SOMA Unveils New Trailer and Other Bad News

SOMA Unveils New Trailer and Other Bad News

The guys behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent take to the PlayStation Blog to talk about how they're going to do even worse things in SOMA.

On the surface, SOMA appears to be a sci-fi take on Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which is bad news for a number of reasons. Not only is the prospect of go-around with a System Shock 2-tinged descent into Amnesia-style madness just about the last thing I want to subject myself to, but it will also, according to a PlayStation Blog post by Frictional Games Creative Director Thomas Grip, take advantage of lessons learned in the studio's last game to make this one even more horrific.

"We do not want you to calmly stroll through the various environments; it must be emotionally tasking to progress," Grip wrote. "We want this blanket of oppression and fear wrapped around the entire experience. Sustaining this through eight or so hours takes some finesse - if we repeat something too often, you'll get used to it and be able to predict upcoming events."

With the first alpha test looming, Grip also talked a bit about the nature of the game itself. A crucial design goal of SOMA is "to allow a deep exploration of what it means to be a sentient being," which will in turn lead to "seriously unsettling implications" as the game progresses. The trick is leading people down that path without either spoonfeeding them or letting them get bored, something that the alpha will allow Frictional to look at closely for the first time.

The new teaser doesn't show off much in the way of gameplay, but it does provide an idea of the kind of voice work the game will offer as well as "a few clues on what the game's story will be about." It's also quite possibly the first time I've ever heard anyone say, "It's not my fault people keep killing themselves." Yeah, can't wait to turn down the lights and start playing that.

SOMA is slated to come out in early 2015 for the PC and PlayStation 4.

Source: PlayStation Blog

Permalink

If this turns out being anything like as atmospheric as those vaults I used to stumble upon in Fallout, they're on the right track. Nearly every one of those abandoned tombs had its own compelling horror story to tell.

I think it was the tentacles/roots in the screenshots that got me thinking of Fallout, specifically New Vegas - there was one vault in particular that came to mind.

I am BEYOND excited about this game. I too am hoping for a "Vault" like experience where something has gone wrong and now you must uncover why. I want the game to mess with my mind and make me not want to continue AND to continue at the same time. This I feel was missing from A Machine for Pigs. Although A Machine for Pigs was a very nice game aesthetics wise, the game did not make me want to continue the story. The Dark Descent however messed with my mind at every turn.

IMO This game needs to get it right. With the new Aliens game coming out that is centered on this concept of no weapons creepy horror, I feel Frictional games cannot afford to fail on this one.

Plz remove the screenshots of Metro Last Light, it's misleading kthx.
Only kidding of course, but I couldn't help but make the connection. This game looks pretty promising so far, and I'm always up for another horror game. Interested in what the game means by exploration of sentience...

Improving on The Dark Descent huh?

I wonder what exactly it is they want to improve on. That's not to say that Amnesia TDD was perfect. God no. It had some major weaknesses. Its successor made some stuff better, but was significantly weaker in other aspects.

TheSniperFan:
Improving on The Dark Descent huh?

I wonder what exactly it is they want to improve on. That's not to say that Amnesia TDD was perfect. God no. It had some major weaknesses. Its successor made some stuff better, but was significantly weaker in other aspects.

That's because Frictional didn't make the successor. thechineseroom did, Frictional only published.

With luck, they'll retain the magic of "Dark Descent" while gleaning the things done well in "Machine for Pigs".

Anyways, this looks very promising. "Vivarium" is still my favorite game trailer ever made.

TheSniperFan:
Improving on The Dark Descent huh?

I wonder what exactly it is they want to improve on. That's not to say that Amnesia TDD was perfect. God no. It had some major weaknesses. Its successor made some stuff better, but was significantly weaker in other aspects.

My biggest complaint about The Dark Descent was that it had numbed me to its horrors before the end. By the time I made The Big Discovery (no spoilers), I was so beaten down that I was no longer frightened; I was like Hudson at the end of Aliens, finally broken and tired of running and hiding and so sick of this shit that if you want some of this then COME ON AND GET SOME. You know? Loved the game overall, but it was just a little too long for its own good.

Yup... this has "I am not playing this, because I like being able to sleep at night" written all over it

But seriously, I love that these devs seem to have nailed absolute horror once again. A Machine For Pigs wasn't nearly as spooky as the first Amnesia game, but this... oh dear gods...

