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

Freedos

Novice
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
42
I can understand the disappointment of some fans about the minor presence of story in comparison with previous Frictional games. In fact, I would aprecciate a story like TDD. I enjoyed the SOMA's story and narrative. However...after Rebirth, I can't criticize The Bunker's direction.


I don't see Rebirth exactly as a bad game, but some intrusive narrative techniques, pacing issues and uninteresting character drama were so un-Frictional and more mediocre triple A game style...so disappointing. And TDD was more than only its (good) story. It was its inmersion, interactivity, physics, its lights and shadows mechanic, the atmosphere, the monsters, custom stories, etc. The Bunker does most these elements not only in a more interesting way than Rebirth, also more fresh (without ruining the Amnesia core). And it could be perfectly a crap and ruin the franchise, because, among other reasons, it's an Amnesia game with a gun. And it didn't.


Also it's the entry with most potential for custom stories since the first game.

But, again, I understand if someone was waiting a more story-focused game like Rebirth or SOMA.
 

Egosphere

Arcane
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
1,913
Location
Hibernia
What exactly does "recalibrating the horror genre" mean?

Do you mean being responsible (intentionally or not) for the utter decline of the vast majority of horror games into lowest common denominator, shitty jumpscare streambait with near-zero gameplay for alt-tabbed mongoloids?
the genre was mostly done by the time amnesia came out. mid 00s was the swan song. And outlast did a lot more to transform it into a conveyor belt of jumpscares.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
669
What exactly does "recalibrating the horror genre" mean?

Do you mean being responsible (intentionally or not) for the utter decline of the vast majority of horror games into lowest common denominator, shitty jumpscare streambait with near-zero gameplay for alt-tabbed mongoloids?
the genre was mostly done by the time amnesia came out. mid 00s was the swan song. And outlast did a lot more to transform it into a conveyor belt of jumpscares.
outlast is what it is, but its also the funniest game ive ever found to watch people play who are still able to get immersed. i had a guy shrieking and hyperventilating like he was really being chased by insane killers :lol:
 

Terenty

Liturgist
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
1,409
Brilliant game. In fact it might be the best survival horror game ever. I played on hard, most likely the intended difficulty, and the balance was perfect. Gameplay reminded me of Pathologic 2 with carefully planning your route and conserving resources.

The monster was unpredictable and many times caught me off guard. The length was perfect as well, took me 6.5 hours.
 

Ripsipaps

Literate
Joined
Jun 18, 2023
Messages
6
I really didn't appreciate this at all. Felt like the game kept wasting my time not letting me save and killing me with cheap shots. And the monster was the xenomorph bone baby from Alien 4! Inspired by one of the worst monster designs ever, how far Frictional has fallen!
The ending was just insulting, there was no final act at all, such a barebones story. I'm puzzled why this is getting such rave reviews. Serious gaymers think they need to take a stance since it has more gameplay than Rebirth? Meh.
 

Child of Malkav

Erudite
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
Messages
2,675
Location
Romania
I really didn't appreciate this at all. Felt like the game kept wasting my time not letting me save and killing me with cheap shots. And the monster was the xenomorph bone baby from Alien 4! Inspired by one of the worst monster designs ever, how far Frictional has fallen!
The ending was just insulting, there was no final act at all, such a barebones story. I'm puzzled why this is getting such rave reviews. Serious gaymers think they need to take a stance since it has more gameplay than Rebirth? Meh.
Are you well?
LUeIMc.jpg

Nevermind.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
669
I really didn't appreciate this at all. Felt like the game kept wasting my time not letting me save and killing me with cheap shots. And the monster was the xenomorph bone baby from Alien 4! Inspired by one of the worst monster designs ever, how far Frictional has fallen!
The ending was just insulting, there was no final act at all, such a barebones story. I'm puzzled why this is getting such rave reviews. Serious gaymers think they need to take a stance since it has more gameplay than Rebirth? Meh.
Are you well?
LUeIMc.jpg

Nevermind.
hes not wrong, the game is pretty barebones. like someone already said, its like they took the feedback from rebirth and turned all the dials way way down. an overreaction of sorts.
 

