Thursday, 1 October 2015

SOMA - 10 days after launch

SOMA has now been out in the wild for 10 day so it felt fitting to write a summary of how things have gone so far. But first a little trailer:



Sales
I'm going to start with what I think most people are interested in: how much has the game sold? The current number now is at about 92,000 copies across all platforms (due to legal reasons we can't give a per-platform breakdown). This is quite good for 10 days (+ preorder time) of sales! The money that we've got from this will pretty much pay our company expenses for another 2 years. Sales are still going pretty strongly too, with a total of around 2,000 copies sold per day. This number is bound to drop over time, and it'll be interesting to see just how fast and where it stabilizes. While a lot of sales obviously come close to launch, a big part of our normal earnings comes from a slow daily trickle over the years of our existing titles. So our average daily sales a month or so from now on is actually more important than all of the units sold up to this point.

How does this compare to our other releases? Well, Amnesia: The Dark Descent sold 30,000 copies in the first month (and around 20,000 the first week). So SOMA's launch is obviously a lot better than that. Compared to Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, though, the launch is a little bit worse. That game sold about 120,000 copies the first week.

Our goal for SOMA's sales is 100,000 after a month, and at the current pace it should be able to reach pretty much exactly that with a few units to spare. However, this doesn't mean that we've come close to recouping all our costs. We need to sell almost 3 times that amount to do that. But given that it took us 5 years to make the project, there's no immediate stress to do so. One of the great things about funding SOMA 100% ourselves is that all money earned goes into our own pockets and is directly used to fund our upcoming projects. So we are under no pressure to recoup immediately so long as we get enough to keep going - which we certainly have now.

Finally, another very interesting aspect is how new titles tend to cannibalize on the previous ones. We saw this with A Machine for Pigs; after it launched the daily sales of The Dark Descent were almost cut in half. That was not that unexpected though, given that they are both from the same franchise, but still a bit weird that the games' combined sales ended up being pretty much what The Dark Descent sold on its own before. What we didn't expect was for SOMA to do the same. When the pre-orders for SOMA started, Amnesia sales dropped by about 30% or so and this drop still remains. This feels strange as the two games are not connected apart from being made by the same company, so we wonder what mechanism it is that causes this. It might be that Amnesia's sales will rise again a bit later on though, so it's too soon to tell yet just what the effects are.


Reception
The critical reception of SOMA has been, overall, really, really great. MetaCritic is currently at 85 and the Steam reviews are 94% positive.

The thing that I worried most about personally was how the themes would be received. It turns out that I needn't have worried - that's the thing we have fewest problems with. Even reviews that gave us so-so scores lauded the game for the thought-provoking narrative. This feels awesome, as this has been the core focus during our five years of development.

The most common issue people have had is that they've felt the game wasn't scary enough. This is quite interesting, so I'd like to take a little time to discuss this.

One reason this was so is probably due to expectations. While we've tried to be very clear that SOMA will be a different game from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, we have still used the name "Amnesia" as a way to grab attention. This sends a bit of a mixed message, as people might simply assume that because we say "from the creators of Amnesia", a similar experience will be provided. One idea would have been not to mention the studio's heritage, but that feels stupid from a PR perspective. Another idea would have been to tone it down a bit, but it's hard to say exactly how to do that. The fact of the matter is that SOMA, just like Amnesia,  is very much a horror game. It's just that it is presented in a different manner, using slower build-up and more focus on the psychological aspects.

Another reason why some people felt it was not scary enough is because horror is extremely subjective. The reactions to how scary SOMA is range from "not at all" to "the scariest game I have played", and some of the people in the latter camp are survival horror veterans. We had this sort of reaction to Amnesia: TDD as well, but it feels even more spread out for SOMA. When we released The Dark Descent, horror with no combat was still a very fresh concept, but five years later that is no longer the case, and it has lost its impact for some people. SOMA also employs a riskier approach to monster AI that assumes the player will act in certain ways and reach a certain understanding about how the creatures work. If players don't do this the experience might suffer. Above all, the main horror in SOMA is supposed to come from the existential dread that's slowly unveiled as the game progresses. And in order for this to work properly, a lot of pieces need to align, and it will not work for everyone.

