There’s only one week left until Amnesia: Rebirth will bring the popular horror series back into the spotlight, taking players to a rather unusual location for the genre.
Where the previous entries focused on enclosed spaces, Amnesia: Rebirth looks to shake things up by having protagonist Tasi Trianon waking up deep in the Algerian desert.
When you first think about the barren, open expanse world, it would seem like quite a counter-intuitive choice, but developer Frictional Games has a well-thought-out plan for making desert horror work.
Amnesia: Rebirth’s Desert Horror
“[..]I felt, well, wouldn’t it be cool to have a horror story set in the desert, because that’s fairly uncommon… but we sort of figured out the hard way that deserts are not so scary. We started making the first concepts, and, well, when you have a desert in front of you, it looks very much like a day on the beach. It’s not all that frightening.” Frictional Games Co-founder and Creative Director Thomas Grip told Eurogamer.
“Rebirth doesn’t just take place in a desert,” he continued, “it takes place in caves and other sorts of buildings that you can enter, but I really like that diversity. The desert is a really cool way of emphasising the contrasts that you go through; in one area of the game you squeeze through tight tunnels and then come out of an opening and you’re in the middle of this wide-open, endless desert. And that just makes the desert seem even bigger and more empty, and it makes these crawl spaces feel even more claustrophobic… that’s a really cool sort of juxtaposition to work with.”
Proper contextualization plays a big role in Amnesia: Rebirth and is key to how its locations aim to achieve the quality of horror expected from the studio.
“If you have a desert setting, and you just put the player there, it’s not very scary. But if you build a narrative where they’re alone, and they have to get out there because they’re dying, then just being in a desert and not seeing any kind of help in any direction, suddenly, it’s a scary place to be. So it depends a lot on how you build it all up.”
This all melds together with more traditional elements found in previous entries like puzzles and the inevitable monsters.
We’ll get to experience all of it on Tuesday, October 20, when Amnesia: Rebirth launches on PC and PS4.
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