Fear In A Handful Of Rust: SOMA

By Adam Smith on March 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Frictional have updated the SOMA blog with some information regarding the progress they’re making on the sci-fi horror game. There’s a short trailer as well, with voice acting that dismisses some of the doubts about the quality in the first in-game video, but the text contains the bulk of the information. As they say, ‘words paint a thousand pictures’. There are a few paragraphs copied below, including more on world-building:

When creating Amnesia our setting was basically just “Old castle where supernatural stuff happens”. This allowed us to get away with just about anything and explain it with “because, magic”. But in SOMA we are building a world that is supposed to be tied into the real world and to make sense.

Because, science?

If we’re hearing those dialogue snippets in chronological order, it’s fairly unlikely that the response at the end was going to be, “I’m super, yeah, thanks for asking.”

Frictional will be using the alpha period to test the existing areas of the game (just over half of the total is finished, clocking in at around five hours), ensuring that they fit with the goals set out at the beginning of the project. One of those, as outlined in the quote above, is to craft a believable world, with logic and rules that don’t deviate excessively from the real world. They also want a strong narrative thread to run through the game, which is another lesson that could have been taken from Amnesia.

Unsurprisingly, scaring players is a top priority as well.

…the game should be utterly terrifying. We do not want you to calmly stroll through the various environments; it must be emotionally tasking to progress. We want this blanket of oppression and fear wrapped around the entire experience. Sustaining this through eight or so hours takes some finesse – if we repeat something too often, you’ll get used to it and be able to predict upcoming events. The buildup must take time without becoming dull, and there needs to be a nice rhythm of ups and downs throughout the journey.

There’s more at the blog and it’s a good read. I only just noticed, glancing up at the tab I’ve secured it in, that there’s a Playstation logo next to the name SOMA in my browser. I’m linking to an official Playstation blog.

Cripes. SOMA is coming to PC but I guess there isn’t an Official PC Blog.

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16 Comments »

  1. welverin says:

    Guess you didn’t look at the URL for it either.

    That’s not a SOMA blog, Sony just gets developers to talk about their games on they’re own site. There are the occasional good bits of information contained within.

  2. karthink says:

    The Titanfall trailer from before had a quick “ONLY ON XBOX ONE (and pc)” at the end. With an image of a giant green Xbox. This one has a “It will be released on PS4 in 2015″ near the top. Any acknowledgment that a game is (also) releasing on PC is only ever begrudging.

    • welverin says:

      That’s because there’s no singular PC overlord charging a licensing fee to benefit from paying companies off to encourage consumers to buy the version for their platform.

  3. Shooop says:

    If that trailer is anything to go by, science may have in fact, gone too far.

  4. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    I might buy this when it’s on sale. I can use the money I save to buy some new trousers after it transforms me into a sausage maker.

  5. realitysconcierge says:

    I know they’re expensive and probably hard to make, but I’d really like some more of those live action shorts. They were awesome.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I liked those too, but it may be risky marketing when they’re that good. The actual game might be disappointing by comparison. I don’t know if those first live action teasers were done by an outside studio, but it’s especially risky if that’s the case. Like what happened with the famous first teaser video for Dead Island, done by an outside studio to great acclaim, and then the actual game was nothing like it.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      As I seem to be saying a lot lately, I WISH someone would make a professional level SCP game. SCP Containment Breach is the only game that scared me enough I wanted to stop playing, like in a “my brain momentarily checked out and went to another place” way when I first met certain creatures. Amnesia never did that. Those initial short live action clips seemed to promise an SCP type game, and it was a disappointment to find out that the game would not be taking that direction.

      That’s not to say it won’t be good, but I was just seriously impressed with Containment Breach as a free game.

      • Davie says:

        Agreed! I’ve been wanting to go back to Containment Breach for months now, but it’s a fucking harrowing experience playing for even five minutes. The randomized levels, the oppressive blackness, the weird background noises you slowly start to recognize as one abomination or another making its way toward you–I’ve never quit playing without a raised heart rate and a “screw this, I’m done” attitude.

        It’s a horror game that is too perfect–too scary to play!

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    0:56 Getting massive System Shock 2 nostalgia :)

  7. dethtoll says:

    As someone who only barely enjoyed the first Penumbra and hated everything Frictional did after, I have to say I am seriously, genuinely, 100% excited for SOMA. I’m something of a sci-horror nut (blame the Alien trilogy) and I’m so glad that Frictional are finally doing something different besides another pat Lovecraft knockoff.

    CUE SEXUAL AROUSAL

  8. Shazbut says:

    I’m sure this will be great, but I must confess I’m starting to feel this is getting old now. There have been a lot of successful horror games recently, and a lot of walking around in the dark, and while I’m still not played out with that, I’m far more interested in, say, Routine and quite a few others that are treading at least similar looking ground in future.

    Somehow, they still never get as atmospheric as SS2. Or at least not atmospheric in the same way. There was something beautiful in SS2′s isolation – it wasn’t just bleak. The quietness wasn’t just about being scared for the next loud bit. It was internal and spiritual and weird and…right, I’m reinstalling it, bye.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      It’s because System Shock 2 has enemies that respawn constantly. It gives the fighting back a certain futility – you can never clear an area because there’s always more. You’re always outnumbered and you’re always surrounded.

  9. JoeFX69 says:

    “with voice acting that dismisses some of the doubts about the quality in the first in-game video”

    Really?? I thought it was terrible

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