I'm already at NopeNopeNope.jpg levels of not wanting to see anymore of it. That, I find impressive

So in other words (as ZP put it) monsters will no longer appear every time you pick up an item or solve a puzzle like they're being summoned by the auto-save function?

lacktheknack:
That's because Frictional didn't make the successor. thechineseroom did, Frictional only published.

I know that and I think you can clearly see that.
A Machine For Pigs reminded me a lot of Dear Esther (which I really liked).

Story: Really good
Art Design: Fantastic
Sound Design: Beyond Fantastic
Soundtrack: Beautiful
Atmosphere: Rock-solid
Gameplay: Very weak
Length: Too damn short

It's almost the logical opposite to The Dark Descent.

lacktheknack:
With luck, they'll retain the magic of "Dark Descent" while gleaning the things done well in "Machine for Pigs".

I'd love that, but I'm rather sceptical about this.
Well, unless Frictional announces that TheChineseRoom will work on it. Collaborating that is.
Seriously: Having Frictional take care of the mechanics and let TheChineseRoom handle the "Art-stuff" sounds like the recipe for the best horror game ever to me.

Andy Chalk:
My biggest complaint about The Dark Descent was that it had numbed me to its horrors before the end. By the time I made The Big Discovery (no spoilers), I was so beaten down that I was no longer frightened; I was like Hudson at the end of Aliens, finally broken and tired of running and hiding and so sick of this shit that if you want some of this then COME ON AND GET SOME. You know? Loved the game overall, but it was just a little too long for its own good.

I had a similar experience.
The biggest thing is that the game became really predictable after a few hours.

CAPTCHA: "crime of passion" - I, I don't know what to say...

Space stations really are the perfect places for horror. Seeing videos of Amnesia and Outlast, one thing that's always at the back of my mind is "Why don't the just climb out a window and run the fuck away into the forest?" On a spaceship, there is literally no way out.

Ooh, I wish I could play this sort of game; looks really interesting. But I barely made it through "Metro" without becoming a nervous wreck. I guess I'm just a horror lightweight ;p

The Plunk:
Space stations really are the perfect places for horror. Seeing videos of Amnesia and Outlast, one thing that's always at the back of my mind is "Why don't the just climb out a window and run the fuck away into the forest?" On a spaceship, there is literally no way out.

Have to agree with you there. Certainly one reason Dead Space 1 was so effective. And when you're on a ship, a station, an installation so often whatever hunts you is a monster of man's own creation. Our hubris, our downfall.

Andy Chalk:

TheSniperFan:
Improving on The Dark Descent huh?

I wonder what exactly it is they want to improve on. That's not to say that Amnesia TDD was perfect. God no. It had some major weaknesses. Its successor made some stuff better, but was significantly weaker in other aspects.

My biggest complaint about The Dark Descent was that it had numbed me to its horrors before the end. By the time I made The Big Discovery (no spoilers), I was so beaten down that I was no longer frightened; I was like Hudson at the end of Aliens, finally broken and tired of running and hiding and so sick of this shit that if you want some of this then COME ON AND GET SOME. You know? Loved the game overall, but it was just a little too long for its own good.

I'm kind of in the same boat: Amnesia was at its best when you were being chased further down into the bowels of whatever unkonwn dungeons lay ahead. It was scariest when a hideous, slathering monster was chasing you from the current nightmarish room leaving you no choice to blindly flee further into "Oh God, who knows what's down there". Once you approach the end of the game, and you know what's in store, it all becomes a whole lot less scary.

Under_your_bed:
I'm kind of in the same boat: Amnesia was at its best when you were being chased further down into the bowels of whatever unkonwn dungeons lay ahead. It was scariest when a hideous, slathering monster was chasing you from the current nightmarish room leaving you no choice to blindly flee further into "Oh God, who knows what's down there". Once you approach the end of the game, and you know what's in store, it all becomes a whole lot less scary.

That's the story of most horror experiences. You either become inured to the terror because it just never fucking stops, or you grow accustomed to the mechanics and learn to predict when and where Shit's Gonna Happen, or you realize that you're full plate and packing steel, and it's the monsters who should be worried, not you. Mixing it up is vital to keeping the horror effective, and even Amnesia, as god-awful scary as it was, couldn't keep it up over the entirety of the game.

Two of the absolute best horror game experiences I've had came by way of games that weren't actually horror at all: the Return to Cathedral and Robbing the Cradle levels from Thief 1 and Thief 3. They were brilliantly awful, and they worked so well because they didn't overload the player's senses and, more importantly, they represented just a small slice of the overall experience. You can't translate that approach into a full-on horror game, but it does indicate how gameplay variety can make all the difference.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here