Posts Tagged ‘frictional’

The Final Chapter: Penumbra – Twilight Of The Archaic

While Frictional are exploring the depths of consciousness in their latest creep-fest Soma, other developers are continuing the story they began in Penumbra [official site] all those years ago. A team going by the name CounterCurrent Games released an unofficial total conversion going by the name Necrologue last Halloween and this year they finished the story with the fantastically-named Twilight of the Archaic [official site]. Just look at that title for a few seconds. It’s magnificent. The games are built on Amnesia: The Dark Descent so you’ll need that to play, and can then download both Necrologue and Teatime of the Archaic from ModDB or through Steam.

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Wot I Think: SOMA

Five years ago, Frictional released Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a horror game that made us afraid of the water. That was five years ago. Now, with SOMA [official site], the studio have switched from gothic castles to science fiction and they’re taking us right to the bottom of the ocean. I’ve faced my fears and here’s wot I think.

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Ghostly Machines: Hands On With SOMA’s Opening Hours

Over the weekend, I played the first third of SOMA [official site], the new game from Frictional, the horror maestros behind Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. If the tone and quality of the game remain approximately similar for the remainder of the running time, Frictional will have delivered their most accomplished title to date, but it might also be their least terrifying. That might be a good thing.

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Frictional Thoughts: Alien, Amnesia And Horror Simulators

Over at Frictional Games’ official blog, creative director Thomas Grip has written an extensive and thoughtful analysis of Alien: Isolation. It’s worth reading in full, providing a brief history of the ‘horror simulator’ genre that runs from 3D Monster Maze (1982) to the modern interpretations found in Slender and the like. Isolation gets a post-mortem treatment that begins simply – “Alien: Isolation is an interesting game” – then veers into a wham-bam takedown – “At its core it fails to be a faithful emulation of the original Alien (1979) movie” – and, BOOM – “it really is just a pure horror simulator, like Slender or 3D Monster Maze, just with more sections to play through”.

Grip does have lots of positive things to say about Creative Assembly’s game though and a few thoughts for the future. That’s SOMA talk.

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Scratching Beneath The Surface: SOMA

Oh bother. I was inevitably going to find Frictional’s SOMA a troubling proposition, having winced through Penumbra and Amnesia while trembling like a jelly in a jalopy. SOMA’s sci-fi horrors creep me out on a level that spooky castles and mad alchemists don’t – Amnesia was scary because it was dark and the sound design was excellent rather than because the setting or story peeled back the skin and twanged at the nerves. SOMA’s experimentations fill me with dread though and the latest trailer reveals something that had previously been hidden from us. I’ll let you find out for yourself while whimpering underneath my desk.

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Fear In A Handful Of Rust: SOMA

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?

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So Much Clanky, Creepy Foreboding In This SOMA Trailer

SOMA-uch? No, that doesn't work at all

Everyone knows that the scariest things aren’t actually monsters themselves. It’s the horrors lurking in our own runaway imaginations, creatures of such impossible (and impossibly specific) phobia that our only recourse is to head for the hills long before we ever see them. That’s the power of a great horror environment. SOMA‘s Upsilon research facility, for instance, creaks, groans, and whines quietly to itself like a child who’s afraid of the dark. From there, your mind does the heavy lifting. Watch below, and then read about Amnesia: The Dark Descent developer Frictional’s core design pillars for its sci-fi madhouse.

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Brain Drain: First SOMA Footage

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.

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A Second Look At SOMA

We still don’t know much about SOMA, Amnesia developers Frictional’s next game. But there is a general theme emerging from the teaser videos: the first video showed an engineer attempting to communicate with what appeared to be a H.R. Giger’s CRT monitor. This new video shows the same engineer talking to a disassembled robot. In the game’s fiction, it’s a “standard UH3 articulated robot,” and it “spontaneously developed a desire to socialize from observing human interaction.” It gets creepier. Way creepier.
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Fin De Siècle: Amnesia – A Machine For Pigs

I’ve spent most of the week thinking about Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs. I finished the story at the weekend and spent the last five minutes of the game with a huge grin plastered across my face. Not the reaction that a horror game might hope to elicit but thechineseroom’s cleverly concealed secret, hidden behind the dark curtain of that title, is that in some ways they haven’t really constructed a horror game at all. Thankfully, they’ve made something far more interesting instead.

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