Amnesia: The Dark Descent

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia-The-Dark-Descent-Cover-Art.png
Developer(s) Frictional Games
Publisher(s) Frictional Games
Designer(s) Thomas Grip
Jens Nilsson
Writer(s) Mikael Hedberg
Composer(s) Mikko Tarmia
Series Amnesia
Engine HPL Engine 2
Platform(s)
Release date(s) September 8, 2010
  • NA February 17, 2011 (retail)
Genre(s) Survival horror[1]
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Download, DVD, cloud computing

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival horror video game by Frictional Games,[2] released for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. The game features a protagonist named Daniel exploring a dark and foreboding castle, while avoiding monsters and other obstructions as well as solving puzzles.[3] The game was critically well received, earning two awards from the Independent Games Festival and numerous positive reviews.[4]

Originally released independently as a download, the game has since been published in retail by 1C Company in Russia and Eastern Europe as well as THQ in North America.[5][6][7] A collection of five short stories set in the world of Amnesia, written by Mikael Hedberg and illustrated by the game's concept artists, was also made available.[8] In addition, the game's soundtrack is available for purchase and a free content expansion called "Justine" has been released as well as many fan-made expansions and stories.[9]

Gameplay[edit]

In a similar vein to the developer's previous games, Amnesia is an adventure game played from a first-person perspective. The game retains the physical object interaction used in the Penumbra series, allowing for physics-based puzzles and interactions such as opening doors and fixing machinery.[3] Few in-game objects are operated by toggle; to open a door, for instance, the player must hold down a mouse button and then push (or pull) the mouse. This gives the player stealth, allowing them to peek out a barely-opened door or open it slowly to sneak away, but also adds to the player's sense of helplessness, as it is now entirely possible to attempt to push open a "pull" door whilst danger approaches from behind.

In addition to a health indicator, Daniel's sanity must be managed. Being in darkness too long, witnessing unsettling events, or staring at monsters will reduce Daniel's sanity, causing visual and auditory hallucinations and drawing the attention of monsters. Light sources help restore sanity, and if none are available Daniel may use tinderboxes to ignite candles in wall sconces and candelabra, or deploy an oil-burning lantern found near the beginning of the game. However, the number of tinderboxes and the amount of oil available are both limited, and standing in a light source also makes the player more noticeable to monsters. The player must balance the amount of time Daniel spends in light and shadow. Sanity is fully restored once Daniel completes an objective or progresses the game's story. It may also be restored by staying in the shadows until Daniel passes out, but this leaves him extremely vulnerable to any nearby monsters.

If a monster spots Daniel, it will chase him until he's out of sight. If spotted, Daniel must flee, as Amnesia does not give the player access to weapons. Daniel must find hiding places or barricade doors with rocks, chairs and other obstacles; however, monsters are capable of tearing down doors in their path and kicking obstacles out of the way, and move extremely fast once they have spotted their prey. Players can also choose to hide Daniel in the shadows, at cost to sanity. Monsters who lose sight of Daniel will search for him for a time, but will eventually leave and vanish.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent[edit]

Plot[edit]

In late August 1839, Daniel, a young man from London, awakens in the dark halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle with little to no memory about himself or his past.[2] All he can remember is his name, that he lives in Mayfair and that something is hunting him.[10][11] Shortly after awakening, Daniel discovers a note written to himself, from which he learns that he has deliberately erased his own memory, and that he needs to descend into the Inner Sanctum of the castle to kill the Baron, Alexander.

The exploration of the dark depths of the castle (following a trail of pink liquid that he seems to have left for himself) is also a journey into his own erased past, as he discovers not only notes and his own journal entries, but experiences visions of past events that took place within the castle's countless chambers (including memories that are not his own). While he unravels the mysteries of Brennenburg Castle, he also finds himself hunted by a dangerous unearthly presence that manifests itself as a corruption that is slowly covering the castle in fleshy, acidic growths, and bizarre monsters against which his only defense is to flee. These events are linked and pertain to why Daniel came to Brennenburg.

