With Amnesia’s sequel farmed out elsewhere – inasmuch as anything can be ‘farmed out’ to one of the most creative studios in indiedom, thechineseroom – Frictional Games have spent the three years since the primal fear sim’s release building awful machines and dropping them, one by one, into a new bit of scare-bottling software. It’s another first-person exploration and survival game, called SOMA, and it’s destined for the PC in 2015.
We found creative director Thomas Grip cowering behind an overturned plastic chair on thePlayStation blog, hiding from his own creation, which he warned us would “confront you with questions about your very existence”.
“SOMA is meant to be a proper sci-fi game,” he said, vocal chords a-quiver. “The subject that SOMA will discuss is consciousness. Personally, I find it the most profound questions that it is possible to ask. ‘How can the feeling of subjective experience arise from a chunk of flesh?’
“Exploring this further takes us to questions such as ‘Can machines be conscious?’ and ‘Do we have free will?’ It quickly gets very disturbing, and is ideal for a futuristic horror setting. It is the kind of sci-fi that we want to make.”
It’s running, arms flailing, around the same thematic ballpark asMonkey Island-influenced platformer The Fall– though that’s a darkened field sparse and large enough that I’m sure they can both stumble about forever without ever colliding.