Bendy and the Ink Machine
|Bendy and the Ink Machine|
|Developer(s)||Kindly Beast (Joey Drew Studios Inc.)|
Rooster Teeth Games (consoles)
Bendy and the Ink Machine is an episodic first-person survival horror video game developed and published by Kindly Beast under the name of the game's in-universe animation studio Joey Drew Studios Inc. It was initially released to Game Jolt on February 10, 2017, as the first of five chapters, with a full release on October 27, 2018. A console port published by Rooster Teeth Games was released on November 20, 2018. On December 21, 2018, a mobile port was released for iOS and Android.
The game follows Henry Stein, a retired animator who returns to his old animation studio Joey Drew Studios from the 1930s after an invitation from his old employer Joey Drew, 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 massive 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 spin-off, 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 features a mixture of puzzle solving, environment exploration and combat to aid Henry on his journey through the darkened halls of 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 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, pipe, plunger, or scythe. There are also long-range weapons such as a tommy gun or bacon soup cans. 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. Failure to do so will result in a death. 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 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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Chapter 1: Moving Pictures
In August 1966, retired animator Henry Stein receives a letter from his former friend and employer, Joey Drew, asking him to return to their animation studio and see something important. He finds the studio abandoned, but discovers an "ink machine", installed sometime after Henry's departure 30 years earlier. He finds a tape recording by janitor Wally Franks that suggests Joey engaged in bizarre occult practices while making the machine, as well as a mutilated real-life analogue of Boris the Wolf, one of the studio's cartoon characters. Once Henry fixes and starts the machine, he is attacked by a creature known as "Ink Bendy" that looks like an evil version of studio mascot Bendy. As the studio begins to fill with ink, Henry flees toward the exit, only for the floor to collapse and drop him into the studio's lower levels. Draining the ink from this area, he finds a chamber whose floor is marked with strange diagrams. He hallucinates seeing the ink machine, a wheelchair, and then Ink Bendy before passing out.
Chapter 2: The Old Song
Henry wakes up and begins to search for a way out, eventually reaching the music department. Henry finds a stairwell leading to the exit, but the entrance is flooded with ink. While looking for a way to drain it, he is attacked by ink creatures known as the Searchers; once they are defeated, Henry enters the office of Sammy Lawrence, the studio's musical director. After completing several tasks to drain the ink, Henry hurries toward the exit but is attacked by Sammy, whose body has been transformed into ink. Sammy intends to sacrifice Henry to Ink Bendy in order to become a human again, but before he can do so, he is dragged away by Ink Bendy and presumably killed. Henry frees himself and flees through the studio, pursued by Ink Bendy. Barricading himself behind a door, he waits until Ink Bendy has left and then meets a living, intact Boris, called Buddy Boris.
Chapter 3: Rise and Fall
Henry befriends Buddy Boris, and the two leave the latter's safehouse to continue searching for an exit. In the toy department, they find another ink creature called Twisted Alice who is a distorted version of actress Susie Campbell and the good character Alice Angel. Twisted Alice leads them to her lair and reveals that she has been harvesting the ink of other characters in order to make herself beautiful. Henry must perform several tasks for Twisted Alice in order for her to let him and Buddy Boris go free, learning from tape recordings that Susie became bitter when Joey suddenly replaced her with another actress, Allison Pendle. Angry and bitter over her dismissal, Susie allowed the ink to transform her into Twisted Alice. As Henry carries out Twisted Alice's tasks, he must hide from both Ink Bendy and the Projectionist, an entity of projector operator Norman Polk. Henry completes the tasks and boards a lift to escape with Buddy Boris, but Twisted Alice forces it to crash to the bottom of its shaft and suddenly kidnaps Buddy Boris by force, pulling him into the darkness.
Chapter 4: Colossal Wonders
Climbing out of the crashed lift, Henry ventures deeper into the studio in search of Buddy Boris and finds a lounge filled with the Lost Ones, ink creatures who show no hostility. He also discovers that Joey had been planning to open a Bendy-themed amusement park called Bendy Land with the help of famed ride designer Bertrum Piedmont. In order to reach Buddy Boris, Henry must restore power to the haunted house attraction by finding and flipping a series of switches hidden throughout a warehouse filled with rides, games, and props from the planned park. He must overcome a series of challenges in the process, one of which requires him to destroy a ride containing Bertrum's still-living, ink-corrupted head. Entering the haunted house, Henry discovers that Twisted Alice has turned him into a deformed, hulking beast called Brute Boris and ordered him to kill Henry. The two fight, with Henry ultimately killing Brute Boris and freeing Buddy Boris' spirit. Twisted Alice tries to kill Henry herself, but is suddenly impaled through the back with a sword by Allison Angel, a physically intact and sane duplicate of Alice who is accompanied by a wolf character named Tom. Allison and Tom are the respective reincarnations of Allison Pendle and Thomas Connor, another studio employee.
