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!
View : : :
104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 3.
Newer [  1  2  3  4  5  6  ] Older
64.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 07:16
64.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 07:16
Sep 20, 2010, 07:16
 
The part of the game you are complaining about is one of my favorite features. Love opening them drawers and doors. I think it is very well done and it adds very much to the immersion. I can't imagine any of their games without it because it is certainly a defining positive feature.

No, I get it for object manipulation, but doors?
Unless there's a point in the game where it makes sense to have to swing my mouse halfway across the mouse pad to open a door, you know, maybe where a door needs to be half opened because of a puzzle or for survival, then adding this is senseless.

To you it's immersion. To me it's simply swinging a mouse wide instead of pushing a button. No more immersive now than it was in Trespasser.
63.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 06:54
63.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 06:54
Sep 20, 2010, 06:54
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Sep 20, 2010, 01:34:
I love all the people saying if they made Left 4 Dead or Call of Duty they might have sold more.

No shit!

Proof positive that some people aren't happy until they play the latest piece of derivative shit out there.
62.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 05:39
62.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 05:39
Sep 20, 2010, 05:39
 
HL2 Ravenhom had a decent mood to it, but wasnt nowhere near scary. I liked the tone of it, indeed, but i was a walking army in that, so i was rather confident in what would happen.
The scariest moments in video games are in Thief series. People often mention Theif 3 and Shalebridge Cradle, indeed a masterfully crafted level. But It's topped on many levels by Thief 2, in several places (the pre-finale meeting with the pagan and their living tree monstruosities come to mind, but a lot of other moments are very high in tension and fear). The reason why Thief 2 was superior is, the expert mode gameplay, in which it was forbidden to kill anyone (except during the very finale, for obvious reasons), and in some places even knocking people unconscious was forbidden. That meant, pure stealth, creative use of your ears and brains..
In a way Amnesia recreates that by barring you from using weapons. For once you can use another part of your brain, rather than the primal reptilian part that pulls the trigger on your comfy AK47. Yeah it's satisfying making insta puree out of zombie heads, but it's nowhere scary. Amnesia is a Lovecraft fan wet dream. You're in the clothes of a Lovecraft characters, living one of his demented stories. The game oozes personality, the backstory is a very obvious nod to the Cthulhu myth, the victorian era characters and places really add up, why would we need any weapon, we win by the force of our grey matter, not by using boomsticks for once, that's what still differentiates us from primates.
61.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 04:01
61.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 04:01
Sep 20, 2010, 04:01
 
Jerykk said,
If you can defeat all enemies with sufficient skill, the horror element is greatly diminished.

Eldaron Imotholin said,
I remember Ravenhold in HL2 and if you speak the truth, and many indeed think it's the scariest moment in a game ever, than it says more about the HL2 public than about that game being scary. Because scary it was not.. as I nuked the hell out of every pseudo-threat in that map.

The scariest moments in video games for me that come immediately to mind: Doom Cyberdemon, HL2 Ravenholm roof runners, and the L4D Tank. The scary elements had a few components: hearing the sound of the Cyberdemon's hooves or the roof runner's clattering or the roar of the tank the first time and thinking, OMG, WTF is THAT?!? Then facing said creatures and finding out they were nearly impossible to hit/kill and did massive damage to you when they did strike you. Having to come up with a new way of dealing with said creatures you had never experienced in the heat of battle added yet another component. For me, the fear comes because my weapons have become emasculated. The game has built me up as a superhero, then takes it all away with these supercreatures.
COVID infections: 133M - - - COVID deaths: 3M - - - Death rate: 2%
Vaccines administered: 711M - - - Vaccine deaths: 7 - - - Death rate: 0.00000001%
Your choice is clear.
Avatar 22024
60.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 03:40
60.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 03:40
Sep 20, 2010, 03:40
 
WyldKat wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 19:39:
The game is pretty damn scary...

It's also very niche and not advertised very well.

I've noticed that niche games tend to make good money over the long-term, they rarely ever enjoy massive release date sales such as titles like Reach.

Perhaps it is a little too soon to blame it all on piracy?

Still you have to admit it's a total D!CK move for someone who received an early release copy to leak it early as a torrent. A few hundred lost sales can make or break an indy team.
COVID infections: 133M - - - COVID deaths: 3M - - - Death rate: 2%
Vaccines administered: 711M - - - Vaccine deaths: 7 - - - Death rate: 0.00000001%
Your choice is clear.
Avatar 22024
59.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 01:34
59.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 01:34
Sep 20, 2010, 01:34
 
I love all the people saying if they made Left 4 Dead or Call of Duty they might have sold more.

