Freelancer’ mode is making some serious waves in the community, speaking to the joys of randomisation when implemented properly.

Crucially, even the codes to unlock various doors are randomised, which means that players won’t be able to simply go online to find solutions to every puzzle. Again, immersion is key here, as is the game’s commitment to making the player feel scared and truly alone. “To me, it’s romantic in a way, because it feels more like the games I played as a kid when it was much more hardcore,” Olsson reminisces. “We don't explain everything to the player. We don't hide it either, but we want players to get into that headspace. We even have a message at the start of the game, saying ‘you're on your own now, learn, adapt and experiment.’”

In a way, that message feels apt for the journey that Amnesia itself has been on, with each entry presenting a distinctive hook to that trailblazing flavour of horror it pioneered. The game’s release date has been pushed back to May, but it’s clear that the ideas and framework implemented by the now-experienced team at Frictional Games are in place, aiming to deliver an experience that, even in a saturated genre, is distinctly ‘Amnesia.’
 

Wirdschowerdn

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Amnesia: The Bunker Replaces The Sanity Meter With A Generator

By Jack Coleman
Published 30 minutes ago
Stay in the light, or learn what lurks in the dark.

With the release of Amnesia: The Bunker drawing ever closer, we sat down with creative lead Fredrik Olsson from Frictional Games to discuss the newest instalment in the storied series.

One particular feature that Olsson spoke about caught our eye. The titular World War 1 bunker is powered by a central generator. This generator is powered by fuel, and you’ll have to refill it at regular intervals if you want to maintain the meagre amount of illumination available in the bunker.

As Olsson put it, “If you’re out there in the bunker doing your little quest or mission, it takes time. If you, for example, decide to hide under the table or in a closet or whatever while the threat is around, then you’re burning fuel in the generator, and you might end up in pitch blackness.”

To make matters worse, the “threat” hunting protagonist Henri Clément thrives in the darkness. “The threat that is haunting you is a lot more active in the darkness. It doesn’t like the light,” Olsson explained.

Amnesia: The Bunker’s generator mechanic has the player on a constantly depleting clock, adding a new layer of terrifying stress to an already tense situation. However, Frictional aren’t downright sadistic - you’ll be able to track the level of fuel in the generator through a nifty stopwatch (if you’re willing to sacrifice an inventory slot, of course).

“Maybe you’ve seen the little stopwatch in one of the clips or screenshots. You can choose to bring that with you. Of course, it’s going to take up a lot in your inventory but you can bring that to keep track of how much fuel you have left in the generator,” Olsson told us.

He also speculated that some players may not want to waste the inventory slot, opting to instead track the generator on instinct. Others may even just face the terrifying darkness... more power to them.

The generator is one of several ways that Frictional is pivoting away from the series' trademark fear or sanity meters towards what Olsson calls more “tangible” threats. You can read more about Amnesia’s new direction in our full interview with Olsson.

Amnesia: The Bunker is targeting a May 16 release following the announcement of a delay a couple of weeks ago.

I'm pleased with what I am reading.
 

Wirdschowerdn

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Good news! Frictional is also working on a larger, "philosophical" game besides Bunker:

https://www.pcgamer.com/frictional-has-a-new-soma-style-game-quietly-in-the-works/

"We are still very much interested in doing more SOMA-style stuff," Olsson told DS, noting that Frictional's co-founder Thomas Grip is currently at work "on a bigger project that you can say has much more of this kind of philosophical stuff like you saw in SOMA". That would jive with a job posting from the company last month (opens in new tab), which was explicitly looking for a narrative designer who "loves sci-fi and horror".
 

KIss My Ass

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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.
I thought Rebirth was a step in the right direction after A Machine for Pigs which is easily one of the worst games I've ever played. That story went places.
 

KIss My Ass

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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.
Outlast 2 was waaaaay better than the original. I'd recommend it even if you didn't like the first game. The setting and atmosphere are very reminiscent of Resident Evil 4.
 

Dr1f7

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shadows on the player are kinda weird, i don't remember other amnesia games having that right?
 

KIss My Ass

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You must be the only unfortunate individual who'd prefer Rebirth over an actual horror game.
Rebirth was fine. I don't get the fuss.

It wasn't like Frictional had a great track record at that point. SOMA was amazing but I sure as hell wasn't expecting them to repeat that. Rebirth was fine.
 

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