Chapter 5: The Last Reel
Allison and Tom hold Henry captive, but he eventually gains Allison's trust and she gives him a "seeing tool" that allows him to see hidden messages on the walls. After Tom inadvertently reveals the location of their hideout to Ink Bendy, he and Allison abandon Henry and flee. Henry escapes on his own and crosses a river of ink on a paddleboat, reaching a shantytown built by the Lost Ones. There, Henry is attacked by Sammy, shown to still be alive and blinded by rage, thinking Henry is Ink Bendy. Unmasked by Henry, Sammy tries to kill him, only for Tom to kill Sammy instead by cleaving his skull by Lodging an axe in his head. After Tom gains Henry's trust, Tom and Allison aid Henry in fighting off the Searchers and Lost Ones, who had been kept at bay by Sammy, and Henry falls into the administrative offices. After completing a puzzle, by killing The Butcher Gang, enemies that Twisted Alice told Henry to kill back in Chapter 3. Henry finds Tom and Allison. Henry learns that Ink Bendy has stolen something important from the film vault and enters his lair — a much vaster version of the ink machine — to retrieve it. Allison and Tom remain behind, fearing that the ink will absorb and corrupt them. Inside, Henry finds one last tape recording by Joey, expressing his regret for everything that has happened and asking Henry to destroy Bendy. Henry finds the stolen item, a film reel marked "The End." Ink Bendy chases him throughout the machine while transforming into a giant monster, Beast Bendy. Henry eventually plays the reel, projecting a "The End" title card on every available screen and causing Beast Bendy to disintegrate when he sees it.
The game suddenly changes to a flashback in the inside of Joey's home, with a bulletin board covered with letters from Allison Pendle, now married to Thomas Connor, and Wally Franks as well as sketches such as Bendy Land. Entering the kitchen, Henry finds Joey waiting to talk to him about the paths they took in their lives. After Joey tells to Henry visit the studio, Henry exits the house and finds himself immediately entering it, repeating his opening lines from Chapter 1. It is presumed that Henry and all of the studio's employees, now ink monsters and ink characters are trapped in a time loop of unknown origin.
In a post-credits scene, the camera focuses on a framed portrait of Bendy, Boris and Alice, which was a gift from Henry to congratulate Joey for his success (alongside a rusty ink machine sitting in one corner of the room). Just then, a little girl's voice asks "Uncle Joey" to tell her another story, implying that the entire game was merely a story Joey was telling his niece.
Characters and voice cast
- Henry Stein: A former animator at Joey Drew Studios, who has returned there thirty years after leaving his job. Voiced by theMeatly.
- Joey Drew: The co-founder and director of Joey Drew Studios, who went bankrupt prior to the events of the game. Voiced by David Eddings.
- Wally Franks: The relaxed former janitor of Joey Drew Studios. Wally is the first character heard in the game other than Henry, and is the only recurring character to feature in all five chapters. Voiced by theMeatly.
- Thomas Connor: A mechanical engineer collaborating with Joey Drew Studios, who works for an outside company called Gent. Voiced by Mike Mood.
- Sammy Lawrence: The insane and fanatical music director of Joey Drew Studios. Voiced by Aaron Landon.
- Norman Polk: The studio’s elusive and observant projectionist. Voiced by theMeatly.
- Susie Campbell: The original voice actress of Alice Angel, who became increasingly obsessed with her character. Voiced by Alanna Linayre.
- Jack Fain: The music department’s former lyricist. Voiced by Bookpast.
- Shawn Flynn: An Irish merchandise worker collaborating with the studio on a toy franchise. Voiced by Seán "Jacksepticeye" McLoughlin.
- Alice Angel: One of the main characters of the Bendy cartoons, she appears in-game as a deformed, antagonistic version of herself. Voiced by Lauren Synger.
- Grant Cohen: Joey Drew’s exasperated head accountant. Voiced by Will "DAGames" Ryan.
- Bertrum Piedmont: The creator of the Bendy-themed amusement park "Bendyland", who resented his informal treatment by Joey Drew. Voiced by Joe J. Thomas.
- Lacie Benton: An engineer working under Bertrum Piedmont. Voiced by Lani Minella.
- Allison Angel: A non-threatening form of Alice Angel who appears to have been trapped in the studio for some time. Voiced by Lauren Synger.
Additionally, there are multiple characters in the game with no featured dialogue:
- Ink Bendy: A vicious and deformed incarnation of Bendy, the most popular character of the Joey Drew Studios cartoons.
- Boris the Wolf: A secondary character from the Bendy cartoons, who appears in-game as Henry’s companion in Chapter 3.
- The Butcher Gang: The "Piper", the "Fisher" and the "Striker", who are demonic forms of minor characters from the Bendy cartoons.