So in the light of that, it doesn't feel all that bad that we didn't get a more universal praise for the game's scariness. But it's taught us a valuable lesson: that one should be very careful in managing people's expectations. This is a lesson that we thought we knew after A Machine For Pigs (which didn't turn out to be the game many wanted it to be) but apparently we hadn't learned enough. Once your studio gets associated with a particular game, it'll play a huge role in what people expect from upcoming releases. That said, the vast majority of people that had expected another Amnesia ended up enjoying SOMA once they realized the game was different. So I don't feel it has been a complete failure by any means, but just one of those things that needs more work in the future.


Piracy
It is interesting that this is no longer a subject brought up much. So I thought I would quickly get into it. And the first thing to note is that SOMA is the first game we have launched without having a pirated version out before release!

Another thing I have noticed is that we get fewer tech support requests from people with pirated versions than we used to have. It's often pretty easy to spot these people as we issue new patches frequently, so there are lots of telltale signs in the log files. I'm not sure if this means piracy has decreased for SOMA, or if these people find tech support elsewhere, but I felt it worth mentioning.

As for us personally, we haven't even talked about piracy. The only time it matters to us is when sending out review copies. Amnesia had a pirated version leaked before release, so now we make sure that we at least send out a DRM-protected version of the game to reviewers. But other than that, I don't think we've discussed it for even a second. This is quite different from back in 2007 when I know me and Jens had hours of discussions on the subject.


Marketing
I've already touched upon this above when discussing the game's reception. However, how to market SOMA in terms of horror was the easy part. The hard part was to explain what makes the game special. When we released Amnesia, showing off the physics and explaining that you couldn't fight back was more than a enough for the game to stand out. But now the market is filled with these types of games, and more is needed to get people excited.

The main unique feature of SOMA is its exploration of consciousness and what it means to be human. This is also what has been the most celebrated feature of the game after launch. But explaining this to press and gamers prior to release has been exceptionally difficult. This is not some gameplay gimmick that can be shown off during a short demo session, but something that requires hours of build-up. So when you talk about the game, you have to be fuzzy and talk about very high-level concepts. When doing interviews like this I often got the impression that I wasn't really taken seriously. The press don't expect any lofty design aspirations to come true and would rather hear about concrete and more easily-digested (and explained) features.

To make things even harder, SOMA is very hard to talk about without spoiling the experience. I could never give an example of exactly how we handle our thematics through gameplay without spoiling a big chunk of the game. This problem of spoilers also makes the game hard to demo and to give to YouTubers. If we just give people a part of the game where you are chased by monsters, that would misrepresent the game (making the expectation problem worse) and fail to explain what is so special about SOMA. And if we show off one of slower sections that are all about build-up, mood and thematics, we have to show off really long segments, which becomes too spoiler-filled and takes way too much time for a demo. (For more discussion on making a demo for SOMA, see here).

We solved the YouTuber issue by only sending it out to a few trusted people, and only allowing a maximum of 15 minutes to be shown. That way we got people to play a lengthy part of the game (around 3 hours) and then show a distilled, and fairly spoiler-free, video to their viewers. We could only do this pretty late in development though, and given how important streamers and YouTubers are for PR these days, it felt like we would have like to do more earlier.

Another issue is that we might have unveiled the game a bit too early. We first showed off SOMA back in October 2013 and the plan was to keep content coming out until release. This turned out way harder to keep up with than what we'd initially thought. Because we were so unwilling to spoil the game, we could provide very little in terms of playable material for the press. Because of this, we had issues getting proper coverage at the end, as most of the standard things like "first playable preview" had already been done over a year back. We'd also had a plan to release a monthly live-action video clip to keep interest up, but because of production problems it got delayed and this plan fell through. (We are however showing them now!)

So it feels like it might have been better to have unveiled the game a year or so later to be able to keep up interest all the way to release and to have a more massive promotion campaign that way. A big issue with that is that it would have been very bad for the team morale. It's quite hard to work on a project in the dark for several years, and there was a very evident boost in spirit once we had let the world know that SOMA was coming. Added to this is that we got a lot of good feedback from press and fan reactions, which helped us shaped not just our PR but the actual game too. This is makes it much more uncertain if a later unveiling really would have been a better move.


Future
So what is next for Frictional Games? First of all, now just about all of the major post-release issues have been patched up, most of the team will take some rest. We'll then focus a bit on documenting how the game and engine works, in the hopes that modding will reach the glorious heights it did for Amnesia. After that we are on to new secret projects.  But those secret projects are really secret, so we can't say a word.

