Sea Change: SOMA Mod Makes All Entities Non-Violent

What if you could talk to the monsters? The Wuss Mode: Monsters Won’t Attack mod for SOMA [official site] doesn’t quite allow you to hold conversations with the denizens of Frictional’s latest creation but it does prevent them from chasing you around the place until you die. I’m excited to try this because it might just improve the game significantly, simply by focusing on the fact that fear does not need to be followed by violence and death. Vague spoilers ahead for those who haven’t played.

If you haven’t played SOMA, this might seem like a sort of Easy Mode but I reckon there might be more to it than that. SOMA felt like a fascinating sci-fi adventure with occasional interruptions from a different, lesser horror game. The sci-fi core was creepier without the detours into habitual hide-and-seek horror, and the game’s various ‘enemies’ felt as if they were pursuing and attacking me because that was expected of them due to the genre of game they’d landed in. I wasn’t convinced by their motivation.

The text from the creator of the mod, The Dreamer, explains the shift in atmosphere well:

“…the servants of the WAU quietly patrolling the abandoned halls of Pathos-2 have a chilling poignance to them. Puppets slowly stalk you through hallways instead of madly dashing for you, as if they are confused by your presence and don’t know what to do with an intruder that shares their flesh and blood. Constructs beg you for structure gel, and angrily chastise you for not sharing, but they cannot take it from you, and as you walk by them, a cold chill overtakes you as you realize they will slowly starve in the inky black depths. Playing it is an incredibly surreal experience, and while I personally prefer the vanilla gameplay, I think for those with weaker countenances, this is certainly a worthwhile way to play.”

You can see the mod in action below. The video shows every encounter, as experienced in Wuss Mode.

The scariest and most effective moments in the game all took place when there were no monsters around. If anything, I imagine this might make the creatures of the deep even creepier, ensuring they don’t become stubborn forced respawn points. And, yes, my headline contains a slight untruth – some sea creatures are still hostile but they can’t actually cause any damage to you when the mod is in place.

Installation instructions are on the Workshop page, as is a download link for non-Steam players.

13 Comments

  1. gbrading says:

    As a video game coward, this is most welcome. I’d more or less discounted playing SOMA because I only managed 10 minutes of Amnesia; if there is a mod which allows me to playthrough just to experience the story without the threat of monster death, that would be splendid.

    • brgillespie says:

      It’ll certainly let you ruminate over the bleak ending, that’s for sure.

    • frightlever says:

      I think you used to be able to “mod” Amnesia to remove the monsters by renaming a folder. May have been a bug that they patched. I’d probably play it for the atmosphere. ZERO interest in creeping away from monsters. I get enough of that in real life.

      I played Old City: Leviathan a couple of days ago. It’s a “walking simulator” with a really creepy atmosphere. I had to check on the Steam forum that there weren’t going to be any jump scares or adversaries, and there aren’t. Was cheap in the last Steam sale and only takes a couple of hours to experience, though a lot of that is reading.

  2. GameCat says:

    Wuss mode? For me it’s rather thank-god-I-dont-need-to-replay-from-last-checkpoint-its-so-boring mode.

    Also, I find this idea much more interesting and creepier than just standard monsters who wants to kill you and you can’t even grab some good ol’ steel pipe and smack them in a head, like every sane or insane person would do in this situation.

  3. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Just taking two seconds to echo Adam’s assessment of the story. The game feels like old-school sci-fi in the vein of Zelazny or Clark. It explores themes of transhumanism and asks you, as the player, to draw the line between human and inhuman. It becomes incredibly poignant, despite the fact that for 99% of the game you’re the only human being around… well, sort of. :)

    One other note about SOMA, because it’s a rare thing indeed for a horror game: you always have a glimmer of hope. Not just hope for survival, but hope that things can actually get better. I found that to be an incredible source of motivation to complete the game, as opposed to Amnesia’s constant sense of approaching doom or Outlast’s manic paranoia. There was a very human reason to get to Phi, and the value of that should not be understated.

  4. GWOP says:

    All games should let players have a museum walkabout.

  5. Hakkesshu says:

    I didn’t find SOMA to be particularly scary, in part because the stealth segments were just so annoying and tedious they had the opposite effect. So this is only a good thing that, at first glance, actually adds to the atmosphere. That part where the one monster constantly stalks you just so it can get a better look is much creepier than the alternative. Also I’m guessing it makes the few parts where they actually can kill you way more effective.

  6. SMGreer says:

    After playing Alien Isolation, the “hide from beasties” sections of SOMA were unbearably dull and tedious. Thankfully they were redeemed by a game that was otherwise enthralling but it probably would benefit from getting rid of those conventional baddies.

    So this mod is a most welcome alteration.

  7. Synesthesia says:

    Yes! Maybe i can play it now.

  8. oueddy says:

    Just finished a playthrough with a mod that removed the ability for enemies to damage you (I have no interest in hide n seek horror). Can say that its worth it just to see the story through, worth them promoting this. Akin to a ‘story mode’ seen in some action games.

  9. Sarkhan Lol says:

    I’ve read that Frictional originally experimented with having no enemies in the game at all, walking sim style, but found it significantly lessened the impact of the setting and story on playtesters.

    • Kuuppa says:

      It is very likely that most of the playtesters, if not all of them, were hardcore horror fans. Therefore such a result was really the only possible result.

  10. Alex07Taylor says:

    Thanks for including my video, I was wondering where the sudden burst of views came from. I would’ve preferred it if you would’ve contacted me before using the video with your own free will, but I digress.