Frictional Games’ upcoming sci-fi horror game, SOMA, will be with us in a few months as the developers announced today that it is releasing on September 22 for the PlayStation 4 and PC as a digital-only title.
To celebrate the news, Frictional Games (makers of Amnesia: Dark Descent) revealed over 10 minutes of SOMA PS4 gameplay today, which takes place about an hour into the game. As they explain in a blog post, the protagonist isn’t an amnesiac and knows who he is, but isn’t sure about the situation. Additionally, there’s more to explore in the level than what they show, including avoiding the robot attack by acting differently.
Starting development in fall 2010, Frictional explained what took them so long:
The biggest issue has been how to handle our themes properly. We didn’t want SOMA to be just another ‘run from the monster’-affair. While it does have that sort of thing too, as our gameplay video shows, the horror runs way deeper.
The aim with SOMA is to explore the unsettling aspects of subjects such as consciousness, identity and our very existence. We didn’t want to do this by simply having some ham-fisted exposition now and then, we wanted the player to experience this first-hand.
Getting this right has been extremely hard as it’s not something you can easily iterate on. Creating that disturbing sense of existential horror just right takes hours of setup. It also requires a lot of assets to be in place before it can be tested properly. So while other games can make several iterations a week on their foundational elements, it’s taken us roughly a year for each iteration.
After sending out the beta to a bunch of testers two months ago, they feedback was “overwhelmingly positive. Even those who gave us negative feedback experienced the crucial aspects of the game as we’d intended and liked the game overall.” Based on the response, it makes them “quite confident that we managed to achieve our goals and have created a horror game that delves into new, spine-chilling territory.”