Finally a gigantic thanks to all who have bought the game! We love hearing about your experiences so please tweet, comment on Facebook, or leave a comment here and say what you thought about the game!


60 comments:

  1. I know I already said this to you on Twitter, but I'd love to see your previous work come to PlayStation 4. I really enjoyed the Penumbra series and the Amnesia games even more. I appreciate you are probably more focussed on brand new games in the future, but I'd also love to be able to revisit you past games on PS4. SOMA was great and the controls translated really well to the PlayStation 4. I just wish I now had more of your games to play on it!

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    1. A spoiler warning would have been nice.

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    2. You could say SPOILERS. Good thing I already finished the game.

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  3. Christoph Zürcher1 October 2015 at 15:09

    Thank you for this detailed write-up. I'm very happy how the game turned out, it even exceeded my high expectations. And that's from a guy who been following you guys ever since you released the tech demo of Penumbra. It's interesting how many people complain the horror factor, personally I highly enjoyed the different, existential horror. I hope the whole team can get a well deservered rest and I look forward to whatever you work on next.

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  4. Just like with Amnesia, I think, by word of mouth, over time, people will realise how great SOMA really is.
    It takes time to understand it has a different way of bringing the horror.

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  5. It's good to hear that the game is selling well and getting praise. I really enjoyed this more story focused approach you took with SOMA and I hope you keep the same kind of approach in the future.

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  6. Absolutely loved the game; The atmosphere was incredible, and the story was very engrossing (can't remember a game that had me so engaged in its story). I just wished there was more of it! more audio logs, notes, photos etc. I found the story not shown of the crew members to be so interesting, I just wanted to know more about them!

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  7. I wrote a bit about it here, in case you guys want to read it: http://filmsnark.tumblr.com/post/130200836116/soma

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  8. Very happy to hear the game is doing well! You and your team have delivered a feeling that I haven't had since the days of System Shock and for that I am truly thankful! The feeling of dread I have walking through the corridors, learning bits and pieces of what happened to the unfortunate others is great. Catherine is my Janice Polito, and Omicron is my Deck 5. This game is nostalgic and fresh all at the same time.

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  9. I'm one of your horror veterans that finds SOMA exceptionally scary. But then, I do actually work to maintain a certain naivety so that I can continue to be frightened by games.

    I'm not finished with the game — there's always something trying to drag me away from a "good book" experience like SOMA — but at what I estimate the mid point you've demonstrated clearly your thematic values of transhumanism along with a kind of crushing despair regarding the setting and goals in the game.

    Thanks!

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  11. While I enjoyed the game, one thing starts to bother me greatly when it comes to your new releases - they're getting simpler and more linear with each iteration, you're slowly veering into Dear Esther territory instead of (physics-based) interaction, inventory, puzzles and sizeable areas where you aren't being led by the nose, but have to "figure out the way out" to progress.
    I know reviewers are very much into "interactive movies" these days, but I wouldn't like Frictional to follow that trend. Penumbra, as far as I'm concerned, still remains your best game to date (perfect, scary blend of exploration, horror and meaningful interaction with the game world).

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  12. I agree with the comment above this, except that Amnesia The Dark Descent is a contender for Penumbra.

    I think part of the issue with existential angst is that the individual's narrative identity needs to be unfulfilling and they have to have an introspective bent. If not, the game won't resonate with the audience, it will just make the audience feel the protagonist is a whiner and they'll be either puzzled by or gloss over the themes like a death in the Rambo franchise.

    Having primal fear based games works for everyone because its instinctual, and a mystery is exciting for the curious. I really enjoyed the Giger elements and mystical tone "...The ancients..." in your old SOMA workup. Please include them again in your future work.

    SOMA's themes ARE deep, but by themselves they're a bit too niche for your target audience.

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  13. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into the game, AND the detailed blogging about the process. It's been a very exciting journey and a real honour to get a glimpse of the creation process. I hope you keep on sharing this with us.

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  14. I'd love to see SOMA come to Xbox One!

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  15. I had high expectations, and SOMA didn't disappoint me. You are truly the masters when it comes to creating a creepy atmosphere in a game, SOMA got me sitting in random corners throughout the game cause of all the god damn noises. And i LOVED it!

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  16. I can't imagine how proud you guys must be right now, and you should be! I've been a fan since Amnesia was released and how far you have come, especially in story/writing, is amazing. I've done two playthroughs of SOMA and it has been haunting me all week, I just can't get it out of my head. This whole week has been like Christmas for us. Spooky, creepy Christmas.