Child of Malkav

Erudite
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
Messages
2,675
Location
Romania
hes not wrong, the game is pretty barebones. like someone already said, its like they took the feedback from rebirth and turned all the dials way way down. an overreaction of sorts.
Criticize the game because it's 100% gameplay and for not having to check and talk with your baby all the time, and for not having a mudslime husband and for the game not skipping the horror/chase parts for you if you fail them? I'm sorry but the interactive movie sections are anywhere else but here. The story is simple. Escape. The lore is told through notes and the game pauses for you to read them if you wish. Multiple solutions for problems, Alien Isolation inspired gameplay except this time the beast doesn't cheat, weapons have multiple uses, scarce ammo, randomized stuff on replays (for example I got the shotgun from one of the lockers in mission storage) etc. Almost no filler.
Yeah it does have an abrupt ending and it's pretty short. About the only minus I could give. Best Amnesia game since Dark Descent.
 

Ripsipaps

Literate
Joined
Jun 18, 2023
Messages
6
Are you well?
LUeIMc.jpg

Nevermind
I had an old account but forgot the password and email. Shame on you for wanting to see my post history anyway, as if that's relevant to my points about this game.

Best Amnesia game since Dark Descent.
Not exactly a high achievement. Pig Story was one of the worst walking sims ever made and Rebirth wasn't great, but certainly not worse than Cronarium, Lust from Beyond and the other Lovecraftian walking sims that were mentioned. A bit better than those imo, more memorable at least.
Yes the main character was annoying, but the sections in the alien world were not bad, more interesting than anything in the bunker.
This game doesn't deserve its praise, the atmosphere and gameplay are worse than the Penumbra games and the story is just a joke compared to Brennenburg and SOMA. Just a continued decline for Frictional.
I heard their main writer left so that is probably one of the big reasons.
 

Child of Malkav

Erudite
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
Messages
2,675
Location
Romania
Ripsipaps I didn't look at your post history, your "rank" is shown just above your portrait and just below your username.
Anyway, to your points:
- story - highly subjective and irrelevant, the comparison to other title outside of Amnesia series is useless as we're comparing Amnesia games. The only interesting story was in Dark Descent. The bunker has a simple one, focused and it's supported by the gameplay loop on top of it. But ultimately subjective and should have little impact overall. Brennenburg was a place, SOMA was a game (and a bad one at that).
- main character was extremely annoying in Rebirth, in bunker not at all.
- locations - the alien world sections were cool looking from a lore point of view but it apparently served as basis for future titles in the series as the beast character in Bunker is heavily connected to that world. As for the bunker having interesting sections? Dude, it's a bunker: a collection of underground corridors and rooms connected by said corridors. You're not gonna get any vistas inside it. Expectations issue. User error.
- game is the best Amnesia since Dark Descent - the atmosphere is almost identical, the sound design is great, similar to the one they used in Dark Descent which helped create the same tension and overall dread. How can you play TDD and not recognize the same atmosphere in the bunker? Gameplay is identical to previous titles in the series: mode of interaction, inventory and resource management, movement system, puzzle solving, object usage etc.
Yeah, the writer left some time ago. It's not like these games need branching dialogues or anything.
TLDR: you dislike the game for being...a game and not an interactive movie.
 

Ripsipaps

Literate
Joined
Jun 18, 2023
Messages
6
Calm down, you dork. I dislike it for not being a good game. Choosing to throw a grenade at the door or a molotov at the rats is not compelling gameplay. Neither is shooting the monster a few times for it to fuck off. And dying because it suddenly brushes aside an explosive barrier instead of having it explode is frustrating. The bunker did not have any puzzles that I can remember. Looking for a code to get the dynamite is not a puzzle. The core gameplay is juggling your limited inventory and running back and forth to fill the generator or to restart from dying.
Frictional were always carried by the stellar writing and atmosphere, so when it's gone it all becomes highly compromised as can be seen from the last two entries.
 

