A Machine For Pigs Designer Regrets Giving The Game To PewDiePie

Illustration for article titled emA Machine For Pigs/em Designer Regrets Giving The Game To PewDiePie

Game commentator PewDiePie has 27 million subscribers on Youtube and almost 3 million Youtube subscribers. But one designer on Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs laments giving him an advanced copy of the game to promote:

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs received a largely positive review from Kotaku (I found it tedious and forgettable), but managed only a lackluster 72 at Metacritic. In a wide-ranging postmortem at Gamasutra, co-designer Peter Howell discusses at length the development and marketing of the game, including the failed effort to modify the original game's sanity meter:

As for the game's mechanical core, the removal of the sanity meter was a primary aim from the outset. TCR recognized the likely controversy of this, but felt that the system was fundamentally flawed as a means of telling the player they should now be scared, and approximately "how much" they should be scared. The aim was to create a game that was inherently horrifying, and thus did not require a meter or gauge to tell the player to be scared. However, throughout a long period of the game's development (approximately the first 6-7 months), and as per the game's original design document, the sanity system was to be replaced by an "Infection" system. The infection system would serve some of the same purposes of the sanity system, providing visual and auditory distortions and hallucinations as the infection level increased. This would escalate to Mandus having to stop, retch and/or vomit as the player moved through the game environments.


As development continued however it was clear that the system simply was not integrating well into the rest of the game, and felt too much like a "mechanic" for the sake of being a "mechanic." The infection-based attacks from enemies for example, felt weak and unthreatening at best and downright confusing at worst. Similarly, environmental infection events, however they were framed, could not shake the feeling of players walking through luminous green toxic waste in any number of classic shooters. After many attempts at integrating the system more convincingly into the game, the decision was taken to remove it.

The postmorterm also includes a lengthy lament of the game's marketing, including the disappointment players expressed when they realized elements from the promotional trailers did not appear in the game. And most notably, Howell's regret that a copy of the game was given to PewDiePie:

The early release of a review copy to YouTube personality Pewdiepie was an unexpected decision by FG made without TCR's knowledge, and demonstrates the difference in aims for the game between the two companies. Pigs was intended from the outset to provide a different approach to gameplay than that offered by The Dark Descent and this style was far less conducive to the Let's Play audience, requiring direct engagement with the game itself in order to get the most back from the experience.

It was expected that Pigs would likely appeal to a smaller number of players seeking a deeper level of narrative engagement, rather than the likely wider appeal of The Dark Descent's more action-heavy gameplay. Thus, this marketing decision was a poor match for the game it was intended to market, as was demonstrated by the responses of the core Amnesia fan base, many of which were as confused by the decision as TCR were.


You can read the entire article at Gamasutra.

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