Posts Tagged ‘frictional games’

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 the longest build-up (five hours!) in horror gaming history, YouTube culture’s effect on horror, procedurally generated scares and why they both aid and mortally wound true terror, modern horror’s over-reliance on samey settings and tropes, and where Grip sees the genre heading in the future.

Agree or disagree, the man has some extremely illuminating perspectives, and you can’t fault him for wanting to break away from the played-out influence of his own previous game. It’s all below.

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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. I spoke with him about how he hopes to evolve the game, inevitable comparisons to the Big Daddy of gaming’s small undersea pond, BioShock, why simple monster AI is better than more sophisticated options, the mundanity of death, and how SOMA’s been pretty profoundly influenced by indie mega-hits like Dear Esther and Gone Home.

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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 me as I press ever onward, slightly on-edge but no worse for the wear.

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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 first person horror game series) and Amnesia (another first person horror game series), and they’re currently working on another first person horror game called SOMA (a first person horror game). Astute readers may sense a pattern.
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Play Gone Home’s Original Prototype… In Amnesia

On the left: 'Ahhhhhhh, finally home!' On the right: 'DON'T GO IN THERE DON'T GO IN THERE DON'T GO'

Everything starts somewhere. Even the greatest of successes have humble beginnings, and Gone Home’s previously known origins were already pretty darn grassroots. That makes this revelation about its start as an Amnesia: The Dark Descent mod double-humble, as far as I’m concerned. What I’m saying is, Gone Home could be in a Humble Bundle all by itself. It is that humble. But anyway. Frictional and Fullbright have unearthed the very, very early Gone Home Amnesia prototype, and you can play it right now. Details after the break.

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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 I know is it’s sci-fi, and the machine at the heart of all this looks like a kid’s TV bad guy: it is an evil monitor. Live action trailer entitled “Vivarium” is below.
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Wot I Think: Amnesia – A Machine For Pigs


Fear is the event of the season. We shouldn’t be surprised. As Ol’ Grandfather Gillen pointed out so long ago, it’s something that games are good at. It might be the thing that they are best at. Amnesia: The Dark Descent was one of the highlights in that regard: a world where vulnerability and atmospherics smothered you like the pillow in the hands of a maniac. Its sequel, A Machine For Pigs, wants to pull off the same tricks. Only more. Only worse.

The horror? The horror? Here’s wot I feel.

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