Biomechanical FPS Scorn sprouts crowdfunding gland

We’ll need to wait a while longer to explore the biomechanical guts and gristle of FPS-adventure Scorn [official site], to wander its corridors of cracked ribs and spy its fields of festering phallic protrusions. Developers Ebb Software say they’re almost done with the first of its two chapters but, on reflection, they’d rather take more time and polish it up for a 2018 launch rather than rush it out. For that, they need extra money. Ebb today launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking crowdfunded cash and while offering copies of the finished game and all that. Here, watch this new gameplay vid:

Yep, I remain delighted with how unpleasant reloading and changing the function of that meatgun is.

Scorn, then, is a first-person puzzle-o-shooter set inside a cybermeathell. Ebb’s talk of limited resources, loneliness, wandering winding levels, and sometimes needing to flee does remind me a touch of System Shock.

Visually, obviously it’s drawing a lot from the art of H.R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński, and David Cronenberg’s movies. Pip had a chat with Ebb about the game’s look; do read it.

Scorn is looking for 150,000€ (£140k-ish) on Kickstarter to finish development. The game is partially funded by Humble in their foray into publishing but I guess that’s not enough. Pledging at least 17€ (£15.50) will get you a copy of the game when it’s finished, which should be by October 2018. Usual crowdfunding caveats apply.

A demo is coming during the course of this campaign, which runs for another 33 days, but weirdly it’ll only be for backers? That’s daft. Presumably they’ll change their minds and open it up to entice more folks into backing.

23 Comments

  1. Kefren says:

    Didn’t another game with this aesthetic come out recently? I forget the name, but the other game got average scores, and seemed less polished than this one.

    I hope it works in VR. I’d strap veggieburgers from my palms and dangle seitan sausages from my HMD to get the full effect. I’d be great fun at barbecues.

    You can tell they’re playing it on a gamepad, it always makes FPS games seem jerkier than recordings where it was played with keyboard and mouse.

    • TΛPETRVE says:

      Yeah, a few months ago a game named Inner Chains came out, which got midding to negative reviews. There’s also another similarly looking game called Agony in the works. Frankly, I don’t feel any of them; they all look like fancy tech demos with absolutely no interesting gameplay whatsoever. And I doubt they’ll be able to pull a Hellblade here, where the mediocrity is made up for with a good narrative.

      • Kefren says:

        Ah, yes, Inner Chains is the one. I could swear I read about it here, but the search brought up nothing for that game. Strange. Thanks!

      • Sound says:

        To me, it’s not that the gameplay seems lacking so much as the game itself seems(from the outside glance) unmoored from a compelling purpose. Like a immersive story, or a larger universe, or really any connection between the player and the game’s circumstance. It’s visually interesting and has potential for original content, but it all seems arbitrary. Hopefully further development and info will address this.

        • Nucas says:

          that part is actually what i’m liking most to this, after the art style. it really seems the premise is “what if you woke up in the world Zdislaw Beksinski continuously painted?” that sounds pretty incredible to me, and something super different. the comparisons to inner chains are way off base, that was just a generic GrimDark Fantasy World with some equally generic “demonic” environment and enemy design.

          i’d be shocked if beksinski isn’t the literal inspiration for this game. the start-frame on the preview video for the kickstarter i think might actually be a beksinski painting; if not, it’s definitely “inspired” by one, because i have the sense i’ve seen it before.

  2. Gordon Shock says:

    Stopped at the 4:00 mark because I don’t want to be spoiled. Baking it up now! Thanks RPS for introducing this intriguing game.

  3. durrbluh says:

    I’m interested in this, I like the degree of detail they’re putting into the body horror stuff, but it seems like the developer has been looking for money since the first trailer/concept art went online. Traditionally that leads to vaporware or final products that don’t deliver half of what the devs promised, but I’d like to be proven wrong in this case.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      Ebb did set a release date of October 2018, which is good- most people who produce vaporware try not to set hard dates like that, and when they do, it’s generally quite a bit more than 13 months away.

  4. Herzog says:

    Looks a bit like the bone gun from eXistenZ! Pledged!

  5. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Ugh, man, that looks and sounds pretty amazing… Puts me in a head space between the original Prey’s gross fleshy bits and Giger’s semi-funky works.

