SOMA was one of my favorite games of 2015, horror or otherwise. Its philosophical sci-fi narrative steeped in themes of existentialism and body horror hit all of the right notes for me, and stands as a masterpiece from the same house responsible for the resurgence of the horror genre with their hit Amnesia: The Dark Descent. What feature could make SOMA even more nerve-wracking (while also contextually appropriate)? VR of course.
In an interview with Gameranx, Frictional Games’ Creative Director Thomas Grip shared plans regarding SOMA post-release and how new content was considered, VR support included.
“There was talks about making a DLC close after finishing the first game. The idea was to make something smaller while we started up the next big project. However, it didn’t feel we had good enough ideas or resources to make sure the DLC did the full game justice,” Grip said. The studio voted in favor of scraping those DLC plans as they felt they couldn’t do the themes of SOMA justice amidst development of their new project.
Regarding VR support for SOMA, something that would propel the scares of the game to new heights as well as fit in thematically due to the game’s existential themes, Grip confessed that VR was something Frictional were looking into. “We have been looking into VR and we have some ideas, but the problem is having enough time. We have to weight it against other things we want to do and also see how the platform evolves,” he told Gameranx.
Essentially, Frictional needs to determine whether implementing VR fully into SOMA would be worth the investment of time and development costs. The VR market is still fairly niche, and not necessarily everyone with a Vive or Oculus wants to play (or purchase) SOMA, so spending resources on such support is risky. Frictional Games is doing pretty well scaring people to death without VR anyway. Perhaps their next horror project will have VR support from the get-go.
If you’d like to hear more about the development and themes of SOMA, be sure to check out our past interview with Thomas Grip here.