No shit!
Avatar 54622
58.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 00:45
58.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 00:45
Sep 20, 2010, 00:45
 
What i mean to say is anyway, that it does not break the atmosphere when there is good combat, in Thief 3 you were PERFECTLY ABLE to kill and murder in stealth the entire household, but as soon as it got into the open you were vastly outmatched and usually had to retreat.

I guess it's just a matter of playstyle. When I play stealth games, I go out of my way to not kill or incapacitate anything. I also played Thief 3 on the highest difficulty so enemies posed a much greater threat.

Regardless, this is all besides the point. In Amnesia, you are not a thief or an assassin. You're just a regular guy trying not to die. As such, the point of the game is not to defeat every enemy you encounter. You win the game by not dying, hence the whole "survival" part of survival horror.

something that would make it sell would be to allow your character to actually kill stuff, make it co-op so you could solve puzzles with 4 players and increase the interactivity of all of the objects so that the 4 players can interact together using different objects to achieve a shared goal - e.g. player 1 has a rope, player 2 has a hook, player has a welder to weld hook and rope together, player 4 has a spear to throw the hooked rope up somewhere - everyone climbs out- puzzle 1 solved.

4-player co-op in a horror game where you can kill stuff? Wow. That would be the least scary horror game ever. You could just gang up on the monsters and beat the crap out of them while your friends laugh over the mic.


Yes, that is exactly it - They force you to act counter to your human nature. There is absolutely NO REASON why we would go insane looking at some Enemies. Scared yes, but Insane? Theres not many things that can influence your mental state by just looking. In fact, to us hardened gamers the outlook of seeing one of these things for real would likely overwhelm any fear, and make good cash if you got your handy cam with you (you could call it, i don't know, Cloverfield....

Obviously we don't play ourselves in Amnesia, but i don't Understand why we go insane by looking at things (or in the darkness? Whats up with that? Darkness is Safety and protection, as any Thief can attest you.)

I take it you haven't read anything by Lovecraft? Sanity (or lack thereof) is a predominant theme in the Cthulu stories and Amnesia is heavily inspired by Cthulu. I don't know how much you've played of Amnesia but there's a good reason why your character is on the brink of a nervous breakdown. And darkness does not represent safety and protection unless you're the hunter (which you aren't in Amnesia). If you're sitting alone in the dark in a strange, unfamiliar place, you're not going to feel safe.

This comment was edited on Sep 20, 2010, 00:55.
Avatar 20715
57.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 00:38
57.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 00:38
Sep 20, 2010, 00:38
 
Whoops, premature post.

This comment was edited on Sep 20, 2010, 00:45.
Avatar 20715
56.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 00:33
56.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 00:33
Sep 20, 2010, 00:33
 
bigspender wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 23:44:
actually frustrating is the word i would use the describe all of their games.

It is clear you are not the audience they are targeting, every change you suggested completely alters the point of the game. Why would they just release a rehashed combination of everything on the market already, it would sell even less? They are in a tricky situation, make too many changes to have a broader appeal, you upset your core fan base. You could end up with even less sales, as you are still not broad enough for new fans and too broad for your current fans.
Avatar 14675
55.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 00:13
55.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 00:13
Sep 20, 2010, 00:13
 
bigspender wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 23:44:
its not selling cause it sux ass - simple. yes its a unique concept, but its not fun to play.

if you want to make a game that sells, do some market research... and then follow up with a game that is actually good and fun to play.

the penumbra games were OK but they had a bad case of amature dev's. and this is basically the same thing.

all you seem to do is wonder around in the dark avoiding enemies, then you touch something and rotate an object, read a note or 2 and then repeat.

something that would make it sell would be to allow your character to actually kill stuff, make it co-op so you could solve puzzles with 4 players and increase the interactivity of all of the objects so that the 4 players can interact together using different objects to achieve a shared goal - e.g. player 1 has a rope, player 2 has a hook, player has a welder to weld hook and rope together, player 4 has a spear to throw the hooked rope up somewhere - everyone climbs out- puzzle 1 solved.


also there is tension, and OMFG my character is a useless gimp that can't do anything- its soooooo frustrating.

actually frustrating is the word i would use the describe all of their games.