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  17. Vill tacka för det grymma spelet! Ni misslyckas inte en enda sekund med detta spel, så ni ska inte känna er missnöjda på något sätt. Precis som du skrev så var kanske inte AMFP det bästa man upplevt, och det kan ha färgat många potentiella köpares syn på SOMA. Men ni ska alltid veta att det finns många fans som vet hur Frictional är när de är som bäst, och det visar både SOMA och TDD på. Grymt jobb verkligen, älskar också sättet som storyn i SOMA förmedlas på. Den tvingas mer på spelaren i SOMA än i TDD, vilket är bra. För faktum är att många missade en extremt bra och invecklad story i TDD, bara på grund av att notesen var så "himla jobbiga" att läsa... Personligen tyckte jag att storyn var det ibland det bästa med TDD. Alltså verkligen extremt bra, kan knappt beskriva det med ord.

    Jaha detta blev mer eller mindre en rant, men min poäng är att ni ska inte vara besvikna av era sales eller något sådant. Var istället stolta över era två egenskapade mästerverk som inte lämnat någon spelare säker. Varken i Brennenburg eller på botten av havet :)

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  18. Amazing job on the game! I throughly enjoyed it all the way through! I was recently looking at the old trailers from 2013 and I agree, you should've waited, it looked like a different game back then.

    I think you guys could benefit from a concept art book or some bonus behind the scenes book! That would be amazing!

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  19. Thank you guys for crating such an amazing game. I wish you good luck on all your future projects, can't wait to see more!

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  20. [REPOST OF MY DELETED POST DUE TO POTENTIAL SPOILERS]


    For me SOMA is seriously in the running for GotY. The -ONLY- issue I experienced was the ending. I knew what was coming and as a player had resided myself to the fact that I would need to make a sacrifice. I remember the exact moment, while carrying the ARK and having a chat with Catherine. I think that moment will stay with me forever.

    The problem was that my own experience was so different to that of Simon, so I found his reaction juxtaposed with my own.

    I understand that one of the topics covered is that of 'the power of denial', but it would have been interesting if there was some way for the game to predict what you as a player had decided/realised and somehow mirror that.

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  21. I watched a let's play because I simply can not play such scary horror games. I tried with Amnesia and I had to stop because I was getting too nervous. So I decided to watch a let's play and move on. What I experienced just watching this game has to be one of the best experiences in my gaming life. What an awesome game. The plot is simply put amazing. I loved it so much that I bought the game after I watched the ending and now I am trying to play it myself.
    Thanks for this masterpiece.

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  22. Simply put: I love your game.
    I did a review in spanish for a mexican website about videogames, last week.
    The tone, the questions, the themes, the execution: Amazing.
    Hope SOMA sets a whole new standard for Horror Games not based solely in jump scares nor graphic evisceration.
    Thank you.

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  23. Thank you for making horror games that are actually horrifying without relying on jump scares and gore. Thank you even more for giving such an awesome philosophical theme so much room to breathe. Never been so satisfied with an ending.

    The horror genre needs more like this. The sci fi genre needs more like this. I need more like this. Please never stop making games.

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  24. I really enjoyed SOMA, atmosphere wise it felt more like a return to Penumbra, which I appreciated considering it's still my favorite game your team has made.

    In regards to scariness, I think what made Amnesia very terrifying experience was just the fact that I never knew what to expect, the sound design kept a constant tensions and I was always on edge to finish a puzzle just because I felt an appending doom of having to deal with a monster jumping out. I never felt safe and the resource management kept me worried of what would happen if I ran out of oil.
    Where as with SOMA it kind of felt a little relaxed, this isn't a bad thing and if anything helps keep me from getting desensitized from the more horrific moments, keeping the game fresh all the way to the end. My personal favorite moment in SOMA was having to deal with Ankers and the progression as the situation just escalated. As if I was crawling deeper into some kind of hell rather than escaping. The sound design was great, it messed with me making me feel uncomfortable that he was crawling through the ventilation and I liked that I had to solve puzzles as this was happening, really kept the tension high.