Child of Malkav

Erudite
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
Messages
2,675
Location
Romania
Choosing to throw a grenade at the door or a molotov at the rats is not compelling gameplay. Neither is shooting the monster a few times for it to fuck off. And dying because it suddenly brushes aside an explosive barrier instead of having it explode is frustrating.
Yep, sounds like a skill issue to me. Choosing a solution to a problem connects to
juggling your limited inventory
which are both important aspects of a horror game. And this
The core gameplay is juggling your limited inventory and running back and forth to fill the generator or to restart from dying.
can be said about Alien Isolation, Dead Space, Resident evil, Evil within etc. Replace the "fill the generator" part with whatever you have to do in each of the other games. Very easy to over simplify a game like this as you skip over the gameplay implications to keep that loop going (exploration, resource management, problem solving, experimentation etc.). Very easy but not really cool though.
Frictional were always carried by the stellar writing and atmosphere, so when it's gone it all becomes highly compromised as can be seen from the last two entries.
Um, no. Quality of writing is debatable. Not an expert and don't really care either.
Atmosphere is intact.
Sorry you didn't like the game. Maybe next one will play itself if Rebirth is any indication.
 

Ivan

Arcane
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
7,536
Location
California
Replayed it on Hard since I hit a progress-blocking bug on my virginal playthrough on Normal. Since I was 3/4 of the way done, I knew what was up and finished my hard playthrough between 3-4 hours. I wasn't hurting too hard for resources, but since this wasn't my first time around, I knew which areas would lead to dead ends. I had a blast, this is easily a modern horror classic. It makes me super excited for what comes next as there's no way Frictional will backtrack from the greater emphasis on player verbs and player agency.

-I do wish the rats were more lethal as you can kinda easily sprint/jump past them, I can think of only 1 true chokepoint where you need a tool to bypass them
-I guess I completely missed the burning corpse mechanic, again, as the rats didn't pose much threat to me
-would have been cool to see the shotty down the monster for a bit longer, it made the getting the altered ending a bit of a pain the ass

Still, an excellent experience and easily the best Frictional game to date.
:4/5:
 

Jaedar

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Aug 5, 2009
Messages
9,925
Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
Been playing this for a bit.

Did fine in the tutorial area, then when the game started for real got krumped 3 times before managing to accomplish anything and get back to save. Then I made some progress but had an unfortunate encounter with some rats, leaving me heavily bleeding, and no healing items anywhere. Managed to stumble my way back to the save room though. Took me another 4 fairly quick deaths to find my way to a healing item before being devoured by the endless rat swarms that appear when you are bleeding.

Pretty good game so far, although at this point I've died and reloaded enough that most of the tension/horror is gone.
 

Spukrian

Savant
Joined
May 28, 2016
Messages
700
Location
Lost Continent of Mu
I got the game. Something I didn't mention when I played the demo was that I had... weird performance issues. These issued are present in the full game aswell. Guess I have to decide if I play the game despite this or wait untill I've upgraded my hardware.
 

Jaedar

Arcane
Patron
Joined
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Messages
9,925
Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
So I finished this. Took 5 hours, including a lot of deaths. Feels a bit short. I was really expecting a final area with lots of challenges that would force me to demonstrate what I learned (and sap some of my hoarded materials), but it didn't happen.

I do like how it feels like a real game, with obstacles to overcome and multiple ways to overcome them. Still, after the beginning (feels like I got really unlucky with resource placement?) I was never low on healing, and had a decent supply of grenades and fuel for days. Felt really short on bullets right up until the very end though. I think part of the problem is that encounters with the beast are very binary, you either stealth or instantly force it to flee, consuming few to no resources, or it instantly kills you and you try again.

On the technical side, I ran into one bug (a stack of papers with collision that couldn't be interacted with, making it impossible to block a hole with a crate) and no crashes or notable performance drops. The loading can be pretty crazy though, since you first load into the main menu, then unskippable cutscenes, then load into the save room and then walk 10s and load into another bunker area (thankfully it's seamless after the initial load).

For biggest flaw, I think I'd put the fact that every 'key tool' is in the maintenance area, and this is apparantly not randomized. I also never picked up the gas mask and didn't really feel its absence.

