Amnesia: The Dark Descent Studio Reveals SOMA

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Studio Reveals SOMA

The new project underway at Amnesia: The Dark Descent developer Frictional Games appears to be a creepy sci-fi mystery entitled SOMA.

Frictional Games Creative Director Thomas Grip started the ball rolling with a tweet late last week letting the world know that something new was coming from the studio behind the horror hit Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Today, that "something" has been revealed - but don't expect too many answers just yet.

A website at somasystems.org (also available via nextfrictionalgame.com) has appeared, bearing a series of "error" warnings, a flickering, de-rezzed face and, most significantly, a list of "case files." Only one such file is currently available: Item #2656 - "Vivarium," an intriguing video diary of a technician's attempts to activate and then interact with what appears to be a bizarre machine of unknown origin and purpose. It's a lengthy video and rather slow, but it finishes very strongly.

The website was introduced by way of a "quarantine failure" email warning of "crucial systems at risk." "Adding to the already explosive Mockingbird-situation, it is clear we need to take greater precaution. Isolate all systems to avoid data corruption and prevent hostile actions," it states. "Keep an eye out for personality deviation. When able, always meet in person."

I have no idea what's going on here, but I like it. I like it a lot, and I can't wait to find out more. I will wait, obviously, but hopefully not too terribly long; a "file recovery" process slowly grinding away on the site was at two percent at the time of writing, and once it reaches 100 percent I would assume another case file - and more information about the mystery that is SOMA - will be revealed.

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I'm getting a strong System Shock 2-esque vibe from this... Dare I get my hopes up?

Whoracle:
I'm getting a strong System Shock 2-esque vibe from this... Dare I get my hopes up?

I had the same impression, hopefully they will resist the temptation to include any kind of combat and instead focus on exploration and storytelling.

james.sponge:
I had the same impression, hopefully they will resist the temptation to include any kind of combat and instead focus on exploration and storytelling.

Well, it's frictional. If there's one company that seems to be positively afraid of combat systems, it's them :)

I've been a fan of Frictional since before Amnesia so just the thought of these guys doing scifi is enough to get me excited. We could definitely use more scifi horror. I mean, I love Dead Space as much as the next guy, but it's certainly more limited-resources shooter then proper survival horror.

So far it's looking great, can't wait to see more.

nice video.
maybe it will be a game i might like and might find scary for a change.

All this talk of strange items labeled with numbers, quarantine and containment gives of a heavy SCP-vibe.

Some people will do anything to avoid paying thier TV license.

I missed it, but there's also a quote from Philip K. Dick embedded in the background image on the SOMA site: "It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane." From the novel VALIS - VALIS, according to Wiki (I haven't read it) being an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System.

I'll say it again, it the game ends up with any vibe close to "I have no mouth and I must scream", this is deadly creepy and dark.

I saw 5 seconds of that video. God I hate live action trailers for video games.

Ooooh. Me likey. I've always liked inscrutable mmechanisms with an innate sense of creepiness. I seriously hope this television-slash-computer thingy is a reference to what we'll have to do in SOMA; I would kill for a creepy take on Myst's opaque devices. Far too many games are designed with the conceit that only living things can act as heebie-jeebies-inducing vectors, while I remember being especially attracted to old flea markets as a kid. I loved slipping around the back during countryside auctions in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where I'd look to the most busted-up piece of machinery I could find and just try and figure out under which light and at which angle the whole thing would take on Hellraiser-worthy levels of Mechanical Squick.

Make it inscrutable on top of that, like a computer with an awkwardly designed interface or odd bits and bobs like this one? You've just piqued my curiosity...

Pretty please, Frictional: throw in some new stuff, on top of walking around and hiding from baddies!

Seeing the note over at RPS, one of the comments pointed something out. There's another indie space horror game in the works called Routine (which I had forgotten about for a while now). The thing is even the logo is similar between the one for SOMA and the ROUTINE one. Is there some font type that they are both using?

http://www.routinegame.com/

MrRaggaedeman:
All this talk of strange items labeled with numbers, quarantine and containment gives of a heavy SCP-vibe.

Yup, me too. As soon as I saw the title of the video I thought of SCP.

Which is no bad thing. I don't believe the same idea can't be done twice, and the concept of anomalous objects and people studying them is so open it'd take a hollywood level dead horse-flogging to exhaust all its potential.

just...please can we have a console release? C'mon...throw us horror fans with crap PCs a bone.

Well, my fingers are officially crossed for this being about a creepy, homicidal computer that likes using physiological warfare.

It looked to me like the screen was showing her dying where she sat, portrayed as surveillance footage. I think that would be a pretty satisfyingingly creepy way for a homicidal computer to send a death threat.

shiajun:
Seeing the note over at RPS, one of the comments pointed something out. There's another indie space horror game in the works called Routine (which I had forgotten about for a while now). The thing is even the logo is similar between the one for SOMA and the ROUTINE one. Is there some font type that they are both using?

http://www.routinegame.com/

There are some surface visual similarities but I'd guess that's more likely to do with broad thematic crossover (horror in space) than anything else. In any case, it's way too early in the SOMA process to form any kind of judgment.

(And for those who haven't seen it, Routine looks brilliant, btw. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/125368-Routine-Gameplay-Trailer-is-Shockingly-Good)

Hopefully this is something that only Frictional is working on without outside influence from certain other developers.

