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Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Information Portal [Updated 06/06/2014]
Paddy™ Offline
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Post #2: Development

[ Development ]

Development FAQs
  • How long did development take?
    Spoiler below!
    Development began in late 2011 and continued until mid-2013.
  • What roles did Frictional Games and The Chinese Room have?
    Spoiler below!
    The Chinese Room were the primary developers of the game. Frictional Games were executive producers and financed the production and were responsible for publishing the final product. Throughout development of the game the companies maintained a collaborative relationship, with most members of each team working on the game's optimisation and bug testing at one time or another.
  • How much did development of the game cost?
    Spoiler below!
    This is currently unknown.
  • Is this a full-length game or an add-on/DLC similar to Amnesia: Justine?
    Spoiler below!
    It's a completely new game. Originally, the game was intended to be of similar scope to Justine but plans changed when the team realised the potential of what they were creating, hence the numerous delays. During an interview with GamingBolt Dan Pinchbeck explained the change in scope as follows:

    Dan Pinchbeck Wrote:Originally, we were looking at a really short development cycle, reusing a lot of TDD props and things, more like Justine. But we started off, and wrote the story and kind of looked at what we were doing and it was obvious it needed more time and it would naturally be this bigger, more complicated thing. Which of course meant we could through [sic] much more at it in terms of art, audio, etc.

  • Were there ever any plans to release the game on consoles?
    Spoiler below!
    There has never appeared to be any interest in releasing Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs on consoles. When asked about the possibility of a console release during a May 2012 interview with TechZwn Jens Nilsson of Frictional Games said that a console release was "highly unlikely":

    Jens Nilsson Wrote:We like and try to do everything ourselves and getting Amnesia onto consoles would be too much work for us at the moment. But possibly our future games will come to consoles.

  • Has the game been built with support for the Oculus Rift?
    Spoiler below!
    No. Future support for the Oculus Rift is not anticipated.
  • How big an influence was Dear Esther on the design choices made by The Chinese Room?
    Spoiler below!
    The Chinese Room's Dear Esther has fewer traditional gameplay mechanics and systems than would generally be encountered in most video games. This "stripped down" style played a large role in how Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs was designed; many of the core elements of the original Amnesia: The Dark Descent were to be removed or significantly changed from the outset. At the same time, however, the game was intended to be recognisable to fans of the original. The task for The Chinese Room was to strike a balance between retaining the feeling of the original game whilst taking the gameplay and story in other directions.

    During an interview with Destructoid in March 2013, Dan Pinchbeck of The Chinese Room responded to this very question:

    Dan Pinchbeck Wrote:[...] Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs has ended up becoming "more of a natural successor to Dark Descent than we ever thought it'd be. Originally, we thought it’d be this halfway point between Dark Descent and Esther, but in a lot of ways, it's much more like Dark Descent."

    Pinchbeck also said that, as opposed to the studio's last game [Dear Esther], this one "has definitely got a much more traditional game story to it. I was really keen to write something that was a bit more straightforward.

    "What I think we have in common with Frictional is that kind of emotional, psychological element of, like, what's real and madness, and what mind and personality are,
    " he said. "What's true. What's not true. I think there's an awful lot of that in Dark Descent. I think we didn't want to move completely away from that, because we’re still really interested in that angle."

Creative Team
  • Musicians
    Spoiler below!
    Jessica Curry
    Composer of the Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs soundtrack and pianist.
    [LinkedIn | SoundCloud | Twitter | Website]

    Joanna Forbes L'Estrange
    Soprano vocalist on the Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs soundtrack.
    [Twitter | Website]

    Oscar Pinchbeck
    Boy Soprano vocalist on the Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs soundtrack.
    [no websites listed]

    Jonathan Byers
    Cellist on the Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs soundtrack.
    [no websites listed]

    Jarrad Hearman
    Recording engineer.
    [Google+ | Website]

Q&A with Dan Pinchbeck on the 1st of May 2013
The Q&A began here with Dan answering questions under the username "chineseroom". A few of the questions have been truncated below; the full questions can be found by clicking on each user's name.

