Brain Drain: First SOMA Footage

By Adam Smith on October 11th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

After two live action teasers, Frictional have released the first in-engine footage of SOMA. It’s first-person sci-fi horror, as expected, although there’s a Giger-esque quality to the dripping carapace walls and biomechanical brain-teasing tentacles that the previous media hadn’t hinted at. Story-wise, there’s something unpleasant and experimental happening and it seems to involve some manner of personality transference or sharing. Gray matter has been teased from skulls and yet thinks on. I could do without the main character’s exclamations of the obvious but otherwise, it all looks jolly good. The greatest fear of all is pushed to one side at the end of the trailer, when a logo dismisses the mooted PS4 exclusivity.

I’d suggest that this video contains the biggest clues as to the meaning of the final scene. I’m thinking multiple protagonists, multiple personalities or multiple bodies/vessels. Maybe all of the above.

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62 Comments »

  1. Ricc says:

    Looks fantastic. Release date is still a while off, but I’m willing to wait. There is a lot of stuff going on in the horror scene right now. :)

    Frictional put up a post about the video on their blog as well. According to them “the video does not star the protagonist from the actual game, but a totally different (and minor) character”. Also that the environment was just made for the trailer. Interesting.

    http://frictionalgames.blogspot.co.at/2013/10/soma-officially-revealed.html

    • Jexiah8bit says:

      That was the feeling I got watching this, that this wasn’t the main character but someone else who is a victim of the machine(s). Looks freaking awesome though – glad to see some new angles being taken in video game horror as far as story concepts and setting.

  2. DapperDirewolf says:

    Ok. That, looks fucking cool.

  3. Popcornicus says:

    The protagonist’s agonizing Fran Drescher/Urkel vocal cord graft has got to go. Otherwise this looks incredible.

    Edit: He’s not the protagonist. Perfect redshirt-who-dies-and-becomes-a-computer (but is he really dead?) voice.

    • DapperDirewolf says:

      Agreed. Though I could possibly get away with it, as long as it doesn’t stretch to narrating what you have to do next if you take too long to appreciate the scenery.

      ‘I wonder if pulling that secret lever hidden in the book case – that I can’t possibly have known was there – will do anything…’

    • Jalan says:

      A line or two in the early parts of the video had me thinking Christopher Walken, invariably setting myself up for disappointment that there sadly will be no voiceover from the man himself or even a suitable pretender (Jay Mohr, etc).

  4. Inglourious Badger says:

    2015!?!!! Please stop making me excited about this for at least another year

    • Jake says:

      Yeah, it’s a year and a bit away at least. That seems in inordinately long time to have to wait. I’d rather not even hear about the game if it’s not going to be out for that long. It looks great but it’s going to be a long, painful wait.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      God damnit you’re right. It’s too soon to build hype. Game Dev Tycoon wouldn’t let me pull this crap.

    • povu says:

      I suppose it’s better to announce something cool now than to leave people with the bad taste of pigs in their mouth.

      (Yes I know, they didn’t make that. It’s very obvious, unfortunately.)

  5. GameCat says:

    >You wake up in strange room, there’s a dead body with sawn off top of the head. There’s a strange contraption lying near it.
    “Hmm, let’s see what happen when I put that contraption into open skull of that dead guy”.

    I don’t know, for me every Frictional games are somewhat ruined by some stupid things like that above. :x
    I liked these teasers much more. I want to talk to dismembered robot that stole my most personal thoughts and who thinks that he’s standing up while he is lying on the floor.
    Now that’s The Horror.

    • DapperDirewolf says:

      lol. This got a chuckle. I actually perceived it as the plug-in thingie ‘magnetising’ into the dudes head. I don’t think the hapless, confused, probably-amnesiac would have just shoved a spiky gadget into some dude’s head for no reason!

      • GameCat says:

        He clearly picked it up and shove it into dead guy skull.

        Hmm it seems that I will get the horror I will actually like when someone make main character who will refuse doing stupid things like that, which is pretty ironic when applied to videogame.