Daniel was once a part of an archaeological expedition to Africa, in an attempt to excavate a tomb called "The Tomb of Tin Hinan". He came across a mystical orb buried within the ruins of the ancient temple, and brought its broken pieces back to England where he successfully assembled them. Daniel started to seek information about the Orb's history from a geologist and a professor.

However, he began to be plagued by nightmares, and several people who came across his path, and that of the Orb, died horribly at the hands of the "Shadow" that appears to follow his footsteps. Desperate and despairing, he received a strange letter from a Prussian baron named Alexander, who promised protection if Daniel would sojourn in his castle.

Daniel had no other choice but to flee to Brennenburg. As he arrived at the castle, he was greeted warmly by the baron, Alexander of Brennenburg and his servants, who appeared to be very pleased by Daniel's arrival. But the young man was unaware that the enigmatic deity had silently chased him to Brennenburg. Alexander knew this, and promised Daniel that they will banish the cosmic beast forever.

Alexander told Daniel all he knew about the Orb's power. Daniel doesn't seem to be interested about the artifact's true nature and suggested that they should throw it away. Alexander advised against that as Daniel would still be a part of the Orb, and eventually be consumed by the Shadow. Having the Orb, he could still fight back. Daniel asked Alexander about the letter he sent to respond Daniel. Alexander simply said, things can be done, but at a price.

Alexander showed various parts of the Brennenburg castle to Daniel, including the archives, a refinery, a prison where he kept the "criminals", a bottomless pit called the Chancel, and the Inner Sanctum itself, where they can permanently banish the Shadow.

During their visit in the Inner Sanctum, Alexander began to tamper with the Orb, thus enraging the Guardian, whose fleshy residue appears in the Sanctum. Alexander quickly covers the Orb and the Shadow disappears. He tells Daniel that they have very little time to banish the Shadow. They must quickly start the Warding Ritual before it's too late.

However, Alexander's promise of salvation was a lie. He is actually an otherworldly life-form who has spent centuries in Brennenburg, attempting to open a "gate" back to his own world. To do this, he needs a substance called "vitae", which can only be harvested from the blood of agonized humans. He also needs a usable Orb. As such, Daniel is a boon to his efforts: Alexander employs him as his personal torturer, replacing his former servants who become the monsters Daniel flees from, and claiming that the vitae will fuel a ritual to banish the Shadow from Daniel's presence forever. Daniel initially embraces this role, particularly when Alexander tells him that the humans he is seizing are vile criminals. In order to produce enough vitae, Alexander and Daniel feed the prisoners they torture with an Amnesia potion, which makes them forget the method of their torture, and ensures that they will be just as terrified the second time around, without becoming accustomed or resigned to the pain (Damascus rose is alluded to as either one of the ingredients of the Amnesia potion, or as a flavoring that Daniel perhaps added to the mixture to disguise its taste). As the experiments continue, however, Daniel's faith in Alexander is shaken, and finally shattered when he murders a little girl in cold blood following her escape from a prison cell.

Alexander saw that the event had taken a toll in Daniel's mind. Taking the Orb with him, Alexander sealed himself in the Inner Sanctum, leaving Daniel to be brutally maimed by the cosmic guardian.

Despondent over how far he has come, and furious at Alexander's trickery, Daniel chooses to drink the Amnesia potion himself so that he can atone for his sins without the burden of crippling emotional trauma, leaving but a note to his new self to murder Alexander.

The new Daniel found the note his former-self left, telling him to kill Alexander, but also to escape the approaching Shadow as long as he can. Then he came across a lantern, which he carries with him. As he started to travel in the castle, he realized that his former-self's warning was right. This beast, the Guardian of The Orbs, follows his footsteps, as do the terrible monsters patrolling in the corridors of Brennenburg.