Spoiler below!
  • Q. Will music play just as big a role in A Machine For Pigs, and if there are any monster themes, can we expect a general change of mechanics in how they operate with encounters and terrifying situations? [from Diz]

    A. Music will still be absolutely central - it's a big part of who we are as a studio, and one of the things we really believe is its one of the most powerful tools for immersion in the handbook. But - yeah, we know all about the "inch forwards until the monster theme starts, then run away until it finishes, then go forwards again" exploits and you won't get away with that this time around

  • Q. How is the puzzle gameplay compared to TDD? [from CorinthianMerchant]

    A. Mandus will still have to figure out things to make his way through the adventure, but one thing FG and TCR share is not doing puzzles for the sake of puzzles. Thomas and Jens were really big on this - there may be things that you have to figure out, but they should all make narrative sense and belong in the world, not just be there for the sake of having puzzles or slowing the player down

  • Q. Can you tell us anything about hardware support? Will the system requirements be similar to TDD or higher? And will there be any support for other peripherals like the oculus rift? [from bluel0bster]

    A. It'll be around the same as TDD. FG are pretty committed to making the game as inclusive as possible. We're working in Cryengine for our new game, so we're doing the full-on mental spec stuff there. You should be OK. As far as Oculus Rift goes - we didn't add support into our build because time was tight. Can't speak for FG

  • Q. Is it possible to finish latest build of the game as one supposed to play/finish it? Bugs aside - puzzles (scripts), locations, SFX and music and other required resources is all in the game, right? [from Kein]

    A. Yep. It's being optimised to hell and back, and we're (TCR/FG) still tweaking things to make it really punch, but it's all playable

  • Q. how much is the game going to cost? [from wtfomg]

    A. One for FG. It's around the same size as TDD, but can't answer beyond that.

  • Q. Will monsters disappear after a few moments of spawning, like in ATDD? Or will they stay like in Penumbra games? [from Deep One]

    A. Good luck figuring that out. Send us YouTube footage and/or ruined underwear

  • Q. Will the game be released on steam? [from Chieftain1]

    A. I imagine so. If you are releasing on PC, you'd be mad not too. FG aren't mad... you can do the maths

  • Q. How will Oswald's take on being afraid compare to Daniel's, will the panicked noises we heard in the game trailer be used or have they been trimmed down? [from fancreeper]

    A. They are there at the moment, but the trailer is pretty amped up - it's a compressed sequence, so the panic noises are quite raised. It's a little more sparse in the game.

  • Q. Could you tell us anything more about the monster's intelligence compared to the Grunts and Brutes? I'm certain this time around we'll need to do more than simply find a closet to hide in. [from fancreeper]

    A. Again, good luck with that.

  • Q. Will there be a possible game soundtrack we could buy, too? Or any other things: shirts, accessories, etc... to go with the franchise? I'd love that a lot. [from fancreeper]

    A. Soundtrack = Yes, absolutely. Other stuff - up to FG but I hope so. There's some really, really cool 2D art in the game - you've seen some of in on the website. It's crying out for t-shirts etc

  • Q. I'd like to know when they first started creating assets for the game? [from fancreeper]

    A. We started November 2011.

  • Q. What was the first level they worked on? [from fancreeper]

    A. We floorplanned everything. I think the first major work was done simultaneously on levels called Mansion and Factory.

  • Q. How far through development did they add the enemy or enemies? [from fancreeper]

    A. Right at the start, but the AI continues to be tweaked and probably will be right up until launch

  • Q. We will play more outside or inside the buildings? [from emaper]

    A. There's more outside areas for sure. But still a lot inside.

    That's a terrible answer. Sorry.

  • Q. Can we expect several endings like in Penumbra/Amnesia? [from PrinceCola]

    A. You can expect all you like about the end/s of the game. Our job is to catch you out and knock you off your feet with it/them.

  • Q. Speaking of the narrative, will the narrative unfold in AAMFP similarly to the way it did in TDD, i.e. through diary pages? Or in a different manner? [from bluel0bster]

    A. It's a tried and tested formula of notes, audio, environmental storytelling, clues, gameplay, etc. Our take on things is "tell a good story... tell it well". These things work, so we use them

  • Q. What about sanity system? Will it be implemented in AAMFP, and if that is a case, how will it differ from the sanity system in TDD? [from Zgroktar]

    A. Not going to talk about that. All I'll say is that what is in your head is way more powerful than anything we can represent onscreen or with an integer system, so our focus is on messing you up as much as we can.

  • Q. How many types of enemies will we encounter? Are there any different formulas you guys plan to undertake to add a sense of desperation and eeriness when we are faced with the huge open areas aside from the usual closed area or underground/sewer/cellar, etc? [from GOAT]

    A. You'd be surprised just how frightening and desperate a big open area can be. Just remember, if you can see them....

  • Q. Can we pre-order the game later? [from brute360]

    A. Don't know - that's a production/FG thing

  • Q. Are there any drastically altered, or added mechanics in AMFP? If so, can you tell us a bit about them? [from Kreekakon]

    A. Yes and No. We're not going to make this easy for you. You don't want that do you? This ain't Resident Evil... this is proper horror.

