Frictional Design

Hi there guys, this week I’ll be writing about a video game company that holds a special place in my heart: Frictional Games.

Frictional Games is a Swedish independant video game company that specializes in the survival horror genre. They are known for their most succesful game “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” where you play a man named Daniel who explores a dark foreboding castle, while avoiding monsters and other obstructions as well as solving puzzles. The game was critically well received, earning two awards from the Independent Games Festival and numerous positive reviews.
They started off with the Penumbra series and are now working on SOMA, another survival horror, with more of a focus on interactive storytelling.

Why is Frictional Games so important to me?
Back when Amnesia: The Dark Descent was just released I watched Let’s Plays on Youtube of a player actually being scared. This was, I believe, Toby Turner, a succesful Youtuber. Not only was he scared at the parts that were made to give him a jump-scare, he was also terrified of the overall gameplay. It unsettled him and made him dread to carry on. This was wat peaked my interest. The setting was designed so terrifying that it made people hate the game for scaring them so much. I played it myself and I was terrified throughout the whole game. I loved it.

Even though there were a lot of design decisions that could be improved, I was interested enough to look for more information on Frictional Games on the web. I found the blog of Thomas Grip, the Lead Designer at Frictional Games. Here he went in on all the design choices they made and were making on their newest game. Every post is incredibly interesting and thought-provoking for those interested in getting games to tell stories better.


The post in the link above is a bit of a collection of his atricles. I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in game design to give his pieces a read. Most of those posts delve deeper into what makes games immersive and what doesn’t. How puzzles can ruin a game and how storytelling is tricky in a true interactive game.

Thomas Grip is a bit of a visionary to me. He isn’t scared to experiment and research, to make statements and back them up with his theories. He inspired me to become a game designer. To step into this world of experiences that we have only just discovered. The more technology develops, the more we will be able to create. I want to be part of this discovery, of this journey to other worlds. I want to create the journey, I want to create these worlds. People are craving for new experiences, new ways to explore the world, or other worlds, and I hope I will learn the skills and find the place to do it. I wonder what other great game developers use to create this immersion.

Untill next time,

Bram Bakker

My fanart for Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

My fanart for Amnesia: The Dark Descent.


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