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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104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 1.
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1.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 12:53
mag
1.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 12:53
Sep 19, 2010, 12:53
mag
 
I feel bad for waiting to buy what everyone says is an amazing game. I might have to go shell out the cash, now...
2.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
2.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
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.
Avatar 54863
3.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
Mac
3.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
Mac
 
Pre-ordered it myself - but it's still on my "to play" list - reviews look good though
4.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
4.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
Sep 19, 2010, 13:05
 
I think the issue is much more "relatively unknown niche game" than piracy. To me, it's in the 'risk' category of buying. If I played it at a friend's place, that would probably make the decision, but without any first-hand experience with it, I'm leery about jumping in.
5.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 13:12
Verno
 
5.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 13:12
Sep 19, 2010, 13:12
 Verno
 
I think a console port would be very difficult given the need to quickly manipulate objects in the environment. That kind of fast accuracy can only really be accomplished with the mouse. They would need to make some potentially unacceptable design changes to accommodate gamepads.

In terms of the sales, its a niche title. I'm not sure what exactly they were hoping for from an extremely disturbing horror game without any traditional advertising behind it. I bought my copy on Steam and I'm happy with it but I won't pretend this is the kind of game my little cousin can play like say TF2 or something.
Playing: Xenoblade Chronicles DE, Ys IX, God of War
Watching: Lupin, You me and the Apocalypse, Days of Thunder
Avatar 51617
6.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 13:17
6.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 13:17
Sep 19, 2010, 13:17
 
Frictional should do what Introversion did: partner with Steam for a big promotional event. Yes, I know Amnesia is already available on Steam...I'm talking about a specific marketing push designed to beef up sales. Like Introversion did with Darwinia and Defcon.

I mean, you'd think you can't go wrong with a $20 game but who knows? Maybe a higher price point would have provided a different psychological effect:

"for $20, I must not be getting very much"

versus

"$30 is 20 bucks cheaper than most other games, so maybe I'll give it a try."

As for myself, I do not enjoy survival horror games much at all, so I'm the wrong market altogether.
Avatar 55260
7.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 13:45
Dev
7.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 13:45
Sep 19, 2010, 13:45
Dev
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 13:05:
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?
Yes, if they aren't huge companies like EA/activision, generally game companies live release to release (just like most people live paycheck to paycheck). Even companies that release successful titles like Looking Glass (system shock and thief among others) went out of business. Look at introversion, they released the game darwinia and a few others and they nearly went under. This is also one reason why games are often rushed out. The dev has spent nearly all of their money, and can't afford to hold it back another month or two for polish. Its either release now, or close down. Another reason is the publisher is pressuring the devs because they are jerks.

3drealms went under since they put all their eggs in 1 basket, DNF. If they would have put a few people into casual game programming and made another few commander keen games (even if they didn't have the best graphics), and perhaps a few more side scrollers for duke, I bet they could have survived. I'm a fan of the keen games, I would have paid money for that. I mean look at popcap, I love the plants vs zombies game, but its not like its the latest graphics (max res is a paltry 800x600 as I recall), and they were raking in millions even before that game.

Indie companies where the devs have other jobs, and they are mostly doing it as a hobbie usually survive since they have another job just in case.
8.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:01
8.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:01
Sep 19, 2010, 14:01
 
I don't know what 3D Realms has to do with it. They basically remade DNF from scratch around 5 times. Indie or not, that's bankruptcy.
9.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:03
9.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:03
Sep 19, 2010, 14:03
 
Another sob story by a publisher making a crap game. Wahhhhaaaaaahha, my dark game where you cant even shoot someone in and have to sneak around like a little bitch ... no one will buy. I wonder why?

Out of BUSINESS is where your going. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!

BTW wheres the free torrent ??
DON'T LIKE MY COMMENTS?!? THEN STOP RELEASING GARBAGE.
Avatar 8515
10.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:09
10.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:09
Sep 19, 2010, 14:09
 
Personally, while i enjoyed Frictional's earlier releases, I found the Amnesia demo to be OK but not mind blowing or anything, also it was very short. I just didn't feel compelled this time to pick up the full game, probably in part due to being burnt recently with release day purchases.
11.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:14
11.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:14
Sep 19, 2010, 14:14
 
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.

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.

To me, the manipulation system feels more responsive than Overture - I don't think I've found it to be frustrating in Amnesia at all. You also don't need to rotate many objects to complete puzzles or try to kill dogs with a hammer, so it's mostly tossing crates around, opening doors and drawers, etc.

As far as graphics go, the textures can be a bit cartoonish and the poly counts low, but the lighting effects (EDIT: which are much improved over their past games) are where the engine excels, so it sort of balances out in the middle.

Yes, it IS a similar style of game to Overture and uses a similar control system, but much more effort has been put into the storyline and presentation. They really ramp up the disturbing factor in this one! You should at least give the demo a shot to see if if feels any better to you (especially before lecturing Frictional about it).
12.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:29
12.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:29
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.

I played the demo up until the invisible water monster. Really dug the atmosphere, wasn't so much into how much the camera wobbles around (I know it's part of the atmosphere, but it was making me dizzy), and just didn't like this part of the game. Jumping from crate to crate wasn't much fun.

Overall I think it's one of the best examples of a genre I'm just not overly huge into. Without having come across a reason to actually require the Trespasser-esque controls, it was enough to turn me away from the full version. I'd highly recommend it to anyone into this kind of game, though.
13.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:31
13.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:31
Sep 19, 2010, 14:31
 
I've played the Penumbra Demo. Although it was a bit interesting, I didn't buy it because of the control scheme, but I may change my mind due to the bundled pricing... not a bad deal, even if I can't stand the controls.

