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SOMA

4 years ago

Feature: SOFAR SOGOOD

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…

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There’s A New Soma Trailer, Because E3

It’s practically against the law for developers not to release a new trailer during E3. Even if we’ve already played and seen enough of the game to guarantee our purchase already. Soma [official site] devs Frictional Games have dodged their jail time by releasing this video of their upcoming underwater horror adventure ahead of its September 22nd release date.

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5 years ago

Feature: The future of horror simulation

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…

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Feature: Creeping With The Fishes, Pt 2

SOMA’s Grip On YouTube Screamers, The Future Of Horror

I played Amnesia: The Dark Descent spiritual/ghooooostual successor SOMA, and it didn't really do it for me. That said, Frictional creative director Thomas Grip's plans for the wetter-is-deader stroll into the maw of madness are quite interesting, though whether he can pull it all off remains to be seen. Today we continue on from our previous discussion, pushing doggedly forward into Grip's plan for possibly…

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Feature: Creeping With The Fishes, Pt 1

SOMA’s Grip On BioShock Comparisons, Indie Influences

SOMA didn't scare the scuba suit off me, but I did find a creeping sort of potential in its soaked-to-the-bone corridors. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2 this ain't. Or at least, it's not aiming to be. Currently, it still feels a lot like a slower-paced, less-monster-packed Amnesia in a different (though still very traditionally survival-horror-y) setting, but Frictional creative director Thomas Grip has big plans.…

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Feature: It Is Much Deader Where It Is Wetter

Hands-On Impressions: Amnesia Follow-Up SOMA

It's not that I feel like SOMA is poorly made. On the contrary: for a demo of a game that's at least a year out, the Amnesia spiritual successor practically sparkles beneath its grimy, moss-encrusted shell. I just feel like, despite a very unexpected setting, I've been here before. Crept through these halls, turned these nobs, let these tidal waves of otherworldly sound crash into…

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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…

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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…

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So Much Clanky, Creepy Foreboding In This SOMA Trailer

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…

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6 years ago

Feature: Fear Responses

Level With Me, Thomas Grip

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series. Thomas Grip is creative director of Frictional Games, based in Helsingborg, Sweden. They're known mostly for the Penumbra (a…

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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…

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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…

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CRT Of Evil: Frictional’s Next Game Is SOMA

I've spent the past few days F5ing Frictional's teaser site for their next game, which has been promising a new sci-fi game from Amnesia chaps. Well, my patience has finally been rewarded. The site is live with a scant amount of data about a thing called SOMA. All the information is based on the game's fiction, so there's no context to what we're seeing. All…

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