Daniel eventually manages to find the Inner Sanctum buried deep below Castle Brennenburg. He breaches its defences with a newly assembled Orb and the help of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, an alchemist that Alexander has kept imprisoned in Brennenburg for centuries with the use of strange alchemy. Agrippa, who once studied Orbs with his student Johann Weyer, explains the purpose of the Shadow: it protects the Orbs, slaying anyone who threatens to abuse their power. He mentions also that Weyer managed to travel to Alexander's world using the power of the Orb, and begs a favor: that Daniel separate Agrippa's head from his body with the help of a tonic that will ensure his head will remain alive, and then take it with him.

There are three possible outcomes to the confrontation with Alexander, depending on Daniel's actions at the Inner Sanctum: he can fail to prevent Alexander from returning to his home world and get killed by the Shadow and trapped in eternal darkness, though Alexander thanks him for his "sacrifice", and tells him that what he has done will not be forgotten and he will be celebrated forever; he can destroy the device creating the Gate, managing to escape with his life, and says that he was content to be leaving Brennenburg having redeemed himself and knowing that Alexander has paid the price for his sins; or he can follow Agrippa's advice and toss his head through the portal. If he does, Daniel is still killed by the Shadow along with Alexander. However, Daniel is saved when Agrippa finds Daniel, saying that he deserves so much more. He then calls upon Weyer to help him save Daniel, promising the latter that "it will be all right."

Characters[edit]