        • DapperDirewolf says:

          My mistake. The guy playing did in fact intentionally do that. I just saw ‘pick up plug’ followed by ‘automatically snatched from hand and sucked into brain’.

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          LTK says:

          Given that you don’t see the player’s hands, it’s hard to tell which actions were intentional, but since it’s a horror game I’d say that the thing definitely jumped into the corpse’s skull.

          • DapperDirewolf says:

            At least it didn’t appear to be something you had to do. Unless sticking the thing in the brain actually unlocked the door somehow… Maybe it was just a really elaborate and unethical key of sorts?

          • Bull0 says:

            From what I saw, he picked the thing up, rotated it, then as it got close to the head it sort of jumped out of his hand.

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            Bull0 you saw correctly! I guess we’ll find out whether it actually physically jumped or his hand was involuntary forced. It was however blatently apparent that it was not an ‘intentional’ act!

    • Bull0 says:

      Yeah, those teasers (well, the second one, anyway) appealed to me a lot more than that gameplay trailer did.

      • Wedge says:

        Yeah they gave me hope this game would be something new instead of… well… more of the same in, cept’ in evil space alien land now.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      It seemed like a good idea at the time!

      If I woke up in there, I’d probably huddle in a corner for a few hours, and maybe then go wandering around, without touching anything, get startled by a noise and retreat back to the first room. But that’s a terrible game.

      • erikbc.b says:

        That’s actually how a lot of people play these games.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        No no NO!, you go looking for leatherface of course!!!!!

  6. S Jay says:

    SOMA was Brave New World’s happiness drug, right? Maybe it is just hallucinations or some sort of drug induced virtual reality.

    • frenz0rz says:

      I knew I’d seen that word somewhere before. It can’t be a coincidence.

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      RedViv says:

      Soma is the name of the divine ritual drink of Proto-Indo-Iranian and later Greater Persian and Vedic people. Supposedly it is an infusion of such high quality that it keeps you immortal as long as you drink it regularly. As such it was the perfect name for the stuff that takes your mind of, well, the whole situation in BNW, and fits nicely as a name for a tech singularity/transhuman-themed narrative.

      (Sidenote: The most likely candidate for the plant that it was made from would make “soma” a really strong coffee-like drink.)

    • Pattom says:

      I think it’s a general term for the physical body, as opposed to the psyche/ mind. Seems apt for a game about the separation between the two.

      • Stochastic says:

        Huh, good point. I know in biology soma refers to the cell body. I think it’s derived from Greek, so yeah, maybe this is what SOMA is referencing as it does seem like they might be exploring mind-body dualism type themes.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Soma means “Body” in greek, i think. It may be a game about a very fucked up second singularity. i can’t wait to play it.

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    AlwaysRight says:

    Looks awesome, and makes me really want to see a Porpentine written game in the same style

    • Ricc says:

      Judging by the themes so far, her game CYBERQUEEN might come closest. One of the first twine games I played and still one of my favorites.

  8. kwyjibo says:

    Euh. Much preferred the live action teasers. Please just make a film.

    • Stochastic says:

      I’m glad this is a game, but I would love to watch a SOMA mini-series. It looks like a good mash of Alien, Solaris, and The Matrix.

  9. steamcamel says:

    I was interested until I heard the protagonist speak.

    • The Random One says:

      I was until he started breathing heavily throughout the entire trailer. There is being scared, and there is having an undiagnosed pulmonary illness.

  10. forddent says:

    Glad to hear that the protagonist of the preview isn’t who you’ll be playing in the game. I’m kind of hoping you get to play the engineer from the videos. She seems like the sort to be a good protagonist.

  11. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I really hope they can maintain the awe / uneasiness vibe of the SCPs. I can’t imagine how you would do that beyond always keeping the player ignorant and guessing. The SCPs are scary because they are incomprehensible and usually threatening. Explanations would ruin it

    EDIT: It’s got nothing to do with SCPs. Bugger.

