First look at Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Has Penumbra’s philosophy of ‘understated horror’ guided Amnesia’s development?

Using the player’s imagination instead of just showing things “in bright light” is something of a rule for us. One can never create graphics that will compare to what a player’s imagination can conjure up.

Playing sounds instead of using visuals and hinting at horrors instead of experiencing them directly are examples of the tricks we use. It isn’t always easy to do, but when it works it has an extremely powerful effect.

Are your games still being published by Paradox?

No. We are 100% independent now! All money that has gone into the project, apart from a grant we received, has been from our own pockets!

Will there be any references to Penumbra in Amnesia, or is it an entirely different world?

There will be no crossovers in terms of storylines other than extremely minor stuff that fans of Penumbra might catch. Players that have never played Penumbra will lose nothing in terms of story when playing Amnesia.

After experimenting in Penumbra: Requiem, are you going back to basics with this game?

We definitely learned a lot from Requiem [an expansion for Penumbra: Black Plague focused almost exclusively on puzzle-solving], mainly that you should never change the way a game is played and still give it the same name.

We don’t think we made a bad game with Requiem, but we made something that was almost the opposite of what players thought it would be, and hence they were extremely disappointed. Also, we used our technology in ways for which it was not originally intended, resulting in poor performance on some systems. We promise never to repeat these mistakes!

Penumbra featured electronics. Will Amnesia will have a different focus?

We’ve changed computers to cog wheels, steam machines and that kind of apparatus. It’s been challenging to come up with good puzzles that fit the story when there are no computers available. Keypads make great puzzle elements. That said, it also forces you to think in different ways and has hopefully made us come up with more interesting ideas, rather than simply reusing things seen in previous games.

Will there be more dog-monsters?

One never knows what might lurk behind a dark corner...

Apr 29, 2010