  • Q. Will the game support modding and custom story development? [from bluel0bster]

    A. It's built in HPL2, so should be. There's a fair bit of custom stuff in there though, so it might be tricky at first.

  • Q. How many hours of gameplay do you expect to be in this game? [from Chieftain1]

    A. Depends on how long you spend hiding and/or being mutilated really. I think we clock our playthroughs at a run, knowing the game really well, etc, at around 4-4 1/2 hours, so I think you're probably looking at 5-6.

  • Q. Is death handled any differently than it was in the original game in terms of how it alters the environment or aims to avoid tedious trial and error? [from Paddy]

    A. Yeah, we share FG's hatred of trial and error. But I always thought they were kind of soft on players at times as well. I actually considered disabling the save key at one point, so if you screwed up, it was right back to the beginning, make it really count. Love permadeath. Love DayZ. Bit of a psycho like that.

  • Q. TDD had a lot of unfathomable Lovecraftian forces and horrors lurking in the background, and that were indirectly always present. Maybe I am asking too much, but can we expect something similar in the sequel? [from Zgroktar]

    A. You can expect a deep, dark and twisted story with many layers of horror, confusion, lies and madness. We want a game that isn't just scary to play, but one that gets into your head and fucks with you for nightmares to come.

  • Q. Any more info on the inventory system? Other than the actual inventory .. not existing. [from Sampyli]

    A. Nope, just wanted to avoid that BIG POCKETS thing in games. Let me see, I've got seven vials of chemicals, a shovel, a lantern, fourteen gallons of oil, some wood, etc, etc. Not this time around. The challenge for us was making it have lots of fun ways of avoiding the inventory. Which would have made our lives a whole lot easier for sure. But not as much fun

  • Q. I believe we are all wondering if you have knowledge of the intended quarter it will be released in at this point? FG said Q2, but we're seeing reports of Q3 in interviews with no backing or quotes. [from Randomguy9900]

    A. Just not up to us. Next.

  • Q. is it going to be a 100% new game or not? [from wtfomg]

    A. eh? What do you mean? Yes, it's a new game.

  • Q. Any comment on the NPCs in "machine"? Will we see anybody else walking around the world, or will it be mostly a ghost town like in TDD? [from bluel0bster]

    A. Being alone is still a core part of the experience. But we've tried to introduce a few new things here and there. And we know how much Thomas hates the Faceless Goons of Columbia, Inc., so we wanted to create more a sense of life and depth to things in the game.

  • Q. Considering the game is intending on removing the inventory, this leads me to believe the interaction of items (like picking up a box) is the main feature. Have you changed the interaction system at all to make picking up things and moving them more "enjoyable" and easier? or is it the same as TDD? [from Statyk]

    A. ah speculation, speculation...

    the interaction system pretty much works for us, we don't have a big problem with it. it's had a good tweaking though

  • Q. Fun one: What's the best reaction you've gotten out of a designer play testing the game? [from Randomguy9900]

    A. We used to put new stuff in and not tell the art team, then tell them there was a problem in the level and they could only see it by playing it through to that point. That was always fun.

    We had a general rule that if anyone on the team had a problem with content and said "that's just going too far", we'd pull it out. I think we only removed one thing though. That's not a great comment on the team I think

  • Q. Are we going to see the same "safe hubs" that were present in tdd? Is the level design in "machines" at all similar to this formula, with danger-filled levels surrounding these hubs? [from bluel0bster]

    A. Safe? Safe? What is this "safe" of which you speak? Sorry, we don't do "safe". You must be thinking of another game.

  • Q. Is there alot more to explore in this game then TDD? [from Chieftain1]

    A. Yeah, to us, part of the fun of playing games is exploring worlds, being in them,. It's what we want to do, to make amazing immersive spaces and get lost in them. So we've really worked hard to make the game reward you for really checking out the details, figuring out lots of clues and fragments of story. It pays off to take the game slowly and really get lost in it.

  • Q. Supposing AMFP sells out very well, and given the heavy pressure from the community you have been exposed to when designing the game, would you people be ready to work on another (direct) sequel to it? [from felixmole]