  • Daniel – The main protagonist of the game. Apart from his British nationality, not much is known of him except for the diary pages that suggest that he is an archaeologist, his sister Hazel had a sickness growing up, and his father was an artisan who beat him. Daniel was, according to in-game text, bullied during primary school by a boy named Henry Bedloe. In the African desert on an expedition with his friend Herbert, Daniel discovered a tomb containing the mysterious Orb. From then on, a "shadow" had been hunting him, killing almost everyone he had contact with. Because of his panic, Daniel failed to realize that the Shadow had only killed those who had examined the Orb, and had done so almost instantly, whereas he had survived for 27 days before seeking help. Daniel had not attempted to examine or tamper with the Orb, but because of his panic, he sought the help and refuge of Alexander of Brennenburg. Alexander told Daniel that he could ward off the Shadow only with the use of mystical vitae extracted from tortured prisoners. Desperate to escape the Shadow, Daniel complied, convincing himself that his victims were worthless criminals who deserved no better. After Alexander abandons him, Daniel swears revenge and, suddenly filled with remorse over his deeds, drinks the Amnesia mixture at the start of the game to purge his horrible memories and seek redemption. Daniel is voiced by Richard Topping.
  • Alexander of Brennenburg – The main antagonist of the game. Alexander is a being who has been masquerading as a succession of Prussian barons during his centuries-long life. He gathered as many of the Orbs as he could find in hopes of opening a portal, possibly to reunite with his long dead wife or to his original homeland/world. He tortured captured victims to extract a mystical "vitae" from them, with which to perform mystical rituals in order to achieve this goal. Alexander displays a sociopathic level of cruelty and manipulation. He manipulated Daniel into helping him with his horrific experiments, promising him protection from the Shadow in return. However, as soon as Daniel's work was complete, Alexander sealed himself in his Inner Sanctum and abandoned Daniel. It is worth noting that he is not a completely evil character; in his notes he expresses some remorse for Daniel's corruption and of the things he has done. Alexander is voiced by Sam A. Mowry.
  • Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa – The infamous German occult writer and supposed magician. Not much is known about his relationship with Alexander, aside from the fact that they were working together and researching the Orbs. Alexander keeps him imprisoned in a dead husk of a body so that he could use his knowledge to perform rituals involving the Orbs. He is also known to have a pupil named Johann Weyer, who also helped him about the research of the Orb. Agrippa is voiced by Bill Corkery.
  • Wilhelm von Gerich – A nobleman from Altstadt, and a secret lawyer who works for Baron Alexander. Wilhelm and his men were given a 3-year contract by Alexander, and used by the Baron to kidnap humans and transport them to Brennenburg. However, the authorities discovered them due to their foolishness and careless action, causing Alexander's servants to be killed. Fearing the authorities will follow the trail to Brennenburg, Alexander locked Wilhelm and his men up in the Wine Cellar, and tricked them to drink poisonous wines, causing them to suffer horrible deaths. Wilhelm is voiced by Dan Zullo, who also voiced his men.
  • The Shadow – An unseen force that is hunting Daniel. Its sole purpose is to guard the Orb that Daniel took from the burial chamber, and it has killed numerous people to achieve that end. While it is not seen as a physical being, it is described as a huge sluggish mass of darkness and leaves behind a fleshy damaging substance over anything it touches. One note hypothesizes that it is the will of the universe seeking to catch up with and contain the unnatural force of the Orb itself, but this might only have been colorful speculation. It can be assumed that The Shadow is a gigantic being, causing the castle to fall into ruin and making tall trees fall whenever it moves around the castle. Another speculation says that The Shadow is producing no harm to Daniel. However, as Daniel is making contacts with other people about the Orb and cause The Shadow to attack them, most believe that any attempt to use the Orb, including simply studying it, is enough to provoke The Shadow's wrath.
  • The Gatherers – The main enemies of the game. They are Alexander's servants who were deformed when they drank wine poisoned by Alexander, and are seen as monstrous humanoids with deformed facial and bodily features. These enemies come in two variations, Grunts and Brutes, and patrol parts of Brennenburg Castle, attacking Daniel on sight. Since Daniel is weaponless, they cannot be killed and have to be avoided. An interesting note on the possible origin of the Gatherers can be found in the Wine Cellar, where a flashback Daniel has depicts a group of Alexander's men having horrific bodily reactions to wine they consumed, saying things such as "It feels like my chest is going to burst!". One particular note, however, states that they are deserters of the Thirty Years' War, who got lost in the forests around Brennenburg, forced to forever haunt it, dragging with them anyone unlucky enough to venture in. These creatures cannot be killed by Daniel; however, if an object such as a rock or barrel is thrown at one, it will become momentarily immobilized, leaving the player a small window to escape. If the player holds an item large enough in front of a Gatherer, the monster will pass by as if Daniel is not there, something which calls their intelligence into question.
    • Servant Grunt – horrifyingly disfigured monstrosities which have had their left hands cut off and replaced with crude iron blades in place of fingers. Their offset eyes resemble those of a reptile. They appear to have had their lower jaw severed, and it now flops out over their chest.
    • Brute – Brutes are malformed humanoids wearing a metallic tunic and with frankenstein-esque bolts and nails jutting out of their flesh. Their heads have been split down the middle like an open zipper. The opening in their head is lined with teeth and a single eye. They attack with a blade on an iron pole sticking out of their arm.
  • The Kaernk (Water Lurker) – An invisible, outer-worldly creature known as the Kaernk (anagram of Kraken), brought to Brennenburg by Alexander to extract their saliva, which is an ingredient in a potion. It dwells in shallow waters and hunts Daniel if he steps into the water where it lurks. The only sign of it is the splashing water it causes as it moves. Daniel must use the boxes scattered throughout the water in the level in order to avoid the creature. There is also the option to use body parts scattered on the boxes to distract the monster and let Daniel move through the water in relative safety. There are six encounters, four of which are purely visual, while the other two are dangerous. Daniel may hallucinate/catch a glimpse of the Kaernk in the Laboratory (under a grate), Cistern (in low sanity, sometimes appear if player stayed too long), Sewer (in a cave-in room), and two wells in the Nave (needed in order to collect its saliva). The Kaernk's true form is sometimes questioned, as the water lurker itself is never be seen to have physical form in the game. Given that it usually cannot reach Daniel if he's standing on a box, even if only a few inches above the water level, the Kaernk is most likely not able to leave the water under any circumstances, even to attack Daniel. Unlike the other monsters, Kaernks can be killed, most effectively done by smashing large crates or barrels on top of them, stopping their activity and leaving yellowish Kaernk blood in the water.