"I don't understand adventure games! Where are the blue tokens I'm supposed to collect? What's my KDR... Waaahhhh."
Avatar 17249
54.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 00:09
54.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 00:09
Sep 20, 2010, 00:09
 
Beamer wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 14:29:
I downloaded the demo and definitely felt like I was playing Trespasser. It took me a few minutes to realize that the door I was clicking on wasn't locked. I started having to swing the mouse in a wide arc to open doors. Unnecessary. It serves zero purpose.

Argghhhh.... Maybe I shouldn't continue reading this thread.
Avatar 17249
53.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 20, 2010, 00:07
53.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 20, 2010, 00:07
Sep 20, 2010, 00:07
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 13:05:
I played Penumbra: Overture, one of their earlier games, and I was really, really pissed off at the control scheme for moving objects in 3d.

I'm not sure if any of you guys remember the old mid 90s game Trespass, or Trespasser, I believe, some sort of 'virtual reality' wannabe game with an island of dinosaurs, but some of the selling points included no HUD, no ammo counter, aside from the female character counting out loud, and almost the exact same manipulation of objects in 3d space, picking up rocks and tools etc. It was annoying then, and it's still annoying now.

That control issue aside, I thought Penumbra was still a very good indie game, I bought it in that Indie sales bundle awhile back where you name your own price... I gave 30 bucks for the 4-5 games(I think they added one afterwards.)

Amnesia looked graphically much improved, but very similar to the Penumbra series, so I didn't buy it or even try the demo yet. I was hoping to get used to the 3d control scheme enough in Penumbra to not totally cloud my opinion of Amnesia.

I am still debating whether or not to get it, but I have to ask, is EVERY company aside from Blizzard basically about to fail if their game doesn't sell X million copies the first week? What is wrong with this industry?

PS. Amnesia makers, the biggest problem with your game is your horrible 3d control for object manipulation... just my opinion.

I rarely make a reply without reading the whole thread but you got my inner fanboy ragin'.

The part of the game you are complaining about is one of my favorite features. Love opening them drawers and doors. I think it is very well done and it adds very much to the immersion. I can't imagine any of their games without it because it is certainly a defining positive feature.
Avatar 17249
52.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 23:50
52.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 23:50
Sep 19, 2010, 23:50
 
Other than -

Piracy
I think the most alarming thing was that the game was available as a pirated copy 24 hours or so before release. This kind of 0-day release can be quite hurtful, as otherwise paying customers might be so anxious to play that they pirate and then forget to pay for it. Since we released the game online only, we were not expecting this and the source of the illegal copy was one of our review copies (with tracking info hacked away). We are not sure what to do about this in the future, but we will have to be more careful and perhaps not send out review copies to so many outlets. It could have gone a lot worse though as a the first review copies (of early builds) were sent out almost a month before release.


I don't see them 'blame' piracy, they just call it like it is saying some will grab the pirated game cos its there and then not pay for it. This is true.
51.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 23:44
51.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 23:44
Sep 19, 2010, 23:44
 
its not selling cause it sux ass - simple. yes its a unique concept, but its not fun to play.

if you want to make a game that sells, do some market research... and then follow up with a game that is actually good and fun to play.

the penumbra games were OK but they had a bad case of amature dev's. and this is basically the same thing.

all you seem to do is wonder around in the dark avoiding enemies, then you touch something and rotate an object, read a note or 2 and then repeat.

something that would make it sell would be to allow your character to actually kill stuff, make it co-op so you could solve puzzles with 4 players and increase the interactivity of all of the objects so that the 4 players can interact together using different objects to achieve a shared goal - e.g. player 1 has a rope, player 2 has a hook, player has a welder to weld hook and rope together, player 4 has a spear to throw the hooked rope up somewhere - everyone climbs out- puzzle 1 solved.


also there is tension, and OMFG my character is a useless gimp that can't do anything- its soooooo frustrating.

actually frustrating is the word i would use the describe all of their games.

_________________________________________________
"Money doesn't exist in the 24th century, the acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." - Jean-Luc Picard
50.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 23:00
50.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 23:00
Sep 19, 2010, 23:00
 
Adding my comment here:
I'm a regular Steam user and noticed this game's release. It didn't interest me (I have both Penumbra games and barely played them) and I knew nothing about the game. The price is cheap for a new game ($20) and would have bought it if I was interested.

So I'd say that the reason it's not selling well is a combination of the game being too niche (I honestly do not see much of a demand for horror games) and poor marketing.