    A. We're already onto the next game. It'll have to be someone else next time

Spoiler below!
  • When Dan Pinchbeck was first designing the game, the title he used for it was "We Are the Pig", which was later changed to "A Machine For Pigs".
  • The original codename for the project was "gameB".
  • The game was announced after an elaborate ARG created by Frictional Games was solved by forum members, Steam users and others in IRC/WikiDot. It began in February 2012 and continued for several days. An account of the ARG and what it involved and be read here, here and here.
  • During the ARG which led to the announcement of the game, overexcited forum members misunderstood the "Chinese Room" clue after tracking down a restaurant with this name in the area indicated on Google Maps, and began calling them on the phone for further clues, prompting Frictional Games' Jens Nilsson to intervene.
  • Along with the release of the Halloween teaser trailer, the developers sent out a request for fans to email in audio recordings of their "fear, panic, terror, anguish, torture and horrid, awful death" for use in the game's soundtrack. Samuel Justice, the technical sound designer on A Machine For Pigs, hinted that these sounds will be heard towards the end of the game. He also lamented the fact that there were more submissions of Rick Astley than he would have liked!
  • Dan Pinchbeck at one time considered disabling the save function, which would have resulted in a "permadeath" system similar to that of Amnesia: Justine or DayZ.
  • There were rumours (apparently unfounded) that Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings, might have been cast as voice talent for the game.
  • During development, the art team would be "pranked" by Dan and his department; they'd code new frightening events into levels the art team were due to play through without letting them know beforehand.
  • The development team had a policy of removing anything which was considered to be "going too far". According to Dan Pinchbeck, this policy was only enacted once. The policy was also hinted at through a Twitter conversation between Dan and Thomas Grip of Frictional Games.

    It was revealed after the game's release that the scene in question involved a Manpig having sex with a human corpse. Although this scene was said to have been cut by the developers, there is some question as to whether or not this is actually true.
  • Dan Pinchbeck, posting under the username "chineseroom", announced in character his intention to hold a Q&A session on the forum and was erroneously reported to a moderator for being a troll.
  • According to Samuel Justice, the lead technical sound designer, A Machine For Pigs has around 2700 sound files, which is a staggering increase from the 1500 sound files in the original Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Only about 3 or 4 of the sounds from the original game have been reused.
  • Jessica Curry, the game's composer, stated during an interview that her involvement in the game's development caused her to go off pork (skip to around 23:10).
  • Soon after the first "teaser image" was discovered on the main Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs website as part of a free game giveaway competition in March 2013, the forum exploded with excitement that we were taking part in the beginning of a new ARG which would perhaps lead to the release of the game or some other significant development. As a result of this misplaced excitement, a member of Frictional Games attempted to clear things up by editing the main website's source code to include the following hidden message:
    • <!--not an ARG, only gave away free copies of the game.-->

    It was quickly discovered by one of the many HTML sleuths who was scouring the site's code for clues and shared with the rest of the forum. This message remained in the site's source code until the 5th of August.
  • On August 6th, after much speculation and source code analysis surrounding a possible revelation or release date, the source code was once again edited by a member of Frictional Games to include the following message (the pertinent parts of the code have been emboldened):
    • Quote:<script type="text/javascript" src="shadowbox/shadowbox.js"></script> <!-- contains release date -->
      <script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.9.1/jquery.min.js"></script> <!-- contains key to decrypt release date -->
      <script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jqueryui/1.10.1/jquery-ui.min.js"></script> <!-- I'm just being silly. Please stop looking for things that are not here! We are working the best we can... xoxo -->
  • The Boy Soprano featured on the game's soundtrack is Oscar Pinchbeck, the son of Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry.
  • On the 3rd of September 2013, a week before the release of Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, The Chinese Room began tweeting a daily piece of information about The Machine's various components as a pre-release teaser/celebration. They are:
    • Quote:Day One
      3rd September 2013 [original]
      Vacuum Eviscerator. "Any orifice is suitable, although ergonomics favours a vertical positioning of the product".

      Day Two
      4th September 2013 [original]
      Steam-Sprung Tripery Shovel "Waste not, want not!"

      Day Three
      5th September 2013 [original]
      Lady Margaret Hydraulical De-Spining Rod. "Backbone is required to truly change society and motivate the scrounging poor"

      Day Four
      6th September 2013 [original]
      Post-Scalding Condensation Chimneys. "Broth for the soul, my dear fellows, a warming broth to soothe the troubled soul."

      Day Five
      7th September 2013 [original]
      Genital Parasol Extrusion Sprocket. "Because cleanliness is next to godliness".

      Day Six
      8th September 2013 [original]
      The Georgie Brewster Intestinal Spume Vent "Excess skin gathers at the seam, and must be hosed loose regularly to avoid clogs"

      Day Seven
      9th September 2013 [original]
      Galton's Praxinoscope. "Look, Daddy, I can see an egg, a stone egg" - it is the egg of the world, my darling.
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2014, 03:14 PM by Paddy™.)
05-28-2013, 11:06 PM

Messages In This Thread
Post #2: Development - by Paddy™ - 05-28-2013, 11:06 PM
Post #3: The Game - by Paddy™ - 05-29-2013, 12:41 AM
Post #5: Media Coverage - by Paddy™ - 05-29-2013, 02:48 AM

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