It was June 2009 and we were running out of money. We’d spent nearly two years making a game called Lux Tenebras. Our idea was to make a Super Mario version of a horror game; something that could be enjoyed in bite-sized chunks, was replayable, and mostly relied on easily repeatable gameplay mechanics.
The problem was, this game wasn’t working out. Despite a lot of time and effort, it never really clicked. A publishing deal had recently evaporated, leaving our funds basically drained. We had at most a month left in our budget, and while we had a lot of assets, we didn’t have a working game. It felt like the company was on the verge of going bankrupt, and I recall starting on my CV.
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Finally, after years of hard work, our sci-fi horror game Soma is out today! Completing a game is a really amazing thing. Five years ago Soma was just a vague figment of the imagination, and today it’s an actual, playable thing. And that process is what I will talk about in this blog post.
SOMA, our upcoming sci-fi horror game, delves deep into the mysteries of subjects such as identity and consciousness. In this post I would like to explore the real world inspirations that have shaped our game.
That’s right, our next game will be set deep below the water’s surface – at the bottom of the sea. It was a decision which came very swiftly; Jens (co-founder of Frictional Games) and I sort of decided it on whim during a meet-up. But it’s something that had been brewing inside us for a long time. 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.
Time for a little update on how SOMA is doing. (A brief summary for those who don’t already know: SOMA is a sci-fi horror game from the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent that will tackle unsettling questions about consciousness. It will be released on PS4 in 2015.)
So, what exactly is SOMA? Briefly stated, it is a sci-fi horror game played from a first person perspective. You are not a space marine though; you’re a normal, very exposed person trapped in a nightmarish world. SOMA is a game about exploration, survival and immersing you inside an interactive narrative.
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