Releasing on Nintendo Switch: Unattainable dream to reality

This is one of my earliest memories. Eons ago, when I was about 5, my dad took me with him to his work, a department store. He then proceeded to dump me in the electronics department.

Nowadays you can find game test booths everywhere, but back in the day this was definitely not the case. Instead every single item was locked inside a glass cupboard. Usually these cupboards remained locked unless you bought something… but that day was different. Tony, my dad’s co-worker, let me try out a game.

As I trembled with the excitement of a 5-year-old boy, he jangled his keys, and took out the showcase version of a grey box called the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Ice Climber for the NES was my first video game experience, and from that moment I was hooked.

Since that watershed moment, Nintendo games have always had a special place in my heart. Super Mario, Zelda, Mega Man, Battle Toads, Blaster Master and many others were all a part of my childhood magic. The plastic feel of the controller, the chunky cartridges, and instant-booting games still evoke fuzzy feelings in me.

Because of these magical childhood memories, and how video games were perceived back in the day, Nintendo has always had a certain mysterious feel to it – like an enchanted factory in a far-away country, creating games through some sort of wizardry.

When I started making games myself, some 20 years back, I never thought the hobby would evolve into anything bigger. It felt highly unlikely that people would want to buy anything I produced. But, eventually, what started as a hobby turned into a job. That felt so surreal. There I was, with my stupid hobby, except it was suddenly a source of income to me. Game development still felt like that enchanted factory, full of people who knew a lot more than me with tech I couldn’t possibly afford to have. But it was real, as I came to realize over time.

Yet consoles, and especially Nintendo, retained a very illusory feel. While I released my games on Steam and similar stores, the birthplace of my childhood magic felt far off.

That’s why it’s so special to announce the following:

AMNESIA: COLLECTION IS NOW OUT ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH

Finally – Frictional Games has made it to a Nintendo console! What had, for most of my life, felt like a distant and far-fetched dream, has now become reality. Sure, it’s not shipped on one of those fantastic grey cartridges, nor will it have a Nintendo “seal of quality” slapped on top, but I’ll take what I can.

If the 5-year-old me heard about this, he would never believe me.

But this is by no means the end of a journey for me – quite the opposite! It’s thrilling to think just how far the company has come, and it makes me super excited for what the future will hold.

A huge thank you to our friends at BlitWorks for making the port possible, and Evolve PR (with special thanks to Ryan!) for the great trailer!

We’re launching an official Discord server!

Join our server here!

Frictional Games is a distant and cryptic game developer, quietly tinkering with unspeakable horrors in the darkest depths of Europe. Yet over the past while we have been chipping away at that image, exposing a softer core. And now we’re ready for the final nail in the coffin of mystery: an official Frictional Games Discord server, where you can talk directly to us, or to other fans!

We hope that having a fluid, shared space like this will help casual and hardcore fans alike connect over topics that interest them, from lore conversations to sharing the cutest K8 plushie sewing patterns, from best uses of AddUseItemCallback to fanfiction tips. And, of course, anything and everything Frictional Games.

Aside from community-centered involvement, we hope to bring us developers closer to you with events like Ask Me Anything threads, and an occasional casual chat. Who knows what else the future will bring?

Upon launch the server includes channels for:

– Frictional’s news, sales and patch notes,
– Discussions about SOMA, Amnesia games, Penumbra games and Frictional Games in general,
– Showcasing your mods and other fan creations like art, cosplay and videos,
– Connecting with peers and discussing modding, creating fanart, or how to avoid overheating when wearing a Grunt suit,
– Social media feeds,
– Buying our games directly from Discord.

To celebrate the launch, all our games are heavily discounted at the Discord store pages.

Welcome!

What is Amnesia’s Hard Mode?

A year ago we brought SOMA to the Xbox One, and along with it the Safe Mode. The optional mode removed the hostility of enemies and let players explore Pathos-II in relative peace. Most  players were pleased with it, and at best it meant that players that hadn’t dared to traverse the Atlantic ocean floor before now had a chance to experience it.

Now finally releasing the Amnesia: Collection on Xbox One, and decided to also spice it up with a little treat. We bring you the polar opposite of the Safe Mode: the Hard Mode!

Amnesia: Collection will be released on Xbox One on the 28th of September, after which the mode will be available on Xbox and PC.

What is the Hard Mode?

It is really just as the title suggests: a mode that makes it harder to beat the game. You know, in case The Dark Descent wasn’t stressful enough for you.

The Hard Mode has the following features:

  • Autosaves are disabled, and manual saving costs 4 tinderboxes
  • Sanity dropping to zero results in death
  • Less oil and tinderboxes throughout the levels
  • Monsters are faster, spot the player more easily, deal more damage and stay around for longer
  • There is no danger music when the monsters are near.

So in summary: the environments are harsher, the monsters more unforgiving, insanity is deadly, and death is final – unless you pay a toll.