Robot Number V:

It looked to me like the screen was showing her dying where she sat, portrayed as surveillance footage.

I don't think that's what happened. It looked like the device actually created a replica of the room (without itself), including the woman, who ragdolled onto the floor at first; the moment the replica of her moved, she panicked.

I can't make out what the replica is saying, though....

Read the title, immediately though SOPA and went "WTF is going on now?"
Fortunately I was mistaken, that looks delightfully horrifying.

I want so much for this to be awesome. I love marketing campaigns like this. Wish I could sub to this thread for updates as more people weigh in on it...

While I love the teaser, the website is giving me too strong of a SCP vibe with the various slots and the currently available slot having the prefix of "ITEM #2656". I like SCP stuff, but I'm hoping Frictional Games has avoided the temptation to create their own version of the concept and have a stronger focus on one single story element as opposed to various story elements.

V8 Ninja:
While I love the teaser, the website is giving me too strong of a SCP vibe with the various slots and the currently available slot having the prefix of "ITEM #2656". I like SCP stuff, but I'm hoping Frictional Games has avoided the temptation to create their own version of the concept and have a stronger focus on one single story element as opposed to various story elements.

They could make a entire game based on SCP-093. I swear to god i'd buy it and play the hell out if it. Alternatively SCP-610 is another possible candidate.

V8 Ninja:
While I love the teaser, the website is giving me too strong of a SCP vibe with the various slots and the currently available slot having the prefix of "ITEM #2656". I like SCP stuff, but I'm hoping Frictional Games has avoided the temptation to create their own version of the concept and have a stronger focus on one single story element as opposed to various story elements.

At the risk of drawing ire what is SCP?

Darren Carrigan:

V8 Ninja:
While I love the teaser, the website is giving me too strong of a SCP vibe with the various slots and the currently available slot having the prefix of "ITEM #2656". I like SCP stuff, but I'm hoping Frictional Games has avoided the temptation to create their own version of the concept and have a stronger focus on one single story element as opposed to various story elements.

At the risk of drawing ire what is SCP?

No, it's just that I want Frictional Games to focus on one concept rather than scatter their writing across multiple concepts. Also, the SCP is already a thing, we don't need many more things like it.

Darren Carrigan:

V8 Ninja:
While I love the teaser, the website is giving me too strong of a SCP vibe with the various slots and the currently available slot having the prefix of "ITEM #2656". I like SCP stuff, but I'm hoping Frictional Games has avoided the temptation to create their own version of the concept and have a stronger focus on one single story element as opposed to various story elements.

At the risk of drawing ire what is SCP?

http://www.scpcbgame.com/

OT: This looks really intriguing. I'll definitely be checking up for news on this at a regular basis.

The Rogue Wolf:

Robot Number V:

It looked to me like the screen was showing her dying where she sat, portrayed as surveillance footage.

I don't think that's what happened. It looked like the device actually created a replica of the room (without itself), including the woman, who ragdolled onto the floor at first; the moment the replica of her moved, she panicked.

I can't make out what the replica is saying, though....

I watched the replica part several times, and it seems to be saying (can't confirm this) "Help! No, please-" and then it gets cut off by the whirring hum and the static. Interesting thing about it is, it appears to be addressing the person. The replica looks up at the camera, when she sees motion, says "Help!", when she sees the person run out of sight of the machine, she says "No, please-" and then the recording cuts off. My guess is that this machine, whatever it is, creates some kind of Matrix-like construct to contain the victim(s?) personality before killing them in the real world. It lends itself to a IHNMAIMS (I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream) atmosphere very easily.
The Possible Plot: You are part of a recovery team sent to ascertain the status of a space station/space ship/whatever, you lose contact with your team, and not long after, you have your first encounter with one of these machines. You see the machine generate a replica of the room and you, then the machine comes to life and tries to kill you. You escape, but you still have to find the crew of the Somewhere. So you continue, but the machines have a place for you already constructed, so they just attack you on sight, to try and gather you.

EDIT: Alternatively, knowing Frictional's previous games and their plots, you ARE in a machine, but you don't know it, and the plot is that you have to escape from the machine, and possibly save everyone else/warn everyone about the machine.

Adam Jensen:
I saw 5 seconds of that video. God I hate live action trailers for video games.

It's hardly a trailer. It's world building.

OT: Yeah, this does not scream "System Shock" to me at all. It's much more obviously influenced by SCP.

Probably the most brilliant part of the video is that A. Reed doesn't die, and B. the doppleganger Reed doesn't either. It freaking gets up again.

I'm hyped.

Darren Carrigan:

V8 Ninja:
While I love the teaser, the website is giving me too strong of a SCP vibe with the various slots and the currently available slot having the prefix of "ITEM #2656". I like SCP stuff, but I'm hoping Frictional Games has avoided the temptation to create their own version of the concept and have a stronger focus on one single story element as opposed to various story elements.

At the risk of drawing ire what is SCP?

http://www.scp-wiki.net/

Warning: Don't read in the dark. Some entries are funny, some are dumb, and some are bloody scary. It's a bit like TVTropes, though. You can never read just one.

http://www.scp-wiki.net/
Warning: Don't read in the dark. Some entries are funny, some are dumb, and some are bloody scary.

Aside from their lovely guests, the staff is also shady as hell, occasionally bringing along some nice paranoia fuel.

 

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