Tuesday, October 8, 2013

SOMA Officially Revealed


After more than two weeks of teasing, we are content to appropriately announce our new game: SOMA. It is a sci-fi horror game played from a 1st particular person point of view with the goal to deliver a genuinely disturbing knowledge. Having worked on this project for over 3 years now, it is actually nice to ultimately reveal it to the world!

The game will be released for PS4 and Pc, and it will be out some time in 2015.

Right here is the official reveal trailer featuring some gameplay:

Creating The Trailer
While the footage above is unedited gameplay footage (I played by way of and recorded it myself), it is not from an actual game level. Just like with our Amnesia teaser video, it is a custom created map that is meant to show off the basic really feel and tone of the game over a four minute extended trailer. This means that it is not an exact representation of how the game is truly played. It provides a fairly very good concept of how the gameplay works even though.

Coming up with the concept for this trailer was really tough. We knew from the start that we wanted to have it as recorded gameplay. It was essential that it showed that SOMA will permit you to play via its central themes. The topic matters of the game are not some type of wrapper, they are an integral portion of the gameplay. So obtaining a trailer totally made out of uncut gameplay felt like the very best way to show this.

With Amnesia carrying out this sort of issue was pretty easy as the core ingredient was the player running and hiding from monsters. In SOMA it is significantly a lot more complicated. Even though the game also has its share of monsters, hiding and stuff like that, it is not what tends to make the game unique. What sets SOMA apart is that it gives a very first particular person account of some deep and genuinely disturbing concepts with regards to the self, thoughts and consciousness. These are items that we take a lot of time to build up in the actual game, so displaying it off in a couple of minutes is really tough.

Our 1st notion was to use a lot of dialog to get this across, but that did not feel right. The player will be be an active participant, and do not sit by passively listening to characters having discussions. So as an alternative we approached the themes in a extremely direct and visceral manner.

A final aspect of creating the trailer was not to have too a lot of spoilers. Since of this, the video does not star the protagonist from the actual game, but a entirely distinct (and minor) character. The events that take place in the trailer are not taken straight from the game either. They just showcase the sort of happenings one can expect from the final game. This signifies that we can give a very good overview of what the game is about, with out spoiling the actual game experience. But do not be concerned, the issues in the video are quite much connected to the game's story. Almost everything you see are hints of issues to come.

Reside Action Videos
Another big component of the reveal for our game was the release some creepy and mysterious teaser material. You can see texts and films here:
and right here:

Initial I guess I have to settle the massive debate: Are these inspired by SCP? And, yes they are! That was actually the pitch for the complete thing: "Let's have some SCP-like texts on the web site to give out spooky and fragmented info prior to the final trailer is released.". The game itself is nonetheless not very close to the SCP-style at all. There are some SCP inspiration in SOMA for sure, but it is a lot far more subtle and has to do with how we think about monsters and artifacts. They play a bigger part now, the foreboding is much deeper and there is a bigger connection with them and the central themes in the game. In fact, a lot of the SOMA's themes are straight expressed via interactions with enemies, an idea that stems from SCP.

Sufficient SCP, let's move on to the actual teaser texts and films. At first the teasers had a a lot weaker production values. The idea was just to use plain text and possibly a handful of pictures. As Mikael wrote these he suggested that we might add sounds to them, e.g. a recorded interview, and that felt like a good concept. But that was as far as we thought about going.

When discussing a release trailer for Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, we came upon Imagos Films and decided to give them a go. Jens contacted them about creating a trailer, and they had been really excited about it. They even agreed to getting a meeting in the middle of the night in order to fit our schedule. Some fast drafts have been created for a trailer, but simply because of a variety of issues, it all fell through in the finish. We felt bad about this and promised they would be our initial option when needing some other video material.

A few days soon after Mikael recommended possessing voices for the texts, it hit me that we could maybe use Imagos Films to do some straightforward clips alternatively. We mailed them and they mentioned they were up for it, so Mikael converted the transcribed audio from the documents to film scripts and then we set the ball rolling. I did not really anticipate significantly from the films, but soon after seeing the very first couple of WIP shots and production designs, I knew that it could in fact turn out actually cool. But the end outcome turned out even much better, and it blew my (and every person else's at FG) mind.

It has to be described how rapidly these films have been place with each other. The initial script drafts + guidelines had been sent on the 2nd of september. This meant they had a significantly less than a month to make the 1st movie. Then yet another movie necessary to be completed a week right after that. Offered the quantity steps required to go from script to final film, this is insanely quick.

Will there be far more motion pictures? We would actually like that to happen, but absolutely nothing is set however. Stay tuned for much more news regarding that!

End Notes
This reveal has been quite a lot of difficult function and there have been way a lot more issues to deal with than I initial believed. Worst should have been the significant server failures that we had on the days prior to the 1st teaser would go reside. This turned out to be due to the fact of a DDoS attack and took fairly a whilst to repair (Jens had to come out of a parental leave to function on it). We had to put off the complete initial reveal for a day simply because of this. It was very embarrassing, as folks wondered what the hell occurred and we had to reschedule a bunch of other stuff connected to the reveal (like the PlayStation Europe twitter).

And then of course the final trailer reveal had to be problematic as well. Early on the day before reveal (as of writing, yesterday) Tapio, external sound particular person, had completed editing the trailer, all of David's, external art particular person, animations have been in and all sound was synced and nice. Nevertheless, as he exported the final version the good quality was crap. I had hoped to have a calm day and just code stuff but rather I had to aid Tapio search for the error, trying to convert files far better, etc. Nothing at all worked. On best of this, our ftp servers had been really slow and sending files took a extended time and was a general discomfort. At some point, I had to re-edit the complete trailer (adding animations, fades and syncing sound)  using Windows Film Maker as swift tests showed the final good quality was a lot better there. At the same time we became aware that we also needed an ESRB logo and had to scavenge the net for a suitable one particular. We had been now significantly later than planned and anxiety was taking its toll. After a lot of grueling hours we ultimately got it operating though. Only to uncover out the subsequent morning (day of the reveal) that the damn ESRB logo was not shown long adequate, so more editing, exporting and uploaded were required.

In the finish it worked out fine even though and the entire reveal has been quite profitable. (As I am writing this we have not noticed any reactions to the final video, so I am hoping these are great .. :) )

Now it is time to go back full time on function for the actual game. We are all extremely excited about SOMA and hope that these two+ weeks  of teasing and reveal have gotten you all interested aswell.

And do not be concerned, amongst now and the 2015 release there will be a lot far more unsettling stuff revealed!

Want to finish with some hyperlinks to the non-Frictional folks that helped this reveal happen:

The makers of the two reside action teaser films.

The coder of our teaser site.

Created gameplay trailer animations, SOMA and FG logo, web site graphics and some teasing pictures.

Produced all the sound work for the gameplay teaser.

Who sent out PR and nagged different publications. Jens, who typically does this, has been on parental leave and I would have gone mad if I have been to do all that too....

Made trailer-particular animations for the corpse and monster encounter.

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