I hate the argument of blaming it in piracy. Sure, it will get pirated and it may have been pirated X times, but that doesn't mean it would have made Price * X amount of money. As far as I can tell, most pirates are not interested in paying for the games anyway so I doubt they would have paid if that was the only option.
According to Valve, a lot of piracy occurs in countries where the game has staggered release dates (or none at all), such as Russia or Germany. Perhaps that is the issue?
"If you like it, they will stop making it" - Herblock's Law
49.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 22:22
49.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 22:22
Sep 19, 2010, 22:22
 
Even considering the lack of marketing from Frictional themselves, an indie developer can only go so far in marketing after all, we must take into account most major gaming and review sites picked on this and gave it very high marks so that alone is quite an important marketing tool by itself.

Maybe it's too much of a niche game in the end. For my part even though I was scared shitless most of the time playing the game I had fun and a very memorable experience. That's all I ask from games nowadays.

Still, there are a lot of survival horror fans out there and Lovecraft fans, personally I expected the game to fare a bit better considering things.

It's a refreshing and truly frightening game but above all it's a memorable experience that can't be forgotten. I score it as one of the highest gaming experiences of my life. It deserves doing well compared to all the shit that's being released constantly.
48.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 21:40
48.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 21:40
Sep 19, 2010, 21:40
 
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
Everything is awesome!!!
http://www.kindafunny.com/
I love you, mom.
Avatar 2647
47.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 20:48
47.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 20:48
Sep 19, 2010, 20:48
 
Yeah my native language isn't English, though i am usually quite able to make a point. But such subjective high reference Topic like that, i think in a different language, sucks to convert that

Yes, that is exactly it - They force you to act counter to your human nature. There is absolutely NO REASON why we would go insane looking at some Enemies. Scared yes, but Insane? Theres not many things that can influence your mental state by just looking. In fact, to us hardened gamers the outlook of seeing one of these things for real would likely overwhelm any fear, and make good cash if you got your handy cam with you (you could call it, i don't know, Cloverfield....

Obviously we don't play ourselves in Amnesia, but i don't Understand why we go insane by looking at things (or in the darkness? Whats up with that? Darkness is Safety and protection, as any Thief can attest you.)

Wait.. am I nitpicking? Well tis not a bad game anyway, but its not surprising it doesn't sell truckloads - let me ask a nice evil question, would you say you had "fun" playing Amnesia? Or was it stressful?

I would classify it as mostly stressful as i found that i was incompatible with the game design. I am an 100% completion kind of guy when it comes to exploring, i explore, every single nook and cranny of a level (doesn't mean i find everything, but at least i try ;p). This is clearly not how Amnesia should be played. So maybe i just met my ultimate "Incompatible" game type.
Avatar 54727
46.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 20:35
46.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 20:35
Sep 19, 2010, 20:35
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 20:13:
You actually proved my point though (albeit i suck at expressing it.. as always ;p)


You and me both. Off-topic: English isn't your motherlanguage either? Hmm.. come to think of it, I even suck at expressing myself in Dutch...

Anyway! You see the unwinnable fight point as a negative one in Amnesia. I see it as a positive one as I firsthand experienced my frustration of not being able to turn around and bash my chaser's head in! Why the frustration? Because I was scared shitless, my heart was going mad, I forgot to breathe and I wanted to quit the game. But I didn't.. and shortly after I realized what an amazing adrenaline rush it was!

The thing is... Soon into the game I would've realized that fleeing would've been too exhausting for me, mentally, and I would've exploited the possibility -- if it was there -- to fight my enemies. Even in real life most people would eventually turn on their threat because fleeing is too exhausing both mentally and physically, which makes it pure instinct for even (most) humans to fight back, eventually. The true theory sounds that in moments of danger people first flee on instinct, but soon after turn to fight.

Anyway.. by taking the fight option away from the player, they indeed force you to act cowardly. This has 100% certainly been a decision by design simply to increase the scary experience. And, fuck me, it worked...
Playing: Skyrim, World of Warcraft.
Future: Dead Space 3.
Avatar 15836
45.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 20:15
45.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 20:15
Sep 19, 2010, 20:15
 
Just going to say it sucks to see a niche title struggling.

It's rare to get a top notch near-triple-A niche title. This may be why.

But you want to see these pull through. We all have some niche interests and it'd blow to see them ignored.
104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 3.
Newer [  1  2  3  4  5  6  ] Older