You can pick between normal mode and Hard Mode when starting a new game of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The mode changes some fundamental elements of the game, and therefore can’t be changed halfway through.

A Machine for Pigs and Justine do not feature this mode.

How does this affect achievements/trophies?

Beating the game on Hard Mode will earn you a new trophy called Masochist. Because, you know, you pretty much have to be one to complete the mode.

The mode affects the Illuminatus achievement, which you can’t get during playing in Hard Mode as it reduces the amount of tinderboxes throughout the level.

Will it be on all platforms?

Yes! The Hard Mode will launch on Xbox and PC versions (Steam, GOG, Humble Bundle) simultaneously. We have started working on the PS4 version with our porting partner, and hope to have it out soon.

Extra

Want a Hard Mode wallpaper? Download a 4K version with and without the logo on our public Drive folder.

What is SOMA’s Safe Mode?

Tomorrow we will be releasing SOMA for Xbox One and along with this comes Safe Mode. This is a new way of playing the game that will also be available via Steam and GOG at the same time.

Since we announced Safe Mode there have been a lot of questions about it, so we thought this would be a good time to answer some of those and to clear up a few things. Here goes:

What is Safe Mode?

It is a version of the game where you cannot die – you are safe from harm. The game’s various creatures are still there, they just won’t attack you. If you’ve heard of the SOMA Steam mod “Wuss Mode”, by steam user The Dreamer, then you should know the basic idea. The important thing to point out is that we don’t simply turn off the creature’s ability to attack and harm you. Instead, we’ve redesigned their behavior. Our goal has been for Safe Mode to not feel like a cheat, but for it to be a genuine way of experiencing the game. So we’ve considered what each creature should be doing, given their appearance, sound, and voice.

You can pick between Safe Mode and normal mode when starting up a new game.

Is the game still scary?

This obviously depends on what scares you, but the short answer is: yes, the game is still a horror game. However, since you can explore without a constant fear of failure, you will no longer have that type of tension. For people who aren’t great at handling that aspect of horror gameplay, their journey through SOMA will be a lot easier in Safe Mode. But if it is the overall atmosphere that gets to you in a horror game – and, above all, the central themes – then game will still have plenty to be scared of.

What is the major difference in gameplay?

All of the puzzles, events, and so forth are still there. The big difference is that you’ll no longer have to sneak past enemies. You don’t need stealth in order to complete the game. Monsters might sound and act more threatening if they spot you, so there is still an incentive to being careful, but it’s no longer mandatory to keep hidden. This will also allow you to explore some of environments more carefully.

Why release it now?

We actually considered releasing something similar at launch, but chose not to because we felt it would make the core intent of the game too unfocused. As people started to say that they really wanted to play the game and experience the philosophical sci-fi narrative, but couldn’t because of the monsters, we started considering doing something about it. People liking the “Wuss Mode” mod was a good sign that we could solve this. However going back to a game you have already completed is not tempting so we put it off.

What eventually tipped the scales was the Xbox release where we wanted an extra feature to make the launch more interesting. Adding some sort of no-monster mode felt like the best option, and so Safe Mode was born! It also felt like it had been long enough since the original release, and the intended version of the game had been played and evaluated enough. Adding a new play mode wouldn’t be a problem.

Will it come to PS4?

Yes! We hope to have it ready about 2 months from now. Sorry for not releasing it now, but a couple of issues have kept us from doing a simultaneous launch of Safe Mode.

I hope that clears things up! Let us know in the comments if you have any other questions!

Amnesia Collection PS4 – A FAQ

After our announcement last week that the Amnesia: Collection was coming to the PS4, a bunch of questions appeared across the internet. Because of this, it feels like time for a little FAQ. In case you missed it, here’s the trailer:

When is the game coming out?

On November the 22nd!

How much will it cost?

It will cost 29.99 dollars and have a 10% discount for PS+ members the first couple of weeks.

Will there be any differences compared to the PC version?

The biggest difference is that the game will have trophies on PS4. There will also be some minor changes to menus and GUI to make it a bit more console friendly. Other than that the game will look and sound exactly the same as on PC.

Will it come to Xbox One as well?

We would like it to, but for this release we only had the resources to handle one platform at a time, and we’re already familiar with the PS4.

What about a physical release?

It would be awesome to do that, but there are a bunch of complications. We’ve already had a few publishers mail us to express interest in a boxed version, so we’ll pursue those and see what happens.

What languages are supported?

English voice only, and subtitles for English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian.

Will there be mod support?

Afraid not, it is simply too difficult for a number of tech and legal reasons.

Will Amnesia have VR support soon?

We’re not planning VR support for Amnesia. It would require substantial re-engineering, not to mention redesign of the gameplay.

What is the resolution and framerate?

All games will be 1080p. The Dark Descent and Justine will run at 60 fps. We are having some performance issues with A Machine for Pigs and might have to settle with 30 fps for it. Our porting team is working hard to get it up to 60 fps though, but we cannot promise we can do it.

