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.
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.