    With that said if there was any disappointment with SOMA it's that the puzzles are getting too simplistic. The reason I disliked AMFP was due to how linear it was. I know why you might want to stream line it (especially if you're putting the game on a console) but personally I think the issue with puzzles in horror games is that the solutions are always linear, not that they're too challenging. People get frustrated that they can't think like the game developer so honestly why not make it more open on the solutions. There should always be multiple ways to approach something, with all solutions not being as direct or obvious and having their own consequences. I think this concept would fit perfectly with your past gameplay style and previous puzzles you've designed.

    Any other comments I can make is please bring your game to more consoles, I think PS4 is a great first step but I would love to see your games on Xbox One and WiiU/NX. I honestly think the touch pad on WiiU would do wonders for translating Penumbra and Amensia. I just like the idea of the touchpad as your way of quickly accessing your inventory system and combining items.

    Also last note, thank you for putting your games on GOG, I appreciate actually owning my digital copies of my games :)

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  25. Congrats, guys!
    What is the market share distribution across different platforms ? What % sold on PC, (Win/Linux/Mac), PS4 etc. ?
    Are you planning to use only your own technology for your future projects, or UE4, Unity3D etc. looks like a viable option to you these days ?

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  26. Congratulations guys, and don't worry about sales speed - You know full well between Steam Sales and future bundles, SOMA will do the business.

    Releasing on Xbox would have helped, too.

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  27. Hey! Just finished the game, it was awesome as always. I think sells could be better, this game deserves much more than Machine for Pigs.

    As for critique of the game. I think Thomas idea of making less puzzles or other distracting things to improve narration and immersion isn't that obviously true. Playing SOMA I actually missed good old scavenging thing existed in Penumbra and Amnesia. And I can say that gameplay elements like this increase immersion instead of decreasing it, because you are focused on solving something or searching for something, etc. Remember that scary flash game where you need to move your mouse cursor through the labyrinth and nearly at the end of it a scary face and sound pop out? That's a clean manifestation of this idea: solving a puzzle gets you immersed in the process and you become vulnerable to scary sudden things.

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  28. Great news! I switched off to PC in the summer of 2007. One of the video games I enjoyed more that year was Penumbra Overture. 8 years latters, it´s great to see that you are working in other platform too and that the well done job has its reward!
    Congratulations, Frictional and greetings from the only city inside the european continent with a desert around it! :)

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  29. SOMA is definately best horror game I ever played,Im impressed.
    Its atmospheric,story is great,characters.When I played SOMA I felt huge empathy beetwen characters in the game!
    Im your huge fan since 2007 and I never missed any game of yours!
    I think that every game company and designers should take a page from your book,you guys are huge inspirators! :)
    Congratulations!
    I wish best luck on your next project!
    I have one question:
    Did you guys maybe planned to release source code of HPL2?
    Thanks to your hpl1 SC,I learned a lot of stuff about engine programming :)

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  30. Dear Developers:

    Thank you for this wonderful game.

    This is officially my second favorite game after the TW3 this year. (I have spent 2.5 years eagerly awaiting for that game and didn't even thank the developers for it, but I am thanking you for this game).

    I love what you have done with the nature of death. Thank you for putting it out there that the state of nonexistence by itself is not terrible or scary because you aren't there to perceive time, consciousness and being - that you simply aren't anymore. I am not sure how many people will catch on that though.

    I also loved the idea of virtual reality and how it shields sentient beings from harm - I do not know if that was actually your intent. Virtual reality as described and shown in the game is the only way for sentient beings to avoid being harmed, aside from being nonexistent of course.

    The purported total destruction of life on Earth resonated very strong with me as I believe this life to be a zero sum game and the fact that it is full of suffering (think evolution/nature and animals eating each other alive for billions of years).

    However, I am sure that we all know that life would still recover on Earth, albeit the descendants of the ocean dwelling creatures may forever be imbued with the WAU.

    That ending though.... It is just prolonging the inevitable for humanity. They will continue circling the Sun until the energy runs out.... I liked that while there was a "short term" happy ending, the fact is that humans are done for.

    All in all, thank you!

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  32. Dear Developers:

    Thank you for this wonderful game.

    This is officially my second favorite game after the TW3 this year. (I have spent 2.5 years eagerly awaiting for that game and didn't even thank the developers for it, but I am thanking you for this game).

    I love what you have done with the nature of death. Thank you for putting it out there that the state of nonexistence by itself is not terrible or scary because you aren't there to perceive time, consciousness and being - that you simply aren't anymore. I am not sure how many people will catch on that though.

