The radio has gone silent on PATHOS-2. As isolation bears down on the staff of the remote research facility, strange things are happening. Machines are taking on human traits and alien constructions have started to interfere with routine. The world around them is turning into a nightmare.
Last October, Amnesia developer Frictional Games started teasing their next project, the freaky looking horror game SOMA. Here we are a year later and the game is significantly less mysterious than it was back then. Even still, I can’t help but wonder if we’ve only scratched the surface. SOMA looks like a mystery wrapped in an enigma that’s been slathered in gore, modified corpses and face-eating robots. It looks to us like a mixture of Virus, Alien and The Thing.
SOMA will be set in a scientific research facility deep under the ocean. Most of our earth is covered in ocean, and yet it’s something that we know very little about. It is an incredibly hostile environment filled with strange creatures, and it is right on our door step.
Most of the ocean is devoid of sunlight and inhospitable to us. The differences in pressure between the surface and even a modest depth of 100 meters is enough to turn a human into mush. That pressure, that depth, is nothing compared to the true ocean deeps. And as if this isn’t enough, the creatures living there seem like they’re from another world. Gigantic squid, luminescent fish and creatures that are all mouths and teeth are only the start. If you dive down any distance you enter into a realm of monsters.
The ocean is an alien world, and we’ve only scratched the surface. We feel it’s the perfect place to explore in a horror game.
SOMA is a sci-fi horror game from Frictional Games, creators of the groundbreaking Amnesia and Penumbra series. Coming to PC and PS4 in 2015.
Soma is a survival horror game played from a first-person perspective. Thomas Grip of Frictional Games stated that you will "encounter a number of strange creatures, each an embodiment of an aspect of our themes."
You play as Simon, a man who has found himself in an abandoned science facility. According to Thomas Grip of Frictional Games, "He's not an amnesiac character, but something weird has happened to him that has made him end up in this place, and that's a big mystery, but I can't talk to you about that right now. What's sort of cool with the mystery is that you could actually figure it out directly, but I don't think that many people will think in those directions and want to consider that possibility."
Like Amnesia, Soma is a first-person horror game. Unlike Amnesia, your character talks this time around. Frictional co-founder Thomas Grip explains the logic behind giving the player character, Simon, a voice.
"The main reason was because they had to talk with other characters," he says. "It just came from that. Otherwise the character would be so dull. They would just be pushing him around like a dog or something."
Another reason for Simon's voice and puzzle-solving prowess is that Soma tells a more immediate story than Frictional's predecessors. "In Pigs and The Dark Descent, it was mostly about 'this has happened.' You're reading notes about stuff that's happened, but in Soma the player is the driving force," Grip says. "There is a lot of back-story, but we're not focusing on that. Someone should be able to play the game from start to finish and be able to just skip pretty much all back-story and you're still getting the story."
This isn't to suggest that there won't also be a rich back-story - it will just be buried a little deeper.
While Soma is certainly a supernatural experience, it's much more grounded in the real world with its hard sci-fi angle. "For what we wanted to do with the story it had to be either futuristic or in a fantastical realm," Grip explains. "And if you go with a fantastical realm, you lose a bit of your connection to the real world. You don't think of it as something that could happen from where we are now. You can kind of push it aside."
"There were noises that sounded like distant screams, and I wasn't sure if I was hearing what I thought I was hearing or if my imagination was making more of the muffled ocean sounds than was actually there." Carolyn Petit
The trailers and pics we have so far showcase an atmospheric sample of the game, just planting seeds in your mind, and then later on, four or five hours into the game, we get to the really creepy stuff!" I admit that I'm scared to return to SOMA's unsettling world, but I also look forward to spending more time in its environments and looking at all the little details that will help me piece together its narrative. SOMA is aiming for a release on the PC and PlayStation 4 in early 2015.
Much more to come! As we know more, you will no more!