SOMA: Telling The Story Through Environemnts
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SOMA: Telling The Story Through Environemnts
3 September, 2015
News

Developers of survival horror game SOMA have recently released some images, depicting the environments of the project. The rooms look incredibly dark and moody. The light in this project is used in a way similar to the stealth title. You have to sneak around corners and try not to get caught.

The premise of SOMA is very intriguing. You’re staying on a desolated underwater facility PATHOS. There’s no radio or food, but the real danger is that you’re surrounded by scary looking machines which believe they are people. The guys at Frictional Games know how to scare people. They’re the ones behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent – a dark horror, where the hero was chased by some menacing power.

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  • SOMA, indiedev, gamedev, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, horror, survival horror, environment design, leveldesign,
  • SOMA, indiedev, gamedev, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, horror, survival horror, environment design, leveldesign,
  • SOMA, indiedev, gamedev, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, horror, survival horror, environment design, leveldesign,
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  • SOMA, indiedev, gamedev, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, horror, survival horror, environment design, leveldesign,

The interesting part of SOMA is that the story is being told through environment itself.

The storytelling in SOMA has both an active and a passive part. The active part is the narrative that unfolds that as you play the game. These are the things that happen to you as a player and what the gameplay is built around. On top of that is the passive part, that tells you about past events. It’s told through notes, pictures, terminals, audio and the environment itself.

An important thing to note is that the passive part is almost completely optional. It’ll obviously give you a much greater understanding of the game’s world and lore but it’s not our major means of getting the story across. This is very different from Amnesia: The Dark Descent where reading the diary entries scattered across the game was crucial for understanding what was going on. This means that you are free to choose how much you want to invest into uncovering all of the backstory. For instance, you could choose to only check the fragmentary audio buffers of intercoms, and just skim any notes. Or you could decide to find everything in one area, but skip most in another. The game has been designed to support a variety of play styles and still give a complete experience, but we hope you’ll find that by immersing yourself in the world of SOMA your story experience will be considerably enhanced.

There is also a big emphasis on making everything coherent. You won’t find any haphazardly strewn notes, documents or props in SOMA; everything is there for a reason. This to the point where you can get story information from merely pondering the placement of a book or a picture on a desk.

SOMA is easily the most story-heavy game we have made so far. But unlike our other titles, a major part of that story comes from simply playing the game.

Frictional Games

This is a great example of environmental storytelling, which suits horror games perfectly. The same kind of technique is used heavily in Dark Souls, Demon Souls, Bloodborne and even BioShock. In these games levels become mediums that carry certain ideas and evoke different moods in players. An environment is becoming a part of the storytelling process but the story it tells can sometimes be very disturbing.

SOMA will be released on September 22 on PC and PS4.

Source: frictionalgames.blogspot.com

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