    ==========================
    SPOILERS
    ==========================


    I also loved the idea of virtual reality and how it shields sentient beings from harm - I do not know if that was actually your intent. Virtual reality as described and shown in the game is the only way for sentient beings to avoid being harmed, aside from being nonexistent of course.

    The purported total destruction of life on Earth resonated very strong with me as I believe this life to be a zero sum game and the fact that it is full of suffering (think evolution/nature and animals eating each other alive for billions of years).

    However, I am sure that we all know that life would still recover on Earth, albeit the descendants of the ocean dwelling creatures may forever be imbued with the WAU.

    That ending though.... It is just prolonging the inevitable for humanity. They will continue circling the Sun until the energy runs out.... I liked that while there was a "short term" happy ending, the fact is that humans are done for.

    All in all, thank you!

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  33. I'm only at 2-3 hours of the game, and I'm loving it already !
    But (no offense, really) if you could use Unreal Engine technology next time, that would be great.
    I'm having a lot of stuttering and framerate drops in 1600*900 without SSAO on a GTX 770 lattest drivers on a clean and well maintained computer. This is not normal and kind of frustrating...
    Aside from that, loving the game, even if it feels kind of gameplay empty for the moment.

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  34. I just want to say thanks for a great experience and I'll be sure to spread the word.

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  35. Hey Thomas and Frictional Devs,
    I just wanted to post here and let you guys know that I adored SOMA and think it is the best thing you've made thus far. The atmosphere, the storytelling, and the themes all resonated with me. I found the monster sequences suitably terrifying. I couldn't sleep the night after I finished SOMA because the implications of the existential questions you guys posed (and answered, and then ultimately followed to their terrifying logical endpoints) kept me awake and disturbed for a long time.

    I would be more constructive but what I'm mostly trying to say is I loved your game and will continue to look forward to whatever's next :)

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  36. SOMA is awesome, as are Amnesia and its sequel. But to me the genre defining game was your earliest hit Penumbra Overture. That game was a unique first person puzzle solving stealth horror adventure, a first of its kind with a genuinely intriguing premise to begin with. The subsequent games made by you have all used the same physics and mechanics. The stories and graphics have improved vastly but the uniqueness factor still belongs to Penumbra.

    I would rather remember SOMA as a great game from the makers of Penumbra rather than from the makers of Amnesia. That is not to take away anything from Amnesia.

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  37. Hello. I loved your game. Only one question. Do you guys like Spain and Portugal?
    You know, Cádiz and Lisboa are very specific places to be a random choice to show as part of the base in the game.

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  38. I wonder if in the next game from frictional we will be going up rather than down. In Penumbra you are constantly going down further in the mine, in Amnesia you're going down to the Inner Sanctum and SOMA follows this pattern (so far I've not finished it yet).

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  39. I hate you guys, I just had to buy a 300 eur (good deal though) gtx 970 to play your game at the highest settings, couldn't bear to downgrade the experience. Also, I probably need to pick a defibrillator up, took me an hour or so to pass a specific section thanks to the ungodly things you populated it with...

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  40. This game was brilliant. I really hope that the game recovers costs within 4 months. You guys deserve it. I felt it was superior to Bioshock and System Shock. It is the first game that has interested me in a long time, finally some progress and innovation instead of continuous COD clones, MMOs and f2p. I really hope this game is a hit so that it incentivizes the market to produce more like this.

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  41. Definitely GOTY for me. It got me back into gaming, which I had given up on for a long time. Nothing appealed to me anymore but this did.

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  42. Congratulations, Frictional Games. I'm currently 6 hours into SOMA's campaign, and it's a fantastic game. I'm already curious about your next project.

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  43. Stefano Angioni from Italy, here.

    I've finished the game a week ago.
    I think your games get better and better, and SOMA is your masterpiece. There are so many great things about the game, but most of them have already been said. I want to try hard to find something that could help you for your future projects.
    1) The sound design was near perfect but maybe the game would have benefited from some more music, especially in the more relaxed parts (reading tablogs etc ..). I honestly loved Jessica Curry's work in AAMFP, she showed a rare talent for that.

    2)Sometime the creatures were too "visible". I mean, I remember there was a moment that I felt "safe" while hiding inside a vent, From there I could quite relaxedly observe the (superbly designed) monster yelling in front of me. All of its details in plain sight. I think this should never happen because it sorta takes away the tension. I mean, it should be "if you can see it clearly, it's already too late". It would have been great if the creature had unexpectedly come after me inside the vent. Or maybe the AI could work so that monsters who cannot physically get you, go away away from your sight, so that the player doesn't get"used" to their presence.

