SOMA Out After SUMMA, Has Terrifying Robots

everything is just fine

I’d presumed Frictional’s upcoming SOMA was basically just sci-fi Amnesia: the night is dark and full of terrors, and all that. Turns out there’s at least one major change to formula: you get to talk to people. And you know things about those people that they don’t know themselves. And it’s horrifying.

The sequence I’m on about is at around the eight-minute point in this lengthy footage video, and the monstrous implications of it gnaw at my brain, but do watch the whole thing. Borrowed parts from Doom 3, System Shock 2 and the first Bioshock, grafted onto the essential Frictional structure and placed within an appealingly dangerous-feeling industrial sci-fi environment.

It looks good. Familiar, but the introduction of high-concept technology to the Frictional formula changes things up significantly. It does very much put me in mind of a more roboty Rapture reenvisioned as pure horror. I don’t know how much time I’m willing to spend on door puzzles, but it sure got atmosphere.

We’re also, finally, given a release date: September 22nd. Somehow that’s less than four months away. Nothing’s more terrifying than the march of time.

29 Comments

  1. Jalan says:

    I’m preparing my laundry schedule accordingly.

  2. XhomeB says:

    The protagonist talks. Terrible idea, and the voice acting isn’t any better really…
    The reason Penumbra:Overture was so successful at creating such a superb atmosphere of dread was the omnipresent silence. All the voices, all the documents read were in the player’s head.
    In Black Plague, they gave you a “sidekick” of sorts and a result, the whole experience just wasn’t as immersive and scary.
    Looks good otherwise, but feels very simplified compared to their previous efforts.

    • GameCat says:

      The protagonist talks. FInally, in era of dumbed down scare jumpers (aka “horror games”) it’s good to hear that I can play as real person, not quiet player avatar..
      If he couldn’t talk then interacting with robots that genuinely thinks they’re humans would be just silly.
      I found this aspect of the game much more creepy than physical threats.

      Hell, I want the game set in one room with player talking to such robot , Ex Machina style.

      • Nouser says:

        I know it would be a too radical change in their style, but I think it would be much better if I could decide what I want to say to those robots. Pre-scripted dialogue like the one on the video doesn’t feel fully satisfying to me.

      • dskzero says:

        It feels like a happy cross between The Dark Descent – awesome gameplay – and A Machine for Pigs – great art direction, including the dialogues -. I’m more than interested now with this, not to mention I did not want a reskinned Amnesia.

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      It’s definitely a gamble choosing a voice actor. I know I’ve been turned off of good games because I didn’t care for the main character’s voice. I personally think this one is fine, thankfully.

    • Philomelle says:

      I wasn’t aware that having subtitles vomited all over your screen during every major event is somehow immersive. If anything, that just kept reminding me that Penumbra is a game that I’m playing and there is always a screen between me and its world at every turn.

      At best, you could argue that Penumbra’s immersion relied on the character’s lines being delivered as text because it’s presented as a Lovecraftian horror story, all of which heavily rely on prose. But you cannot really claim Philip didn’t talk because, much like all Lovecraftian heroes, he was very much allergic to shutting the hell up.

  3. Nouser says:

    More than a change in style it looks like a return to the Penumbra’s sci-fi corridors, but now with colors and high-resolution graphics.

  4. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Can. Not. Wait.

  5. ZIGS says:

    What’s with the framerate drops? This looks like it was captured on PC, not console

  6. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I want me SOMA that game.

    • phelix says:

      I’m trying to think a witty pun response, but amnesia has gotten the better of me, alas.

  7. MistaJah says:

    I LOVE THIS! Feels like a proper sequel to Penumbra.

  8. Matt_W says:

    Dead Solarix <DoomShock Ghostship Routine: Isolation

    Don’t get me wrong; I love me a good horror FPS game set in a creaky sci-fi corridor setting, but perhaps it’s time to do something different?

  9. EhexT says:

    Yup that’s a Frictional Game – looks like it’s humans screwing around with the other-dimensional aliens stuff again.

  10. PikaBot says:

    I must admit, the way that note at the end was phrased intrigues me.

    • FrumiousBandersnatch says:

      Me too, but on the other hand it’s a kind of amusing horror trope.
      Game: “To advance you need to pull the BIG LEVER OF DOOM”
      note on the BIG LEVER OF DOOM: “DO NOT PULL THE BIG LEVER OF DOOM”
      Protagonist: “I am going to pull the BIG LEVER OF DOOM now, because i am a frivolous fellow just like that.”
      Game: “Oh no! You pulled the BIG LEVER OF DOOM! You’re doomed!“
      Protagonist: “Zounds. Maybe pulling the BIG LEVER OF DOOM wasn’t an idea as good as it appeared at that time.“

  11. Darth Grabass says:

    All these game comparisons and nobody mentions Alien Isolation? The gameplay looks a lot like AI.

  12. Fenix says:

    Wow this looks positively amazing! Can’t wait