Frictional Games

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Frictional Games AB
Private
IndustryVideo games
Founded1 January 2007; 13 years ago (2007-01-01) in Helsingborg, Sweden
Founders
  • Thomas Grip
  • Jens Nilsson
Headquarters,
Sweden
Key people
Products
Number of employees
25 (2019)
Websitefrictionalgames.com

Frictional Games AB is a Swedish independent video game developer based in Malmö, founded in January 2007 by Thomas Grip and Jens Nilsson. The company specialises in the development of survival horror games with very little or no combat gameplay mechanics. It is best known for its games Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Soma.

History[edit]

Frictional Games was founded by Thomas Grip and Jens Nilsson.[1] Before founding the company, both had little professional experience in the video game industry, having only had done some freelance jobs.[1] The two began co-operating when Nilsson joined Grip on Unbirth, a hobby project that was later cancelled.[2] They subsequently collaborated on other projects and formally established Frictional on 1 January 2007.[2] The company was established in Helsingborg, Sweden, although most members worked remotely from other parts of Europe.[3] Frictional's first game was Penumbra: Overture, based on a tech demo titled Penumbra and released in 2007.[4][5] It was originally planned to be the first episode in a trilogy, however, due to problems with publisher Lexicon Entertainment, Frictional shifted to a partnership with Paradox Interactive.[5] Under Paradox, the two remaining games in the trilogy were released as one game under the title Penumbra: Black Plague in 2008, followed by an additional expansion pack titled Penumbra: Requiem the same year.[5] The series was financially successful but suffered from several issues that Frictional held Paradox Interactive responsible for.[6]

Over an exactly three-year-long timespan, Frictional created and self-published Amnesia: The Dark Descent.[7][8] The game was released on 8 September 2010 to generally favourable reviews, however, Frictional noted that it expected the game to struggle becoming popular and profitable given its lack of a third-party publisher.[9] Amnesia: The Dark Descent sold 36,000 copies within its first month of release,[10] and a total of 1,360,000 copies within the first two years, earning the company a total revenue of about US$3.6 million in contrast to their US$360,000 development budget.[11] According to Nilsson, the Frictional team did not know how to continue the Amnesia series and feared that a misattempted Amnesia game would "fail miserably".[12] Instead, the team opted to draft The Chinese Room as a third-party developer to develop a second game, giving them advice on the horror aspects, while The Chinese Room was responsible for the plot and gameplay development.[12] The game, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, was released by Frictional in 2013.[13]

During the time of A Machine for Pigs' development, Frictional itself started working on a new game, which eventually became Soma, announced shortly after the release of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.[14] Soma was self-released by Frictional on 22 September 2015 to generally favourable reviews and initial sales higher than those of Amnesia: The Dark Descent within the first days: Soma sold 92,000 units within ten days (in contrast to the 10,000 first-week sales of Amnesia: The Dark Descent),[15] and 450,000 units in its first year (in contrast to the 390,000 first-year sales of Amnesia: The Dark Descent).[16]

In 2016, Frictional Games announced that it began the production of two new, yet unannounced games, as a result of the high profitability of Soma.[17] By 2019, it also planned to start pre-production on a third unannounced game.[3] In August 2017, Frictional moved from Helsingborg to new offices on Stora Nygatan in Malmö.[18] Around this time, the company had 16 employees.[19] The Malmö offices housed half of its 25 staff members.[3] Amnesia: Rebirth, a follow-up to The Dark Descent, was announced with a trailer in March 2020 and is set to be released later that year.[20]

HPL Engine[edit]

The HPL Engine is Frictional's in-house game engine. It is named after writer H. P. Lovecraft.[21] The first iteration of the engine, HPL Engine 1, was used for the Penumbra series. This iteration was released as open-source software on 12 May 2010, with most of the code licensed under the GPL Version 3 licence.[22]

Games[edit]

Year Title Developed Published Platform(s)
2007 Penumbra: Overture Yes No[a] Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
2008 Penumbra: Black Plague Yes No[a] Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
Penumbra: Requiem Yes No[a] Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows
2010 Amnesia: The Dark Descent Yes Yes Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2013 Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs No[b] Yes Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2015 Soma Yes Yes Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2020 Amnesia: Rebirth Yes TBA Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4
  1. ^ a b c Published by Paradox Interactive.
  2. ^ Developed by The Chinese Room.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rose, Mike (1 February 2011). "Road To The IGF: Thomas Grip of Frictional Games Talks Amnesia". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 10 April 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Pickering, Chris (21 October 2010). "The Making of Frictional Games". Bit-Tech. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "About Frictional". Frictional Games. 20 December 2019.
  4. ^ Reed, Ashley (18 September 2015). "The creators of Amnesia want to fix what Resident Evil and Silent Hill broke". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on 31 October 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Alexander, Leigh (30 October 2008). "Interview: How Frictional Games Does Frightening Without Fighting". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 10 April 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  6. ^ Walker, John (17 February 2009). "Frictional Games On Penumbra And The Future". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  7. ^ Graft, Kris (8 May 2014). "Four ways to design for horror, from Amnesia dev Frictional Games". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  8. ^ Paget, Mat (22 January 2017). "How Resident Evil became the 'guiding light' for SOMA and Amnesia". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  9. ^ Mattas, Jeff (17 September 2010). "Frictional Games Examines Amnesia: The Dark Descent's Awesome Reception and Decent Sales". Shacknews. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  10. ^ Mattas, Jeff (25 October 2010). "Amnesia Developers Discuss Sales, Piracy, and Future of Frictional Games". Shacknews. Archived from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  11. ^ Weber, Rachel (11 September 2012). "Amnesia earns Frictional Games over $3.6 million". GamesIndustry.biz. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  12. ^ a b Rose, Mike (10 September 2013). "Why Frictional passed Amnesia to Dear Esther's developer". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  13. ^ McElroy, Griffin (22 February 2012). "Amnesia follow-up coming from Frictional Games and Dear Esther developer". Polygon. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  14. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (11 October 2013). "SOMA debut trailer released by Frictional Games, out on PC and PS4 in 2015". VG247. Archived from the original on 19 February 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (1 October 2015). "PS4/PC Horror Game SOMA Sells 92k Copies, Enough to Pay Bills for Two Years". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  16. ^ Favis, Elise (26 September 2016). "Soma Turns A Profit After Selling Nearly Half A Million Copies". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 30 August 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  17. ^ Bertz, Matt (24 March 2016). "With Soma Approaching Profitability, Frictional Games Expands Scope To Two New Projects". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  18. ^ Wahlstedt, Sally (10 August 2017). "Malmös spelvärld växer – hyllad studio öppnar kontor vid Hansa" [Malmö's gaming world is growing - acclaimed studio opens office at Hansa]. Sydsvenskan (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  19. ^ Chalk, Andy (28 September 2017). "Soma studio's next game is in full production and will be 'horrific'". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 22 August 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  20. ^ Carpenter, Nicole (6 March 2020). "Amnesia: Rebirth, a direct sequel to the original, coming this fall". Polygon.
  21. ^ Moser, AJ (16 August 2016). "How H.P. Lovecraft's Horror Crafted A Subgenre Of Video Games". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 23 August 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  22. ^ Frictional Games (12 May 2010). "FrictionalGames/HPL1Engine: A real time 3D engine". GitHub. Archived from the original on 8 June 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2017.

External links[edit]