Amnesia: Justine (DLC)[edit]

Plot[edit]

The player takes control of an unnamed female character, who awakens with amnesia in a dungeon cell, accompanied only by a phonograph. This phonograph contains a recording by a woman named Justine, who tells the player character that she is the subject of a psychological test. The player character is then allowed to escape, or die trying.

The player character is presented with several puzzles to solve. In each, she has the option of simply abandoning the puzzle and walking away, but doing so will cause an innocent victim contained within (a doctor, a priest and a policeman) to die. She is also stalked by the Suitors, three monstrous characters whom Justine (through additional phonographs) reveals to be her own former paramours, now twisted by physical and psychological torture. The player character may also collect notes scattered throughout the testing environs, which give additional background information on the Suitors and Justine herself.

The game's exact ending depends on how many puzzles the player has chosen to solve, and thus how many victims survived. However, all of them proceed along roughly the same lines: after surviving the puzzle sections, the nameless female discovers a phonograph dangling from the ceiling, which causes the walls of the chamber to begin moving inward as though to squash the protagonist. She passes out, but awakens unharmed and begins to congratulate herself. The protagonist is Justine, who staged the entire experiment to see if she still had any compassion or humanity within herself. Armed with her new-found knowledge, she moves forward into the ending sequence, in which any surviving victims thank her (not realizing she does not intend to free them now that her memory is restored) and, if all three were saved, Justine makes a declaration she herself is still alive, a reference to the videogame Portal.

Characters[edit]

