Amnesia: The Dark Descent claims over 1 million eager, willing, screaming victims

It seems Frictional Games absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. From fright.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a little over two years since Frictional Games, the independent Swedish developer previously responsible for the Penumbra series (Overture, Requiem and Black Plague), released Amnesia: The Dark Descent onto an unsuspecting gaming public. According to a recent blog post from Frictional’s Thomas Grip sales have now shot past the 1 million mark and are still going strong, with full price sales currently at over 10 000 units per month. Not bad going for a make-or-break title whose creators’ wildest dreams were to sell a modest 100,000 copies.

Thomas attributes this success to Amnesia’s uniqueness, claiming “horror games without combat do not really exist on PC”. Even if you throw Slender out there as a counterpoint he’s still technically correct: two games out of squillions is too small to be significant even if you bump that up to three or four with A Machine for Pigs and something else. The modding community (176 complete mods and counting) and “the steady flood of YouTube clips” are also given due credit for Amnesia’s success. The rest of Thomas’ blog post also reveals how much Amnesia cost to make (approximately $360,000 over three years) and how the Penumbra series continues to sell around 900 new copies per month.

The real meat of Thomas’ update is how all this affects Frictional and their future plans, and the news is good. All these sales are supposedly more than enough to support the company and fully finance Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs whilst still leaving Frictional enough cash to buy lots of booze to celebrate with. Instead of that last bit however they’re spending the money on a new “super secret project” that they’re refusing to tell us much about right now, the swines! All Thomas will say is it’ll be a first-person horror game that will use a new version of Frictional’s HPL engine, have “deeper themes” and be less of “a shallow fright-fest” than Amnesia. Frictional hopes to have this new game make us all shit our collective pants in terror again sometime in 2014.

Even in the face of stiff competition from recent challengers like Slender and Lone Survivor, Amnesia is still hands down one of the best pure, undiluted horror experiences available on any platform. I’d even go as far to say Amnesia is one of the most important games of the past two years for helping usher in the current glorious horror-gaming Renaissance we’re all enjoying, particularly on PC. Thanks to Amnesia games like Routine, Slender: Source and Home have been able to find willing, eager audiences who might have otherwise never known the joy of being terrified by a game.

In this respect Amnesia’s well-earned success is perhaps also something of a double-edged sword for Frictional, since with more competition in the horror gaming arena they’re going to have their work cut out for them. Expectations for A Machine For Pigs are already high among horror gaming fans and expectations for Frictional’s next non-Amnesia title will be stratospheric by the time 2014 rolls around.

I’m sure they’re more than up to the challenge. Right guys?


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Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.