    This summer saw me walking around the H. R. Giger museum for a couple hours, which opened my eyes to his broad range of non-Alien work (they even had a small, warrantedly separate red-light room), and I particularly enjoyed some of his relatively tame architectural/mechanical stuff I had no idea existed. (E.g. Shaft No. 6 (or some numbered “Shaft”, anyway), and his insanely detailed New York City series.) The more Alien- or otherwise biomechanically-themed art (including physical furniture) there was also really cool and intricate, though, and after all that exposure to it, I find myself cautiously interested in this game despite all the overtly gross-out fleshy stuff…

  6. Freud says:

    It’s a very distinctive and cool look, but I have a feeling it might also become a bit monotonous and non-distinctive.

    I really liked the table with the fleshy glove though.

  7. racccoon says:

    I do like the artwork which does seem to be based on h.r. gigers art. Its not a copy, its very course interpretation of it with a lot of over thought & wildness, I think the story needs more defining of how, why & what it is that made you what you are. Thrown in isn’t one. I also think its very creepy & has done that job extremely well. I can see this game would play a lot on your mind afterwards in your thoughts & dreams of just how creepy it all is in this tangled mess of life. Its extremely well done. Popularity of this game would be extremely limited as its far to frightening & gross for most game players out there, oh so I would imagine. Great development has been done. Whether its a hit & they can get a return on it remains to be seen, but nice work anyway. :)

  8. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    The art is amazing. For me though, what is special is this atmosphere of the world being an enormous sephulcre. Panning slowly through the ossified architecture in the trailers, the dust motes in the air, the music all contribute to this. Everything is dead, the things that move sluggishly give the impression of being either dying and not knowing it yet, or being in some horrifying liminal state between life and death, awake and sleeping, for eternity.

    In the gameplay trailer on the other hand, when you have things that are moving quickly and hunting, they show vitality and agency. Not to mention a human PC character and booming FPS weapons. A lot of the special atmosphere suddenly disappears. But without them, there won’t be much game left, unless you go adventure game/walking simulator.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      That said I’m curious to try it, and I’m happy this second Kickstarter attempt appears to be going better.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Totally agree, although I actually found the “human” player character interesting in that it seemed totally accustomed to the weirdness of the environment, rather than the usual FPS thing of vocally expressing disgust, a la original-Prey’s character barfing at and dropping f-bombs on everything weird. Binfinite also had some of that with the vigor intro sequences.

      Could just be that this footage is from later in the game after the character is done being grossed out, like those other games, but I hope it’s a more interesting setup than that.

      • Premium User Badge

        Phasma Felis says:

        In one of the earlier trailers, there was a close-up on what I assume is the player character where you could see its eyes twitching and staring in horror from behind the translucent caul of flesh over its face. I don’t think it’s meant to be calm and jaded, but…letting it cuss a blue streak seems like it would be too empowering and humanizing in this wretched environment. I can totally see using a mute protagonist, like Gordon Freeman, and letting the player fill in the horror it’s feeling. Wordless, muffled gasps and shrieks might also work.

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          Oh, jeez…that could also work, yeah. Conveying panic and such via the face – if they can manage such a feat matching the rest of their world’s realism – or via futile, mute or muffled, first-person struggling would be way more effective in creeping me out than would shouted words.

    • Kefren says:

      Thank you for using the word liminal, it is one of my favourites. It’s so useful for dealing with certain concepts and metaphors.

  9. Hunchback says:

    So Geiger, such gore, wow! :D

    This is looking better and better. We are considering making our first-ever kickstarter pledge.

  10. soul4sale says:

    I feel like this is the direction the Quake series should have gone.

  11. HumpX says:

    It reminds a bit of the original Prey. Only thing Im not to excited about are the standard weapon types (pistol, shotgun…..yawn).

  12. Josh W says:

    The goriness is ok, it’s disgusting obviously, but largely stays within some implicit limits, and for some reason, I’m more uncomfortable with the obviously damaged and imperfectly moving creatures as potential enemies. I have a vague concern that they might start with a premise of basing themselves on disgust at illness and bodily failure, but then force interactions to stick to that kind of dynamic. Assuming players want to destroy these weakened things, etc.

    I’m not sure there’s room in this kind of emotional dynamic for the equivalent of a “non-lethal playthrough”, or something else based on some level of empathy or intelligence in responses to situations rather than repulsion and escape. It’s a horror game, I assume, so that might be asking a lot anyway, but regardless, if they want to deal in deeper themes of loose identity boundaries, life merging with it’s environment etc. encouraging some way to actually empathise productively with these broken things, even as you avoid the situations that make them dangerous, could add an interesting extra layer, especially if they are otherwise effective at encouraging repulsion.

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