  • Justine Florbelle – Born from Noble blood, Justine is a sociopath who lured and trapped six people underneath her estate. Her sociopathic behavior most likely emanates from being experimented on by her father when he was studying the development of the human psyche. Another possibility is she was born with her sociopathic tendencies which sparked her father's, a psychotherapist, interest in the human psyche and his interest to study her. She has the text-book characteristics of a narcissist. Her mother died when she was very young and she doesn't remember what her mother looked like, though her father says "her beauty was blinding". Justine's father also told her not to be "ashamed" as he was only "trying to fill the void left by mother" (which suggests that her father may have molested her, perhaps multiple times). As an adult she develops an inferiority complex for wanting to be as attractive as her mother. These feelings intensify to where she blinds the Suitors because she has begun to believe her beauty is literally "blinding." Justine is voiced by Emily Corkery.
  • Doctor Victor Fournier – A Doctor sent to diagnose Justine due to her sociopathic behaviors, but is unfortunately captured by Justine. He is the first prisoner to be found in a cell area. Justine can either choose to save him, or to kill him to get a ladder down, helping her to escape the cells. Vincent Fournier is voiced by Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem.
  • Father David – David, as stated by his name, a priest. He is the second prisoner to be found in a library area. Justine may choose to save him, by inserting the correct picture slides on the lever outside Father David's cell, or kill him by pulling the lever repeatedly.
  • Inspector Marot – A Policeman who was sent to Justine's residence to have her imprisoned so Doctor Fournier could diagnose her, but he is instead captured. He's the last prisoner to be found in a flooded dungeon and possibly the hardest prisoner to save, since a tense pursuit between Justine and the third enemy commences here.
  • The Suitors – Justine had three suitors, all of whom she locked away underneath her estate and tortured or had them torture themselves. It is implied that all three men were romantically involved with Justine, and she used this to her advantage when she drugged them with absinthe, abacinated them, and made them part of her Cabinet of Perturbation.
    Suitors are roaming around the castle due to Justine putting them there in the first place (revealed in a loading screen message), to make them a part of the very "psyche testing" she set up for herself. When idle, they make rasping or wheezing sounds, and are the only enemies that speak. Unlike the frighteningly mutilated Grunts and Brutes from The Dark Descent, the suitors are still technically human.
    • Aloïs Racine – Aloïs has a self-destructive fixation with Justine and was voluntarily cutting and self-mutilating in order to prove his mad love for her. From his talking, it is obvious he is still in love with Justine, will speak in a mild-mannered tone even when attacking her. It is implied that Aloïs was a racquet sport player, as Justine can find a racquet in the same room where Aloïs left his blood-written "forgive me" message, and flashback-esque racquet-hitting sounds upon entering the room coupled with grunts that sound like Aloïs's voice. Aloïs is voiced by Scotty Campbell.
    • Basile Giroux – Basile Giroux is the angry one of the three suitors and the second to appear. His rage is justified however and thus Basile appears to have retained the most sanity of the three suitors, and simply wants to exact retribution upon the woman who ruined him. In the bonus phonograph recording the player hears an exchange between him and Justine. Basile regains consciousness after being drugged and finds himself restrained in some strange device. He's clearly not in the mood for Justine's "games" but nevertheless is forced to read from a script she prepared for him which states "her beauty is blinding". At that moment an uncredited weapon or method damages his eyes and he screams. Justine laughs at him and Basile curses her for blinding him and threatens to kill her. He appears in the basement area after completing the library section, whispering threats as he hunts for Justine. When he appears, all the lights in the basement will be blown out, and the door will lock behind you. Basile is voiced by Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem.
    • Malo de Vigny – Malo de Vigny appears to be the insane one of the three Suitors. He was the prisoner of the cell to the right of the first cell block. It was mentioned in notes that Malo was once very talented. He was a violin virtuoso. Before his downward spiral into a mutilated cannibal, Malo got drunk before an evening concert. It was to be a grand premiere of several new arrangements of songs, but Malo was so drunk he couldn't play properly and eventually the audience heckled and booed at him. The stress was too much for young musician, he threw his bow into the audience in frustration and collapsed. He had to be escorted away from the stage by the other suitors, Basile and Aloïs, and got replaced by other violinists. All the while Justine was sitting among the audience seeming very amused by the event. It is believed from rumours in the conservatory his apparent intoxication was entirely her doing. Malo is encountered in the Dungeon area, where Justine may or may not save the third prisoner. He is possibly the hardest to escape from since he is very fast and you cannot hide from him- if the player attempts to do that, Malo will search the entire perimeter of the room until he finds her. Malo is voiced by Jeff Buchanan.

Development[edit]

Work began on the game while Penumbra: Requiem was still being developed, with the company working on both projects at the same time.[12] The game was first known under two working titles: Unknown and Lux Tenebras. It was not until November 13, 2009 that it was announced as its current title, Amnesia, with the release of the game's website and a game trailer.[13][14] Initial designs of the game varied considerably from the final game, with the developers interested in reintroducing more combat elements similar to those utilized in their first commercial title Penumbra: Overture. The developers soon discovered that they encountered many of the same problems and difficulties that plagued the combat in that game however, and the design was further changed to be more similar to the style set out by Overture's sequel Penumbra: Black Plague.[15]

On February 5, 2010 it was announced that the game had reached the alpha stage of development on all platforms.[16][17][18] Two weeks later the developers released a new teaser trailer that showed actual game-play footage, and the developers began accepting pre-orders for the game through their website. Also revealed was that the game was at that point being tested on all three intended platforms. It was also announced that the game would be released simultaneously for all of them in August 2010.[19][20] This was later rescheduled, and the game was then expected to have a September 8, 2010 release.[21] It was then later announced on August 27, 2010 that the game had officially gone Gold and would soon be ready to sold.[22] On September 3, the games demo was released containing selected parts of the gameplay and story. It was then successfully released on September 8, 2010.[23]