- The Projectionist: Takes the form of an ink-covered human with a film projector for a head.
- The Searchers: A group of human-like ink creatures who attack Henry throughout the game.
- The Lost Ones: Similar in appearance to the Searchers, they are not always hostile and appear to be sentient. A specific Lost One is voiced by Joe J. Thomas.
- The Swollen Searchers: Enlarged and passive forms of the Searchers, they are not hostile unless provoked. They are notable for being a source of ink throughout the game.
- Tom: A form of Boris the Wolf who seems to have an affinity for mechanical work.
The idea for Bendy and the Ink Machine came from theMeatly pondering the idea of a world that resembled a cartoon sketch. As he started developing the idea, he realized that it felt "creepy" and needed a monster that inhabited it. Bendy was created to be that monster, but did not have a name. When the character finally received a 3D model, the name was chosen from a typo while saving it in a 3D modeling program, Blender. theMeatly was not a programmer and thus Mike Mood joined the production as he saw potential in the game. Bendy and the Ink Machine was inspired by the BioShock series.
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports were developed and published by Rooster Teeth Games, originally intended to be released on October 26, 2018, while the Nintendo Switch port was scheduled to release on November 20, 2018, but both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One's release dates were pushed to the same date for Nintendo Switch's release. On December 15, 2018, a mobile port was announced by theMeatly and Joey Drew Studios Inc., and it was released on December 21, 2018.
While the game was highly acclaimed by the community, the critic reviews are largely mixed, with praise for the story and visuals, but criticism for the game play. with aggregating review website GameRankings assigning the PlayStation 4 port a score of 77.50%, the Xbox One for 75.00%, and Nintendo Switch for 65.00%, but the original PC port was not received yet. The critic review from Metacritic was not received yet. It was praised for 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. The game has received the "Best Horror Game" award by IGN and is listed as #1 in "18 Best Horror Games of 2017", while its percent score didn't receive from the site yet. The mobile port received the "Game of the Day" award on February 23, 2019.
A mobile spin-off called Bendy in Nightmare Run was announced on January 26, 2018. It was released on the App Store on August 15, 2018 and on the Google Play Store on September 27, 2018. The game is an endless runner style game involving the player characters of either Bendy, Boris, or Alice collecting Bacon Soup while running away from large bosses chasing the player character.
A spin-off called Boris and the Dark Survival was released on February 10, 2020, on Bendy and the Ink Machine's 3-year anniversary. The game is a prequel, taking place before the first chapter of the original game. It revolves around Boris the Wolf searching through the different levels of Joey Drew Studios looking for supplies for his safehouse while escaping Ink Bendy, Twisted Alice, the Projectionist, the Butcher Gang, or Borkis, a yellow-eyed version of Boris.
Another game, Bendy and the Dark Revival, was announced on April 14, 2019. A gameplay trailer was released on June 24, 2019, announcing the game's release for Fall 2019. However, in December 2019, a new trailer was released to say that the game was being delayed and will release sometime in 2020. Another trailer was released on June 1, 2020, revealing that the game would be released in its entirety with all five chapters included, unlike the first game which was released episodically. The trailer also suggested the game would come out in the latter half of 2020.
- theMeatly (15 September 2018). "What's happening to TheMeatly Games?! BIG NEWS... AGAIN! :D" – via YouTube.
- "Bendy and the Ink Machine". Bendy and the Ink Machine.
- "The Co-Creator of Bendy and the Ink Machine Talks Accidental Success".
- Villasenor-Baca, Antonio (February 10, 2018). "Ink Demons & the Indie Canadian Game Scene: An Interview with 'Bendy and the Ink Machine' Programmer, Mike Mood". Con Safos Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "Creaing a Monster: Bendy and the Ink Machine" - Gamereactor
- THE END IS HERE | Bendy And The Ink Machine - Chapter 5 (END), retrieved 2020-08-10
- "Bendy and the Ink Machine for PS4 Reviews". Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- "Bendy and the Ink Machine for Xbox One Reviews". Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- "Bendy and the Ink Machine for Switch Reviews". Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- "Bendy And The Ink Machine Review (Switch)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- Bendy and the Ink Machine for PlayStation 4 - GameRankings
- Bendy and the Ink Machine for Xbox One - GameRankings
- Bendy and the Ink Machine for Nintendo Switch - GameRankings
- Bendy and the Ink Machine for PC - GameRankings
- IGN - 18 Best Horror Games of 2017
- Apple - Terrifying Toons: App Store Story
- "BENDY IN NIGHTMARE RUN ANNOUNCED FOR MOBILE PHONE". January 26, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
- "BENDY IN NIGHTMARE RUN - AUG 15". August 5, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
- "BENDY IN NIGHTMARE RUN IS UP AND RUNNING TODAY!". August 15, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
- "Bendy and the Dark Revival - Official Chapter Update Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
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