Ah, the age of let’s players on Youtube compiling themselves in short montages of screams and cries whilst they ‘react’ to scary gameplay and *shivers* jump scares. But according to the developers of the latest Amnesia: Rebirth, Frictional Games, they actually want to move away from this trend, even though it’s so popular, and focus on a “different kind of horror” instead.
“We could have just gone, 'Oh, let's take this let's play thing that started with Amnesia and run with that,'" the creative director at Frictional Games, Thomas Grip, tells the press. "But that doesn't feel like what we wanted to do.”
This reactionary trend became very popular back in the early days when Amnesia: The Dark Descent was massive in the influencer and online personality market, and gave way to a huge industry of scary react videos or playing horror games in general and even birthed several big-name horror titles like Five Nights at Freddys, Outlast or even the Silent Hills playable demo, each designed to illicit major reactions in the players (though arguably one of them did it better than the rest).
We already know that Rebirth will be taking place in a new setting - far from the confines of the dark, dingy and cramped hallways that plagued The Dark Descent - instead taking players to a vast and barren desert, which could open up more possibilities for a “different kind of horror,” one that lingers in the player's mind. Grip mentioned that the team are working on Rebirth to “make something where horror is not just on this very short-term time scale of just seeing a monster and being scared, but something that grows over time."
The team also wants to focus more on a thematic core, as they feel it was pushed to the sidelines in The Dark Descent in way of scary compilations and reactionary gameplay. This thematic core in Rebirth seems to be survival, and how the player might try and get themselves out of a situation. "We wanted to get at the emotional core," says Grip. "So we've had to add a few things and tweak a little bit about exactly what it is the player should care about. Why do they want to get out alive? Those sorts of questions have been the driving force of finding the thematic core and making the whole game work."
And that thematic core is helping to alleviate from the usual ‘get the thing to open the thing’ or ‘run the past the thing to safety’ that plagues a lot of scary games, turning them more into linear on-rail scary events rather than an actual horrifying experience. Instead of constantly keeping the players cramped in a foreboding castle, and possibly burning them out of the feeling of claustrophobia, the team is leaning into the open-ended environments, contrasting the beauty and vastness of the landscape with the short and claustrophobic interiors.
And for the fans of the Dark Descent, even though Rebirth isn’t a direct sequel, there will be connections for the diehard fans of the lore. So if you haven’t played the original, don’t worry you won’t be missing out on anything. But if you have, you’ll be in for some interesting treats from the story.
Amnesia: Rebirth is set to release at some point in Fall 2020 for PC and PlayStation 4, and a more precise date will be revealed soon.
What do you think? Are you excited for Amnesia Rebirth? Did you play The Dark Descent? Do you play a lot of horror games in general? Which ones are your favorite? Let us know!