If the game reached 2000 pre-orders by May 31, 2010, Frictional promised it would release extra content for the game. The goal was finally met in early May, after the pre-orders were offered at a discount made available until May 31. This was done due to the success of Penumbra: Overture as a part of the first Humble Indie Bundle.[24] The extra content was revealed to be commentary,[25] and they explained in the comments section of the same page that its intended function was similar to that of Valve Software's commentary system that began in the Half-Life 2 series.[26] The authors cite "Soul Made Flesh" by Carl Zimmer and older horror movies such as The Haunting as being inspirations for the mood and style of the game.[27]

Thomas Grip, one of the games main developers, would later write up a post-mortem of the game titled "The Terrifying Tale of Amnesia" for The Escapist, where he outlined in detail the process of the game's development, mostly focusing on its ever changing design and the financial problems that plagued the developers for most of the game's development.[28]

Audio[edit]

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Original Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Mikko Tarmia
Released May 17, 2011 (2011-05-17)
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 34:41
Label The Sound of Fiction

The game's music was composed by Mikko Tarmia and released for download on May 17, 2011.

Downloadable content[edit]

On April 12, 2011 Frictional Games released an extra free level for owners of the Steam version of Amnesia. This additional campaign is set apart from Brennenburg Castle. Justine was released on Steam as a way to promote the upcoming release of Portal 2, as getting 100% on the campaign (all of the collectables, all of the analysis and making correct choices) unlocks a message from fictional company Aperture Science. The content was made available for all of the games supported platforms and versions as part of the Amnesia v1.2 update on May 17, 2011.[8]

Custom stories[edit]

It is possible to create custom stories for Amnesia that can then be loaded in the game.[29] Various tools for the HPL2 Engine have been released that allow the creation of own levels, models, particle effects and materials, using an interface similar to Valve's Hammer Editing Software.[30] Game logic can be implemented using the AngelScript scripting language.[31][32][33]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 86.10%[34]
Metacritic 85/100[35]
Review scores
Publication Score
Adventure Gamers 4.5/5 stars[40]
Eurogamer 8/10[39]
Game Informer 9.25/10[41]
IGN 8.5/10[37]
PC Gamer UK 88%[36]
Igromania 8/10[42]

Amnesia: The Dark Descent has received critical acclaim with consistent praise given for the ominous atmosphere and horror elements. John Walker of Rock, Paper, Shotgun even went as far as to say that "I think it is safe to say that Amnesia is the most successfully frightening game to have been made."[43] X-Play added Amnesia to its top ten PC games saying "There are a lot of so-called "horror" games out there, this one is no joke. You'll be rocking back and forth and crying in no time". Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw of Zero Punctuation similarly praising the horror elements, with the conclusion that the game is "Not a perfect game, but nearly unmatched as a constipation-aid."

Frictional Games did show some trepidation over the game's initial sales after the first week,[44] but were encouraged by continued sales throughout the first month after the game's release, with Frictional recouping all the expenses from creating Amnesia by early October 2010.[45] By the beginning of January 2011 the developer reported that nearly 200,000 units had been sold, declaring in response that "With these figures at hand, we must confess that it gives us new confidence for the PC."[46] The game kept gaining sales and in July 2011 it had sold almost 350,000 units.[47] At the 2011 Independent Games Festival Amnesia won awards for both "Excellence in Audio" and "Technical Excellence" along with the "Direct2Drive Vision Award" which included a $10,000 prize.[4]

A year after the original release of Amnesia, the developers revealed that they had sold around 391,102 units and were continuing to sell about 6000 units per month. They also released details about how much money each platform generated for them by analyzing the sales from their online store, with 70% of sales coming from Windows users and 15% coming from users of Linux and another 15% coming from users of Mac OS X. Frictional did however note that their store was the only place anyone could purchase the Linux version of the game, whereas the Mac OS X and Windows versions could be purchased from other sources, meaning that the total percentage of Linux sales is actually considerably smaller compared to other platforms taken collectively. Observing that their own Mac OS X sales did not go down from their own store even as services like Steam picked up the game for that platform, meaning that it did not steal customers from their store but instead opened up a new market, they decided this makes a good incentive for other stores to support Linux as well.[48] As of September 2012, the games sits at an estimated 1.4 million sales.[49]

