Dear Esther dev 'investing heavily in visuals' for Amnesia sequel

When creating the sequel to Frictional Games' Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the indie studio thechineseroom says it has focused on creating a strong aesthetic to engage -- and ultimately horrify -- its audience.
Now that indie studio thechineseroom is working on a sequel to Frictional Games' hit Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the team feels the need to make some changes to the series to keep players on their toes. In its upcoming game, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, the Dear Esther studio plans to create a brand new aesthetic to enable more interesting and horrific scenarios. In a recent interview with Gamasutra, thechineseroom creative director Dan Pinchbeck explained that he and his team have worked hard to improve the visuals in the new Amnesia title in an attempt to lure players through the game's rich environments, and ultimately chill them to their core. "With this new game, we want to create a world that is so rich and dramatic and beautiful that the player is constantly torn between wanting to go around the corner to see what's there and not wanting to go around the corner because they're frightened of what's there," Pinchbeck explained. "Even that will make a significant change to the Amnesia gameplay, even before we throw the new mechanics at them." In particular, Pinchbeck said he wants the game to give off a real sense of scale, allowing players to visit more open locales, check out sprawling vistas, and more. He added that he and the team at Frictional Games have done a lot of work to ensure that the original Amnesia engine can handle the sequel's new scale and aesthetic. Even when it comes to design, Pinchbeck said that maintaining a certain level of "presentational quality" has been imperative in crafting the player's overall experience. To him, a believable game world is just as important as refined systems and gameplay mechanics. "Presentational quality really only came into play recently," Pinchbeck said. "Not that presentational quality has been missing in games, but the discussion about how presentational quality can be an integral part of gameplay. Games like Assassin's Creed or Skyrim or S.T.A.L.K.E.R., for example, they work not just for their mechanics, they work because they present these incredible worlds." He said that when developers take the time to create a well-realized setting, players will find themselves more engaged in the game at large, as they become "more likely to buy into this world that's being presented." An extended interview with Pinchbeck, which delves further into the development of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, will be published on Gamasutra later this week.

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