2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent wasn't just a horror phenomenon that spawned a wave of imitators—people also got to work creating their own spins on Frictional Games' creation, making mods and add-ons for it. As of today, it'll be easier than ever for people to take Amnesia and forge something new with it, as Frictional has released the source code for both The Dark Descent and for The Chinese Room's Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs.
Distributed through GitHub, the open source release means the games themselves aren't free (and can't be recompiled and sold by anyone who pleases) but folks are now free to modify, improve, or adapt Frictional's engine "however they want" within the GPL v3 licensing terms.
Potential for mods aside, Frictional hopes that the source code will be "of help to anyone wanting to create their own engine or just wanting to learn more about game programming." Amnesia's indie-budgeted scope aside, it boasts a 3D engine with rendering, AI, and physics features that could be useful to study for all sorts of developers, from hobbyists dabbling in Unreal or Unity to coders determined to write an engine of their own.
We could even see people start to build new, unrecognizable projects using Amnesia's engine, just as folks have done with the open source versions of the id Tech engines used by early Doom and Quake titles. Blendo Games' Quadrilateral Cowboy, for instance, was built using the open source release of the engine that powered Doom 3.
With Frictional returning to the world of The Dark Descent in Amensia: Rebirth next month on PS4 and PC, now would be a great time to poke around at the mods that are already out there and maybe plunge back into the game that made countless YouTubers scream in terror. For more on Amnesia: Rebirth, be sure to read our interview with Creative Director Thomas Grip from earlier this year.