Sequel[edit]

An indirect sequel called Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs was released on September 10, 2013,[50] developed by The Chinese Room and published by Frictional Games. The Chinese Room is known for its Source mod Dear Esther, which was later released as a standalone game to critical acclaim. Dan Pinchbeck, writer for The Chinese Room, has stated of the new Amnesia game: "It's not a direct sequel, in terms of it doesn't follow on from the story of Amnesia. It doesn't involve the same characters. The game will be set in an alternate history in the same universe."[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amnesia: The Dark Descent for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  2. ^ a b Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Game Information Frictional Games
  3. ^ a b Amnesia: The Dark Descent – PC Hands On Eurogamer, July 25, 2010
  4. ^ a b . Indie Rock: 2011 IGF Winners Announced Rock, Paper, Shotgun, March 3, 2011
  5. ^ 1C-SoftClub/Snowball to publish Amnesia: The Dark Descent in Russia & Eastern Europe Frictional Games, May 3, 2010 (Article by Jens Nilsson)
  6. ^ Chalk, Andy (2011-02-16). "Amnesia: The Dark Descent Coming to Retail". The Escapist. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  7. ^ Mitchell, Richard (2011-02-16). "THQ places Amnesia: The Dark Descent in a retail box". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  8. ^ a b Bardin, Maxim (2010-11-17). "Amnesia: Justine – Now Available To Everyone". Linux Gaming News. Retrieved 2011-05-18. 
  9. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent gets a free expansion! Frictional Games Blog, April 12, 2011
  10. ^ Interview With Frictional Games – Penumbra/Amnesia (Tgdb.nl) Tgdb Entertainment, May 15, 2010
  11. ^ E3 2010: We talk with Frictional Games about Amnesia: The Dark Descent Big Download, June 19, 2010
  12. ^ Frictional Games On Penumbra And The Future Rock, Paper Shotgun, February 17, 2009
  13. ^ "Amnesia: The Dark Descent Revealed". Blue's News. 2009-11-14. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  14. ^ "Amnesia: The Dark Descent Trailer". GamersHell. 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  15. ^ Interview With Frictional Games – Amnesia Linux Gaming News, November 25, 2009
  16. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent goes alpha LinuxGames, February 7, 2010
  17. ^ Alpha – the beginning of the end! Frictional Games Blog
  18. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent Reaches Alpha Inside Mac Games, February 9, 2010
  19. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Teaser, Web Site & Pre-order Linux Gaming News, February 19, 2010
  20. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Teaser, Web Site and Pre-Order CHARGED, February 19, 2010
  21. ^ Disturbing details regarding the release of "Amnesia: The Dark Descent" revealed! Frictional Games, June 22, 2010
  22. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent Gone Gold Linux Gaming News, August 29, 2010 (Article by Maxim Bardin)
  23. ^ Scary New Horror Adventure Available for Linux Linux Journal, September 13, 2010 (Article by Susan Linton)
  24. ^ Insane Amnesia Discount! Frictional Games, May 5, 2010
  25. ^ "some commentary for the release" Frictional Games, May 11, 2010
  26. ^ "similar to the way HL2ep2 does it" Frictional Games, May 11, 2010
  27. ^ Thomas Grip of Frictional Games Speaks on Amnesia: The Dark Descent With GaeaTimes.com Gadgetophilia; September 15, 2010
  28. ^ The Terrifying Tale of Amnesia The Escapist; July 12, 2011 (Article by Thomas Grip)
  29. ^ In The Games Of Madness: Editors are out! Frictional Games
  30. ^ Tools – HPL2 Documentation Frictional Games
  31. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Addons Mod DB
  32. ^ Amnesia: The Dark Descent – Mods Mod DB
  33. ^ Finished Custom Stories for Download Frictional Games Forum
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  45. ^ One Month after Amnesia's release Frictional Games Blog, October 8, 2010
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External links[edit]