Frictional’s next horror game is now set to go live in June.
Amnesia: The Bunker (opens in new tab), Frictional Games’ next “why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself” first-person horror game, is going to take a little longer than expected to arrive. It was scheduled to launch on May 23 but the studio said today that because of some last-minute issues, it’s been pushed to June 6.
“The release of Amnesia: The Bunker has been delayed by two weeks due to unforeseen certification issues,” the studio said (opens in new tab). “This decision is crucial to ensure we do not ship the game with these issues. The extra time will allow us to rectify the problem and ensure the best possible gameplay experience upon release. We thank you for your understanding and patience.”
“Certification” is a broad term used to describe the process by which Sony and Microsoft test games prior to allowing them to release on their platforms. For PC games on storefronts like Steam, it’s more of a “publish and be damned” situation—whatever happens, happens—but for console releases the process is much more rigorous. It’s not a check for in-game bugs or performance issues, but rather to ensure compliance with a specific baseline of stability and functionality, like continuing to function even if three or more directional buttons on the controller are pushed at the same time. (Here’s one of Sony’s old Technical Requirements Checklists, if you’re curious about how it works.)
Creative lead Frederik Olsson said in a video that certification was hung up by “multiple rare crashes that are very difficult to identify, reproduce, and thereby also fix” discovered during the testing process.
“We simply can’t make it in time,” Olsson said. “The alternative, of course, would have been to ask the team to work weekends or nights, but that’s simply not something we do here at Frictional.”
Here’s Fredrik with a message to you regarding Amnesia: The Bunker pic.twitter.com/8Ak7vPsrjaMay 12, 2023
Even minor issues can take a chunk of time to get sorted because a failure anywhere along the line means the certification process has to start over after the fix is made. Hinterland Games boss Raphael van Lierop wrote an interesting forum post (opens in new tab) in 2017 about getting patches for The Long Dark certified on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that illustrates how much of a headache the whole process can be.
The good news amidst all of this is that while Amnesia: The Bunker won’t be out on May 23, a demo will be released on May 22 on Steam (opens in new tab).