Why You Should Be Excited For Frictional Games’ SOMA
We have reached a glorious epoch in gaming that has seen some of the most innovative and terrifying horror titles in recent years. With the likes of Alien: Isolation proving to be not only a praiseworthy take on Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi flick, but also a stupendous monument to horror gaming in general, studios are finding ways to push the boundaries of what terrifies us.
Whether you prefer the action-packed gore of Dead Space, the twisted backdrop of Silent Hill or the cat-and-mouse gameplay of Outlast, horror games are very much in vogue right now.
But none of the kudos heaped upon Isolation would have been possible were it not for Frictional Games’ 2010 magnum opus Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This is a game that is not only one of the most petrifying titles in gaming history, but has gained immense notoriety after thousands of fans uploaded reaction videos of themselves playing the game.
It spawned a new type of horror game that puts emphasis on evading and hiding from monsters rather than encountering them, putting us in the ultimate position of vulnerability. Amnesia spawned a hundred other games influenced by its mechanics and atmosphere. This one game has changed the way we choose to be digitally frightened.
In essence, Frictional Games are the godfathers of modern horror gaming and while they have been pretty quiet since The Dark Descent (the sequel – Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs – was only published by them), they are making a triumphant return this year with their new game, SOMA.
Set on PATHOS-2 – an underwater research facility – SOMA will see the Swedish development team return to form with their expertise in survival horror. Strangely, very little is known about what the story will be about, save for the following passage posted on the official website:
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.
The only way out is to do something unimaginable.
A few screenshots and a couple of teaser trailers are all we have to go off. But take a look at those videos. Soak up those images. Read the above synopsis over and over again. What’s the game about? We don’t really know and that’s just one other aspect that makes SOMA such an exciting potential.
It would be easy for Frictional Games to unveil every minutia of their story until we practically know what the protagonist’s nasal hair looks like before it’s even released. Instead, they are handling the game with enigmatic care and that just whets out appetites even further.
The Dark Descent came out right under our collective noses and within a short span of time it managed to rocket the horror genre into new realms; something which hasn’t happened since the first Silent Hill game.
So why should you be excited for SOMA? Because any horror fan who knows a thing or two about fear knows exactly what Frictional Games are capable of. They remember the taste that Amnesia left in their mouth. Who knows what terrifying abominations await us on PATHOS-2!