Bendy and the Ink Machine
|Bendy and the Ink Machine|
|Developer(s)||Joey Drew Studios Inc.|
|Publisher(s)||Joey Drew Studios Inc.|
Rooster Teeth Games (Consoles)
Bendy and the Ink Machine (often abbreviated to BATIM) is an episodic survival horror video game developed and published by Joey Drew Studios Inc. It was initially released to Game Jolt on February 10, 2017, as the first of five chapters (excluding the bonus chapter), with a full release on October 27, 2018. A console port published by Rooster Teeth Games was released on November 20, 2018, exclusively through GameStop.
The game follows Henry Stein, a retired animator who returns to his old studio after an invitation from his old employer and discovers a nightmare of cartoon characters seemingly brought to life by the titular Ink Machine.
Bendy and the Ink Machine was well received upon its initial release, with praise centering on its vintage aesthetic and story. In the months following its release, it quickly gained a cult following from exposure on platforms like YouTube and Twitch, and eventually was approved through Steam Greenlight in mid-2017. Merchandise, as well as a mobile spinoff, was later introduced to further promote the game. Mike Mood, the game's programmer and co-creator, described the game as an "accidental success".
Bendy and the Ink Machine is a survival horror game that uses a mixture of puzzle solving, environment exploration and combat to aid Henry on his journey through Joey Drew Studios. Players explore through a first-person view and have limited physical actions such as running and jumping. Different items can be collected, some of which are required to perform various tasks before proceeding. Cans of bacon soup, a reference to the game's creator theMeatly and his partner Mike Mood, can also be collected for both achievements and to restore Henry's health if he is injured.
Combat is primarily focused around a variety of different melee-based weapons, such as an axe or a pipe. In-game enemies all have different strength levels and resilience to damage, forcing players to be tactical about keeping out of reach and striking when necessary. Henry can retreat inside Little Miracle Stations whenever enemies are nearby in order to recover or remain out of sight. If he takes too much damage, he can escape from the ink that consumes him and respawn at one of the numerous statues of Bendy that act as checkpoints.
In addition, players can find numerous audio logs throughout the studio that give more details about the game's story, particularly concerning about the fate of the studio and its employees, similar to the systems used in games such as BioShock. Some of these logs can be missed and require further exploration to uncover the secret areas they often reside in.
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Henry Stein returns to his old animation studio, Joey Drew Studios, after receiving an invitation from his old employer Joey Drew to be shown something important, finding the titular Ink Machine. During the attempt to repair and turn it on, he uncovers old tape recordings that imply that Joey was taking part in bizarre occult practices while making the Machine. After completing the steps to fix it, Henry is suddenly attacked by a monster who resembles the studio's mascot Bendy. Henry tries to escape as the workshop floods with ink. When he reaches the EXIT door the floor beneath him collapses, sending him into the depths below, flooded with ink. After draining the Ink and finding an axe, he then passes out in a room with a pentagram. Henry wakes up, then he explores the studio for a way out, encountering hostile ink monsters. He learns that Sammy Lawrence, the musical director for the studio, started to worship Bendy as a deity after the Machine's installation. After draining a stairwell to escape, Henry is knocked out from behind by the now-insane Sammy. Hoping that his "Lord" will restore his humanity, Sammy plots to sacrifice Henry to Bendy as an offering, but the ritual fails when Sammy is attacked and apparently killed by Bendy. Henry flees and encounters a living version of Boris the Wolf, and the pair escape to a safe house.
Deciding to try to find a way out, the pair enter the studio's toy department where they encounter another ink creature who resembles the character Alice Angel, implied to be made from the character's actress, Susie Campbell. Henry follows Alice down to her lair where she explains she has been harvesting the body parts of other ink monsters to improve her deformed appearance, offering him his freedom in exchange for a few 'favours'. During these tasks, Henry frequently encounters "Bendy" wandering the halls, corrupted versions of the Butcher Gang characters, and another creature called the Projectionist, implied to be created from the studio's projectionist Norman Polk. When every task is complete, Henry and Boris are allowed to ascend in an elevator to escape, but Alice proclaims she wants to use Boris to fix herself and makes it crash. As Boris tries to wake Henry, he is suddenly pulled away by Alice into the darkness. Henry climbs out of the remains of the crashed elevator to search for Boris, passing through the studio's archives and discovering a gathering of more ink creatures named the Lost Ones, implied to be some of the studio's former employees desperate to go home. Henry eventually finds himself in a large underground warehouse that houses prototypes for a Bendy theme park, "Bendy Land", created by park designer Bertrum Piedmont. He begins restoring power to the warehouse to access the haunted house where Boris is being kept, encountering a monstrous version of Bertrum encased within an amusement attraction in the process. He also crosses paths with the Projectionist again but Bendy appears and kills the creature, appearing to save him. Eventually getting inside the haunted house, Henry discovers Boris is now a hulking monster thanks to Alice, and is forced to kill him. An enraged Alice tries to kill Henry herself, only to be run through by a sword from behind belonging to a second Alice Angel and another clone of Boris with a mechanical arm.
