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Amnesia Postmortem

Amnesia postmortem on the Frictional Games Website reflecting on the first week of availability of the survival horror game from the creators of the Penumbra series (thanks joao). The post outlines a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that, as is reflected by comments in the forums here, the game has been very well received, both by critics, and by gamers, as reviews from both have even exceeded their optimistic expectations. The bad news is that sales of the game are trailing a little below the level they need to remain in business, expressing concern that a day 0 pirate version of the game was available 24 hours before its retail release, as apparently some unscrupulous website leaked their review copy. Here's part of their assessment of this situation: "This is of course not all the income we will make from the game, but is still a bit discouraging when comparing to recent XBLA releases and similar. So why is [sic] not sales [sic] higher? Piracy? People waiting for future massive discounted sales? Game too scary / niched? Right now we have not got a clue, but hopefully it will become clearer further on." Here's their conclusion:

On almost all fronts, we area extremely pleased with this release. It has in many ways exceeded our expectations and it makes all the hard work, pay cuts, etc worth it in the end.

The most distressing thing is the sales though. Even though we are far from complaining, it feels like we do not have the financial security we would like to have, to truly be able to focus on making the best game possible. So what should we do? The things we have discussed include: Increase the cost of the game, doing a console port instead of Linux/Mac, do a less niche title and more. Now is too soon to make a decision though and we have to see how the coming weeks and months go.

Finally, I know I say this a lot but we truly mean it: Thanks to all who have supported us by buying the game, spreading the word, and what not. We hope you all will continue supporting us in the future as well! All of Frictional Games sends their finest regards and thanks for this support!

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48. Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 21:40 Ray Marden
 
Amnesia is easily Frictional's best game to date. As a PC game, I think it is one of the best "pure" PC games released in some time. That this is put out by an indie-style developer is quite amaizng. All the people that need extremely large budgets should feel humbled.

Having said that, there are some obvious financial issues with how this game was released:

  • Why a $20.00 price tag? Having finished the game, I would have paid $50.00 for it. Now, I loved the game, but even if they wanted to maintain an indie feel to this game, $30.00 would have been a better idea. This is a definite step up from Penumbra or indie "big heart, but lots of bugs" shovelware.


  • Why a 20% discount on pre-orders? I pre-ordered back in May and it seems like they were just tossing out discounts left and right. I was going to buy their first post-Penumbra game period and they cut themselves off at the knees.


  • Little to no marketing. I tend to be a gaming snob and play titles that are more down the beaten path, but at least fellow gamers have an idea of what title I am playing. But what do they say to Amnesia? "What's that?"


  • This is a niche title of sorts - it has a more classical PC design and focuses on realy horror, not dual-wielding machine gune zombie slaughter fests.


  • Relatively, this is a more cerebral game - you are weak, can die easily, have to figure out your escape, you flee rather than fight, you have to search for items, you have to carry over things from one area to the next, etc. However, the core market is heavily focuseed around U.S. war propaganda military FPS.


  • Likewise, this is a game that gives you direct control of interacting with the world, bt this is not something people are used to. Some people have valid complaints with the rough edges of this control scheme, some want things handed to them, and it does present a different type of pressure (those doors with boulders in front of them are a lot more worrisome than just pressing a button.


  • The story could have been expanded upon, but it's (generally) there if you look for it. However, the endings were a total letdown.


  • Although I greatly appreciated it, a large number of people will definitely dislike this style of gameplay. It's not just the "horror" aspect, but the lack of rewards, this being more of an experience than a story, always having to conserve resources, and always having things stacked against you. To are more limited gamer, this game doesn't seem to have much "appeal." What of somebody that has never heard of Frictional or never played any of the Penumbra games?

  • Fantastic game, though. A title - for once - that I just loved playing.
    Greatlly appreciating the "super_secret" extras they give us,
    Ray
     
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