I also have the Amnesia demo, but I haven't had a chance to install it yet. Although people say it's a good game, if the control scheme sucks again... then I don't know what I'll do.

I really want to support Indie Devs... it seems to be our last bastion for non-consolized crap. But Damn... learn how to make an interface that is worth a shit, PLEASE!

It seems like Indies and Europeans can't make a UI to save their lives! (Euro titles being things like Aquanox, Arx, Gothic Series, etc. etc. - All have shit controls - Arx being the least messed up)
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!
Avatar 19499
14.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:33
14.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:33
Sep 19, 2010, 14:33
 
[VG]Reagle wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 14:03:
Another sob story by a publisher making a crap game. Wahhhhaaaaaahha, my dark game where you cant even shoot someone in and have to sneak around like a little bitch ... no one will buy. I wonder why?

Out of BUSINESS is where your going. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!

BTW wheres the free torrent ??

Wow.
15.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:40
15.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:40
Sep 19, 2010, 14:40
 
wtf_man wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 14:31:
I've played the Penumbra Demo. Although it was a bit interesting, I didn't buy it because of the control scheme, but I may change my mind due to the bundled pricing... not a bad deal, even if I can't stand the controls.

I also have the Amnesia demo, but I haven't had a chance to install it yet. Although people say it's a good game, if the control scheme sucks again... then I don't know what I'll do.

I really want to support Indie Devs... it seems to be our last bastion for non-consolized crap. But Damn... learn how to make an interface that is worth a shit, PLEASE!

It seems like Indies and Europeans can't make a UI to save their lives! (Euro titles being things like Aquanox, Arx, Gothic Series, etc. etc. - All have shit controls - Arx being the least messed up)

Hah, I completely disagree.
Those games had decent, in fact very good interfaces.
It took some getting used to but it wasn't very hard or challenging, just took a little bit of time.

tony wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 14:33:
[VG]Reagle wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 14:03:
Another sob story by a publisher making a crap game. Wahhhhaaaaaahha, my dark game where you cant even shoot someone in and have to sneak around like a little bitch ... no one will buy. I wonder why?

Out of BUSINESS is where your going. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!

BTW wheres the free torrent ??

Wow.

Well, obvious troll is obvious. :\
16.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:42
16.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:42
Sep 19, 2010, 14:42
 
I've always intended to buy this but I have too many other games going at the moment, including Penumbra (I'm a bit late to the party).

I'd hate to see Frictional go out of business. I guess I might pick it up sooner rather than later now, which may or may not be the reason for the post-mortem.

If they decided to raise the price I'd still be happy to pay unless it was outrageous.
17.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 14:45
El Pit
 
17.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 14:45
Sep 19, 2010, 14:45
 El Pit
 
[VG]Reagle wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 14:03:
Another sob story by a publisher making a crap game. Wahhhhaaaaaahha, my dark game where you cant even shoot someone in and have to sneak around like a little bitch ... no one will buy. I wonder why?

Out of BUSINESS is where your going. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!

BTW wheres the free torrent ??

I feel you're holding back. Be open, show us your true feelings. This can't be all of it. Don't hold back!

@topic
It's just not my genre. I've posted it before in another thread: I just cannot accept that once I brought down one of the dogs in "Penumbra", I would not be allowed to smash its head. Why wasn't I allowed to do it? Because the developers wouldn't let me. That's where I got so angry that I uninstalled the game and never looked back. Yes, it's no shooter, I know, but at least give the player the chance to finish off the "unconscious" zombie dog. Therefore: no buy for me, but I do understand that this "survival horror genre" has its fans, but there are only a few, as the sales numbers show.
"There is no right life in the wrong one." (Theodor W. Adorno, philosopher)
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi)
18.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 15:03
18.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 15:03
Sep 19, 2010, 15:03
 
This is one of the best releases all year. This thing is a piece of art... though I feel that if the developer goes bankrupt - it is on their shoulders. Five guys who I would believe are making some profit off of this game at this point, if they aren't reinvesting in themselves might go bankrupt - on purpose. But, still... this game is worth buying. It's truly amazing.
19.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 15:07
19.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 15:07
Sep 19, 2010, 15:07
 
yuastnav wrote on Sep 19, 2010, 14:40:
Hah, I completely disagree.
Those games had decent, in fact very good interfaces.
It took some getting used to but it wasn't very hard or challenging, just took a little bit of time.

Well, you are entitled to your opinion.

I thought they were unresponsive kludge-fests.

IMO, there should be no "You have to get used to it" when there are hundreds of standardized FPS / FPRPG games that you "don't have to get used to the controls".

I'm talking basic movement and/or combat controls, here... not individualized things in games like "which key opens your inventory". I'm also not talking about UI as far as the graphical representation of how "the inventory" looks. But I may be referring to how you interact with said inventory (depending on the game).
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!
Avatar 19499
20.
 
Re: Amnesia Postmortem
Sep 19, 2010, 15:48
20.
Re: Amnesia Postmortem Sep 19, 2010, 15:48
Sep 19, 2010, 15:48
 
Well, when one of the best PC games to come out in years gets released, PC gamers go buy console ports then bitch about said ports and not having real PC gamers, all the while Amnesia is right next to them begging to be bought as one of the few real PC games to come out in years.

I often feel PC gamers do get what they deserve, and that is all the shit in the world when all they do is whine and bitch but when it comes to actually put the money where their mouth is they simply don't care.
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