Overall, I had fun but would probably recommend waiting for a sale if 20 currencies for 5 hours feels like a lot.
 

DJOGamer PT

Arcane
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
7,574
Location
Lusitânia
Well it seems in terms of gameplay this seems the best game designed by Frictional



Will have to try it some day, the original Amnesia was the first survival horror game I played and completed
 
Last edited:

Infinitron

I post news
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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
For future projects, I think we will cut back a bit on the horror aspects in order to give greater focus on other emotional qualities. I am confident that these games will still feel like Frictional ones. The immersion, the personal journey, and a holistic vision are what I see as defining traits of a Frictional game – not just horror as such.

https://80.lv/articles/frictional-games-on-its-history-developing-horror-games/

Frictional Games on Its History & Developing Horror Games​

Creative Director at Frictional Games Thomas Grip discussed using players' imagination to enhance the horror elements in games, told us which game defines the studio, and explained why he never considered Frictional to be an indie studio.

Frictional Games​

What set us apart in the past and still sets us apart are mainly two things – most employees work from home, and we use our own engine.

Both of these necessarily defined our path. There were no good engine options back in 2005 when we started on Penumbra (the tech demo), and we had no money for an office. Both of these turned into defining features as we moved on and are all related to our workflow.

We make games that are of a very holistic nature. There is no sharp line between the part of the team that does story, gameplay, tech, and so forth. All of it is mixed together. Our own tech, and the kind of cooperation that online work allows us to do, are both crucial for making this studio work. We also try to keep the size of the team small. We are very careful about growth and rather take in people that can wear many hats than have experts in a very focused field.

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At Frictional, we work on games holistically. This plays a crucial part in how our games look and feel. While all of our games have been horror in some way, what we really try to do is to get a kind of "playable immersion". What I mean by this is that we want to give the player some sort of immersive fantasy. Be that being a WW1 soldier trapped in a bunker or a robot stuck at the bottom of the ocean. We want to shape the game in such a way that story, gameplay, sound, art, etc, all work together to strengthen that core goal experience. It is also important to make sure this journey feels personal and that evoking emotions is the main goal.

Horror games naturally are where emotions are front and center. Games really excel at this. However, we are also exploring themes outside of making things spooky. Rebirth is about caring for an unborn child, and SOMA is about philosophical questions around consciousness. We delivered these themes within a horror context, but those stories could be told in another genre. It’s not about the fear, it’s about the holistic fantasy we deliver in each of our stories.

For future projects, I think we will cut back a bit on the horror aspects in order to give greater focus on other emotional qualities. I am confident that these games will still feel like Frictional ones. The immersion, the personal journey, and a holistic vision are what I see as defining traits of a Frictional game – not just horror as such.

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The Studio's Defining Game​

In some ways, I think that Penumbra is the defining game for the studio. For me personally, that was when we managed to take a bunch of ideas and a creative ethos and put that into a complete game. While we have managed to elevate a bunch of stuff since then, I think that Penumbra really set the tone for the studio.

What I think is interesting about Penumbra is how hard it was to make. Every encounter, puzzle, and map was a complex task and required the whole team to work together. There were very few things that came easy and it was a constant merger of gameplay and story. It was a very grueling process, but it also hallmarks what makes the game work.

Every time things come too easily or we skimp on this approach, the result is worse. For instance, in Penumbra, we added simple mazes with monsters – and those are easily the worst part of the game. Despite this, at least for me personally, I have always tried to make the development process simpler and less grueling. But every time we did that (Penumbra: Requiem with its puzzle focus being a shining example), things just got worse.

So over the years, I have sort of learned to embrace the difficulty of the process instead of being annoyed by it. It’s a feature, not a bug, so to speak. This all started with Penumbra; hence that feels like the defining game.

Of course, The Dark Descent really made the studio into a force to be reckoned with. But the thing is that I didn't see us doing much differently. Much of The Dark Descent's development took the approach: "Like Penumbra, but better!"