Will the game have a frame around it like in the trailer?

No. That was just to make it clear that it wasn’t our footage being shown, it belonged to the streamers we featured. Sorry if we made this unclear.

Why does the trailer only contain old Youtube footage?

There’s already a huge amount of gameplay footage for Amnesia online and it felt boring to just do another standard trailer. We felt we wanted to make something different and got the idea of showing off some early Let’s Plays, given that Amnesia was released around the time of the first explosion of the Let’s Play phenomenon. The idea was to make something similar to this one for the movie [Rec].

Why does the trailer only contain The Dark Descent footage?

Because the other two games came afterwards when Let’s Plays were already a widespread phenomenon. We wanted some early videos that captured more “genuine” reactions. We’ll release a proper trailer closer to publish date.

That should cover most of it! You can also find more information in this Playstation blog post. And if you have more questions, ask them in the comments!

Frictional Merchandise Is Finally Out!

For a long time we have been thinking about doing merchandise, but we never really felt that we had the time nor the proper partner. But recently we managed to free up some time and locate a nice partner in the form of Gametee. And after a few months of setup and work, the goodies are finally here!

First out is a t-shirt and a hoodie with Amnesia print:

Order them here:

http://www.gametee.co.uk/products?search=amnesia

Our plan is not to stop here but the goal is get our merchandise related to our other titles.

Let us know the in comments what more you would be interested in!

Frictional Games Presents SOMA – Available Now

Originally posted by Jens.

September 22, 2015 

Frictional Games, creators of the Amnesia and Penumbra series, presents SOMA. Plunging into the abyss to tear at the delicate threads of human consciousness, SOMA is available today on PlayStation 4 and PC.

Creative Director Thomas Grip, reflecting on the development of SOMA:

“Five years ago, SOMA started as a simple idea; to make a game that would explore the more disturbing aspects of what it means to be a conscious being. Since then, we have gone through years of iterations, lots of hard work and almost tripled the size of our team. And finally, today, the game is done. We are very proud of how it has turned out, and feel that we have achieved what we set out to do. It has easily been the most ambitious project we have undertaken, and getting to this point has been quite a struggle. We hope people find SOMA to be a creepy and provocative experience that stays with them long after playing.”

The radio is dead, food is running out, and the machines have started to think they are people. Underwater facility PATHOS-II has suffered an intolerable isolation and we’re going to have to make some tough decisions. What can be done? What makes sense? What is left to fight for?

From Frictional Games, creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, SOMA is a sci-fi horror game that questions our concepts of identity, consciousness, and what it means to be human.

SOMA is available for $29.99 on PS4 via the PlayStation Store, and for PC (Windows/Mac/Linux) via digital distributors including SteamGOG.com, and Humble Store.

SOMA Has Been Released!

The day has finally come. What started out as a vague idea back in 2010 has finally become an actual game. It’s been quite the journey to get here, and we’re all really proud of what we’ve achieved. SOMA is now available on Windows, Mac, Linux and PS4!

Our most important goal for SOMA was to create a game that delivered a different kind of fear. In Amnesia the horror came from a more primal feeling, from things like being hunted by monsters. This time we wanted to evoke something deeper. We wanted the sense of dread and terror come from thinking about disturbing subjects dealing with consciousness and what makes us human. Achieving this turned out to be really hard, and it’s what made the game take so long to finish.

So it’s been incredible to get reviews like these:

“In the 10 or so hours it took me to finish SOMA I was hooked for the entire experience, from shocking beginning to one of the best game endings I’ve seen since Portal. SOMA will destroy you emotionally, and that’s a very good thing indeed. – GameWatcher

SOMA succeeds at crafting something much more meaningful in a genre that’s deserving of more than just simple jump scares. – GameSpot

I’ve never played a game that’s affected me as much as SOMA, and to be honest I’m not sure I want to ever again, although I’m very glad I did. It has the DNA of movies like Alien, 2001, Sunlight, and Event Horizon, with a splash of the original Dead Space and Bioshock, but brings plenty of new ideas to the table. It makes you think about what it means to be alive, and indeed how you classify life, and is a brilliant example of just how far video games have evolved.” – TheSixthAxis

“The best horror sticks with you long after the credits roll, an uneasy feeling that lingers uncomfortably in the moments before you fall asleep. I’ve been thinking about what happened in SOMA for days now, especially the game’s closing minutes, and can’t let it go. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. If that’s not a sign of success, I’m not sure what is.”  – Kotaku

Now we’re eager to hear what all of you think of the game! Our aim is to evoke a long-lasting sense of dread, and to leave you with disturbing questions that keep coming back to haunt you. If we’ve succeeded, please tell us all about it!

Finally, we’d like to say thanks to everybody who has supported us over the years! We hope we can continue to fuel your nightmares long into the future!