  12. DatonKallandor says:

    The live action segments were showing a much more interesting game. This actually looks like it’s set in the same world/might deal with the same artifacts/aliens that Penumbra and Amnesia did.

    Reading their blog post on the whole thing: Yeah, it’s going to be much more straight Amnesia than anything new. The SCP inspired stuff is explicitly just for the teaser website, while the game will be explore-creepy-environment-puzzle-things-out-and-hide-from-monsters.

    The fact it’s going to be more about the enemies themselves and “artifacts” means it’s probably connected to the other dimensional aliens from Penumbra and Amnesia.

    Hey, if SOMA deals with self and consciousness – maybe we’ll get the origin story of the Frictional Studios Save Points: The Whispering Lanterns.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      http://frictionalgames.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/soma-officially-revealed.html?m=1 Yep has nothing to do with SCP at all sadly. Rather disappointed as the whole vibe had peaked my interest

    • Shooop says:

      Well that’s a big downer. The enemies were the worst parts of Penumbra and Amnesia. They’re always just nuisances that delay your progress for a minute or two.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        Except for the cave worm and (to a lesser degree) the spiders, both in Penumbra. They both got copious amounts of foreshadowing and especially the Worm was the scariest fricking thing since the Shark from Jaws.

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    CelticPixel says:

    Colour me interested, whatever colour that is.

  14. RogerioFM says:

    I thought we would play with the Ginger lady of the trailers. She looked like a fascinating protagonist.

    • Pattom says:

      A blog post on their website says the character in this video isn’t the game’s real protagonist, just a bit character they’re using to show off the demo level. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see more of Engineer Reed.

      • The Random One says:

        I doubt she’ll be the protagonist, for the same reason I’d love to see her as the protagonist: she seems to be totally into the anomalies, and during the game every time she saw a crazy new monster she’d say “oooooooh, neat.”

        • RogerioFM says:

          That is why I think she would be fascinating, someone who is very curious and amazed by the threat, but also is afraid about the things she does not know, I think that would be an interesting dynamic. Also, she would be someone very technical, and would know how to operate the machinery. She could be what Isaac Clarke could not be, interesting.

          • Pattom says:

            Pretty much this, yeah. A proper Lovecraftian protagonist who gets to be rational and knowledgeable and too damn curious for her own good. They could also go the opposite route and say some kind of personality editing has made her less afraid of the anomalies. Either way, the fact that our protagonist (whoever it is) isn’t the only person still alive on the station sounds promising.

          • The Random One says:

            Oh man! Did you know lab rats have been selectively bred so that, while not being a new species, they are much more curious and accepting of never before seen events than the regular rats that live in your bathroom, because those would have made experiments much harder by being hesitant to interact with them? That would be a fantastic plot twist.

          • Pattom says:

            …Goddamn, Random One. I’m going to be crushed now if this isn’t a part of the game. Who needs ghost stories when real life is so sinister?

  15. markside says:

    This existential angst is so much more interesting than my usual.

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  17. Ruffian says:

    As the Penumbra games remain my favorite frictional titles, mostly because they are a little more sci-fi / modern in setting than Amnesia, (the first one reminds me a lot of the Thing at the outset) this excites the pants of me. :)

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    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Doesn’t look as good a I was expecting, but it’s early days & i was expecting a lot. I was hoping for something more like Routine, but then Routine already exists.

  19. jadejada816 says:

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    Big Murray says:

    I’m guessing that the reason they’ve revealed this game and started building hype about it so far ahead of it’s release date is part of the exclusivity deal with Sony. Bit of extra hype for the PS4 release?

  21. CatheyBarrett38 says:

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  22. Navagon says:

    Well that looks like a thing which is happening 2 years from now. A very good thing. But still, 2 years of waiting rules out the possibility of being even remotely interested in this now. And this from someone who pre-ordered Amnesia 6 months in advance.

  23. Sunjammer says:

    Looks like The Whisperer in Darkness got in bed with Amnesia and The Matrix. I’m into it.