"worst kind of hate mail" for Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, and it even gave the game a run for its money in horror.
He thought they'd get some calls over content of the game, but not like this and not for the reasons they did. It baffled them people "wouldn't even kind of engage" with it.
The vitriol didn't come from what was happening story wise, but how the mechanics of the game worked itself, which surprised the indie British studio the most.
"I thought what we sort of had a screenshots going out, of a pig nailed to a cross, that we were likely to get a couple of phone calls but amazingly people just went yeah, whatever," Dan Pinchbeck told . "We got some really... the worst kind of hate mail we've ever got as a studio, some really very, very nasty stuff."
"That made the actual content of Pigs look like Sesame Street really."
It was complaints about not having the freedom to fling every object about or the sanity meter missing, which featured in the first Amnesia title. The mistake was to perhaps link it with the Amnesia name at all.
"The stuff I found most difficult was the idea that people wouldn't even kind of engage with the ideas or the content of the game because they seem so incensed by the way in which it was packaged. In terms of going, "I just don't like the way in which this... this kind of game play is structured on quite a mechanical level." And that's kind of... I still, I struggle a little bit with that in terms of understanding it," said Pinchbeck.
The creative director feels that games do far more for the horror genre than movies, which all seem to be focused on 'torture porn' - the plain, visceral violence of it all - which "genuinely in games I think there'd be a public outcry."
He also believes Resident Evil "just became toothless so fast, I mean Resident Evil was always cheesy, it was never kind of scary in terms of its story but I think stuff like Dead Space kind of like it, it started to veer away whenever we get too close to making you slightly uncomfortable. You could almost feel it desperately backpedalling away from it."
Pinchbeck argues that indies are more 'free' to explore the real dark avenues of horror - a "cheap trashy paperback."
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs 'looked like Sesame Street' compared to hate mail
27 February 2014 | By Simon Priest