Allison and Tom, the Alice and Boris clones, lock Henry in their hideout, unsure of what he is. After some time in captivity, Henry gains their trust enough to be given the Seeing Tool, a looking glass that can reveal hidden messages left behind by someone else trying to escape the studio. After Bendy discovers the hideout, Henry escapes and uses a paddle-boat to cross a river of ink, finding a town made by the ink creatures. Sammy, having survived his encounter with Bendy, attacks Henry in a rage, brandishing a fireman's axe, blaming the former for his encounter with Bendy. Henry puts forth a brave defense, and manages to force Sammy's mask off, causing him to feign embarrassment, only to Catch Henry off-guard and prepares to behead him, but is killed by Tom. After fighting off Sammy's followers with Allison and Tom, Henry is separated from them after falling into the studio's administration offices. With more hidden messages telling him to get something inside the studio's Film Vault, Henry discovers more audio logs that tell the truth about the studio's downfall. It it revealed that Joey ordered the Machine's construction after the studio began to run into financial difficulty with the declining sales of the Bendy cartoons, creating it from equal parts of engineering and magic. The hope was to run the studio's cartoon film reels through the Machine in order to create real-life cartoon attractions that people could interact with. The first attempt at doing this resulted in "Bendy", rejected as an abomination because of his lack of a soul, after which Joey decided to use the souls of his employees to create better attractions, resulting in the ink creatures and the studio's bankruptcy.
Henry opens up the Vault after reuniting with Allison and Tom, where another hidden message reveals that "Bendy" has taken something from it. Henry decides to venture into "Bendy's" lair, the Ink Machine itself, to recover the item, where he finds a tape left behind by Joey. The studio owner explains the only thing that can truly defeat "Bendy" is "The End", a reel of film and the object stolen by the creature, who suddenly appears and transforms into his true form -an enormous ink beast- to stop Henry from playing it. Evading the demon's attacks, Henry is able to insert "The End" into a projector where "Beast Bendy" is forced to watch it and disintegrates. The game then suddenly switches from the studio to the inside of a home (implied to be a flashback that takes place before the game itself), covered in letters and sketches related to characters and events from earlier in the game. Henry goes to the kitchen, where he finds an elderly Joey waiting to talk to him. As the old studio owner talks of how they took two different paths to get to this point, Joey tells Henry that he should visit the old workshop as he has something to show him. When Henry opens the door, he finds himself entering the studio at the beginning of the game, repeating his opening lines.
In a post-credits scene, the camera focuses on an image of Bendy, Boris, and Alice by Henry who gifted it to Joey for the success of the characters. With the sight of a rusted Ink Machine in the corner, a young girl's voice asks "Uncle Joey" to tell her another story. This implies that the entire game is actually a story that Joey is telling to his niece.
The playable character and protagonist is Henry Stein (theMeatly), a former animator of Joey Drew Studios, who returns to the studio thirty years after resigning from the company. The game is played through a first-person narrative.
Joey Drew (David Eddings), the CEO of the studio, invites Henry back to the studio. He introduced the Ink Machine to the studio, exhibiting peculiar behavior around it. Joey is described as a "man of ideas, but nothing else" by Henry. Other characters view him as an unethical employer and demanding perfectionist, uncaring towards the working conditions of his colleagues. Though acting like an eccentric dreamer, Chapter 4 proves this is just a ruse via a recording, Joey is actually portrayed as a cynical, greedy individual only concerned with his own success by drawing people in with his false promise of fulfilling their dreams. TheMeatly described Joey's greatest and worst flaw as his "unending desire to make the impossible possible."
Other members of the studio's staff are introduced via audio recordings. These include Wally Franks (theMeatly), the studio janitor; Thomas Connor (Mike Mood), a repairman who built the Ink Machine; Sammy Lawrence (Aaron Landon), the musical director, who serves as an antagonist in Chapter 2, worshipping Bendy as a deity and returning in Chapter 5; Jack Fain (Bookpast), a lyricist, turned into a "swollen" Searcher in the remastered Chapter 2; projector operator Norman Polk (theMeatly), transformed into a monster called the "Projectionist", appearing in Chapters 3 and 4, a character that was almost left out of the final version of the third chapter due to time restraints; accountant Grant Cohen (Will Ryan); Shawn Flynn (Seán McLoughlin), an Irish toy designer; Bertrum Piedmont (Joe J. Thomas), a theme park architect, who appears as a boss in Chapter 4; engineer Lacie Benton (Lani Minella); and the voice actresses of the character Alice Angel, Susie Campbell (Alanna Linayre), and her replacement Allison Pendle (Lauren Synger).