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Leveraging the Human Psychology​

Imagination, imagination, and imagination. This is really what makes it all click in the end. Players just make up more than there is to the game, and we utilize that as much as possible. Even in a game like The Bunker, which has a lot of focus on punishing the player and having concrete systems, imagination is still king. When people hear sounds, they IMAGINE things, and it is this mental imagery that fuels the experience.

I mean, there is no real danger in playing our games. It is just a game – it plays out on a screen with relatively simple systems driving it. But with the right context, as in story, art, sound, and so forth, the players just get immersed and lose track of what is real and not. This makes the player personally involved with the happenings of the game.

You also notice that the most interesting play comes when the players are not really playing. Forming a plan, hiding, thinking about something they have seen, and so forth. These are often the key moments in the game, and they are all in the player's mind.

Obviously, it cannot all be mind tricks. The Bunker is a good example of having actual consequences and interaction opportunities. That is key to making it all work, as you need the imagination to rest on a solid foundation. But in the end, crafting an elaborate fictional space in the player's mind is really what our work is about.

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The Technical Side of Things​

As I was not overly involved on the technical side, I don’t want to go too far into it, but I would consider crucial parts being:
  • An interconnected world.
  • System-driven interactions.
What this means is that the environment is not just a facade but is actually a real space. The player needs to revisit places, learn layouts, and such. This forms a mental model of the space. Remember what I said about imagination? Well, this is part of that. The titular Bunker is not just some sort of figment of the story, it becomes an actual place.

The systems do the same thing. Doors break from various sources, the monster visibly emerges through holes, there is an actual population of rats, and so forth. It is not just smoke and mirrors. The player can poke and experiment with them and get interesting results. And again, this makes the player form a deeper mental bond with these things.

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Is Frictional Games an Indie Studio?​

I am not sure I EVER thought of Frictional as an indie. We used publishers to a certain extent in the early days, and while we are fully self-funded now, I am still not sure I see us as an indie.

While the idea of indie developers has been a huge boost for games and development in general over the past 15 years or so, I am still a bit ambivalent about it in terms of Frictional. I think that the reason is that I always set the bar really high.

In terms of end experience, I do not see us competing on a lower level. While we might not have the budget for larger-than-life cutscenes, in terms of raw immersive experience, we compete with all games on the market. If people feel that some AAA games do horror better than us, then I don't simply think, "Oh well, we can't compete with that." Instead, I see that as a direct challenge. We want to be the ones that make the best experience in whatever genre that we choose to work with, even if that is populated by games from AAA studios. I'm not sure that makes us any less indie, but for me personally, I am not sure I have ever embraced the title.

As for running the studio, the landscape constantly changes. We are very fortunate to have a well-known and well-regarded pedigree. That means it is easier for us to get exposure and reach out. Both in terms of selling games and recruiting talent. And while the market is flooding with new games, the audience is also growing.

Not saying it's easy for us – it never has been. But so far, we are still thriving. You never know how long you can continue, but we will continue making games as long as we can.

What Should Developers Always Keep in Mind?​

The player's imagination, imagination, and imagination. Inspire the player's imagination, and they will add just as much to the game as the developer does.

Thomas Grip, Creative Director at Frictional Games​


Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

 

Ivan

Arcane
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
7,536
Location
California
Rebirth was one of the most disappointing games I've played. Thankfully The Bunker redeemed them in my estimation
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2022
Messages
91
This was a great game, but it felt too short. Almost as if it was a demo. If they could turn this into a proper full-fledged 15 hour horror game with a lot more (and varied) locations, that would be my favorite horror game of all time. If anyone is looking for more horror games with this kind of grimy WW1/vintage aesthetic, give The Evil Within 1 a try.
 

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth

Need to hone your skills, soldier?

In this video Fredrik showcases the new Training Grounds feature from the upcoming Halloween Update in Amnesia: The Bunker.
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
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Messages
97,726
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth


Get ready to switch things up and tackle the Bunker YOUR way!

Fredrik is back showcasing a bunch of the new Custom Settings features from the upcoming Halloween Update in Amnesia: The Bunker.
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
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Messages
97,726
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth


Pssst... Fredrik tells us how to unlock the new Halloween Update features with a little cheat.
 

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