    3)This is not a real critic, it's more a suggestion. I have always been a huge fan of the Thief games by Looking Glass. The only other games that gave me such tension and feelings are yours. Maybe you guys should go deeper in the stealth mechanics, because nobody out there in the market seems to know how to make a good stealth game.

    Hope this can help somehow.
    Congratulations and thanks for the art you create for us.

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  44. I am pretty sure that SOMA gonna turn out so awesome because Anne Pogoda is your Project Manager now. She is sooo awesome and her work is just great. Keep up the good work with her!

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  45. Thank you Frictional Games for the game of the year 2015. It was really amazing experience overall in terms of story and scariness. Looking forward for you next title.

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  46. Besides the great story i really loved the way the puzzles are set up, can't describe it any other way than being organic, puzzles feel very organic, like they are not puzzles at all and is something very logical to be doing in that situation.
    I also apreciate very much how much sense everything makes, great sci-fi with great research.<3

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  47. My favorite part of the game is the atmosphere, it was so much more detailed compared to your previous games, especially underwater (the Abyss was amazing). There were a couple of low quality textures on things that shouldn't have had low quality textures but hopefully it will be fixed in future games. I also think SOMA and Alien: Isolation have the best sound design to date, every single sound is unique and creepy as hell. A++ on that. I did have some problems with Simon though. I don't know if you intentionally made him stupid, but he was pretty stupid. He never had much of a reaction with all the weird stuff happening around him and was always like "Oh wow, people with no heads, how cool. Oh what is that? A sphincter? Let me shove my hand in it." Catherine was much better as a character, but she also had some problems with her dialog. The monsters lost their creepiness since they stay way too much and become more of an annoyance than anything else. And I don't know why it has to hit me once, magically teleport me somewhere else and if I didn't shove my hand in a sphincter and it hit me again I die, seemed a bit off. There also wasn't a good way to find out if a monster saw you or didn't. The concept of the game was amazing and really though provoking, but the execution left some things to be desired. With that said though, it still remains one of the best horror games. I often stopped doing things in the game, just to stay a little bit and feel the amazing atmosphere. It was a great experience.

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  48. I'd just like to say that, in all honesty, the horror aspect of the game was not necessary. Your guys' talent for creating atmosphere and believable, lived-in worlds is more than enough. I would love to see you guys create a game with no monsters in it. Just pure exploration, story, puzzles, and physics. The engine in Soma is just wonderful in that way.

    Just my two cents. Thank you guys for making such a wonderful game, and I look forward to seeings what you guys have in store in the future.

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  49. Great post man! I always follow your blog because it is full of compelling information about various things. I like to read this post because I met so many new facts about it actually. It's really great that I noticed this post. Thank you very much again for sharing this informative article. Many thanks,
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  50. Hi, a huge thanks to Frictional Games for what was one of the most mind blowing gaming experience I've ever had. Days after finishing the game I still can't stop thinking about it! I'm a huge fan of horror games and I've played many of them but this one is really special, a total masterpiece. I would quite like to see another game based on this universe.. Perhaps being able to play while the last humans are fighting for theirs lives and the sadness of seeing your friends die, some difficult moral choices, but à Nice twist in the end as some humans do make it out alive.. Which would be quite ironic. Just an idea.

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  51. Soma is an awesome game. But no words on Penumbra sales?? I was really wondering if anyone is still buying them (well how much per day on average)? I know I will buy penumbra overture&black plague when I get a job :) (also soma and amnesia)

    and yes the reason I know Soma is awesome is because I pirated it :/ but I promise I'll buy it :)

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  52. I heard from a friend the experience was not all too different from machine for pigs. Sure, the horror mechanics are weaker in MFP than TDD, but the world is so detailed and the story very colorful and interesting(in a horrid way ofcourse).

    Did you guys enjoy the spin-off game as much as I did, and did it influence anything done on SOMA?

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  53. I know it would be a pain in the butt, but some people don't have PS4, and or computers because they don't have that much money. Could you make it releasable in the works of I Phones and or the PS3. I would guess more would buy if you made it on more platforms. I do not have a PS4 or computer to download this on but I do have a PS3 and a IPhone and personally I would buy it either way it came out.

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  54. It feels awe-inspiring to read such informative and distinctive articles on your websites.

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