Susie plays a major antagonistic role in Chapters 3 and 4, appearing as a malevolent, deformed version of the character Alice Angel. Through audio recordings, Susie is revealed to have been unceremoniously replaced with Allison as Alice's voice actress, causing her to blame Joey for deceiving her. Susie kills numerous cartoon characters and harvests their innards to become a "perfect" incarnation of herself, and specifically targets Boris the Wolf. Allison appears in Chapter 4 and 5 as a heroic version of Alice, referred to as "Allison Angel".
Throughout the game, Henry encounters numerous staff members, transformed into monsters made from ink, or resembling the studio's animated characters. A number of these appear in Chapter 4, referred to as the "Lost Ones", but show no hostility towards the player, though turn antagonistic in Chapter 5 after Sammy's death. The stock enemy in the game are the "Searchers", though other variants appear in boss battles.
The studio has created several in-universe cartoon characters who starred in silent animated shorts. The titular character is Bendy, the studio mascot, who appears as a recurring antagonist towards Henry throughout the game. Bendy's name was in fact a typo, created when the 3D modeling program, Blender, saved the character's model with the name. The fifth chapter revealed the antagonistic Bendy was a soulless, experimental creation of the Ink Machine to create real cartoon characters, and is the only incarnation of Bendy born from the machine.
Boris appears as several individual characters in the game. In Chapter 2, the player meets a benevolent version of Boris, who accompanies Henry throughout Chapter 3. Several other copies of Boris are found dead in the first and third chapters, used by Susie to achieve her "perfection". She captures Boris at the end of the third chapter, reintroducing him in a new, monstrous and aggressive form in Chapter 4, forcing the player to battle him in a boss fight. Another mechanized Boris appears at the end of Chapter 4 and in Chapter 5, named "Tom", accompanying Allison, implied to be Thomas Connor. The aforementioned Alice Angel debuts in Chapter 2, who theMeatly describes as "quite the gal". Chapter 3 introduced the Butcher Gang, a trio of characters who act as antagonists to Bendy in his cartoon shorts - Charley, an unidentified humanoid; Barley, a sailor; and Edgar, a spider. They appear as antagonists in Chapters 3 onwards as mutilated ink-corrupted versions of themselves, named "Piper", "Fisher" and "Striker", respectively. on
Official videos for a series of animated shorts based on Bendy and the Ink Machine have been released from theMeatly's YouTube channel, with animation done by animator Timethehobo. The first animated short, Tombstone Picnic, was released as part of the Chapter Three reveal trailer on August 11, 2017. The second short, Haunted Hijinx, was uploaded on October 31, 2017, to celebrate Halloween. The third short, Snow Sillies, was uploaded on December 24, 2017, in celebration of the holiday season.
A Halloween crossover mod, Hello Bendy, was released for the game on October 27, 2017, for a limited time, featuring the Hello Neighbor antagonist who takes the role as Bendy in all previous three chapters and even Sammy Lawrence for Chapter 2. The mod's menu features the advertisement of pre-ordering the game Hello Neighbor. The mod expired by the end of October that year.
Bendy in Nightmare Run!
A mobile spin-off, titled Bendy in Nightmare Run!, was announced on January 26, 2018 and was released on Android and iOS on August 15, 2018. Developed by Karman Interactive in partnership with theMeatly Games, Ltd. and PhatMojo, the game introduces the cartoon Bendy and his co-stars in an endless running-style game, featuring four levels with a different "boss" cartoon monster, as well as collectible items and power-ups, including bacon soup cans that act as currency to buy abilities and upgrades, and possible future updates.
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- theMeatly (2017-08-11), "Bendy and the Ink Machine: Chapter Three" – Reveal Trailer 2017, retrieved 2018-01-05
- theMeatly (2017-10-31), Bendy in "Haunted Hijinx" – A Joey Drew Short, retrieved 2018-01-05
- @batimgame (7 Oct 2017). "HELLO BENDY has arrived for Halloween! Play both games for some spooky surprises. ;) store.steampowered.com/app/521890/Hello_Neighbor/ … store.steampowered.com/app/622650/Bendy_and_the_Ink_Machine/ …" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Bendy Co-Creator Talks Cuphead Crossover +MORE, Interview w/ BATIM's Mike Mood". YouTube. The Leaderboard. 8 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- @BendyRun (January 26, 2018). "SURPRISE! :) There's a new #Bendy game …FOR YOUR PHONE!! :) #BendyinNightmareRun #BINR bendy.run" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- @BendyRun (January 27, 2018). "An Official Bendy Action Packed Boss Runner coming to your iOS and Android devices soon! #BINR #BendyInNightmareRun bendy.run" (Tweet) – via Twitter.