Video Game: SOMA

"Uh, hey, look, look, this place is not - there's something seriously wrong here. Hello?"
-Simon Jarett

SOMA is Frictional Games's latest and current first-person horror project. Returning to their nightmarish-survival-horror-sci-fi roots seen in the Penumbra series, few details are available about the game's plot, though the teaser website and announcement trailer have strong parallels to the SCP Foundation and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. The most recent trailer reveals its set at least partially in an underwater laboratory similar to BioShock.

The game will utilize the third version of Frictional's HPL Engine. A return to sci-fi horror, the dev team intends to bring deeper themes to the front, in order to create a much more disturbing experience — a reaction to Thomas feeling that Amnesia was more of a "shallow fright-fest". While a gameplay teaser can be seen here, the series also has a few live-action teasers to hint the setting, which can be found below.

On May 29th, a full, 12-minute gameplay trailer was released. It can be viewed here.

SOMA is scheduled to release on PC and the PS4 on 22nd of September, 2015.


  • After the End: It appears that SOMA is set an unknown number of years after an asteroid impact destroys the surface of the Earth, leaving a bunch of scientists stranded in an underwater research facility.
  • Altum Videtur: The tagline, "I THINK THEREFORE I AM", flashes up in Latin too.
  • Body Horror: The gameplay demo establishes this well. The player plugs a mechanical brain into a corpse, causing the body to tense and thrash as a nearby machine starts up; said machine then breaks and starts overflowing blood.
  • Brain in a Jar: Literally so, opaque jars of dark metal with a single glowing red light that cover brains wired up to technology. Sometimes set up the animate a Meat Puppet, other times to seemingly serve as a Wetware CPU.
  • Brain Uploading: A lot of it. Apparently, without the consent or even the knowledge of the brains.
  • For Science!: One can't help but get this vibe.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The gameplay teaser soon leads to the player following a rhythmic, mechanical noise not unlike a heartbeat.
    • The sounds the Robots make, especially if they see the player.
  • Human Resources: Why have machines when you can have people machines?
  • Interface Screw: The protagonist's screen goes static when he talks to robots who have human brains uploaded to it. Them?
  • Lava Pit: Downplayed to a realistic example: the facility has a deep borehole used as a source of geothermal power. A glow can be seen from deep below, the catwalks in the turbine room are all railed.
  • Mad Scientist
  • Meaningful Name: The research complex is called "PATHOS-2". Pathos is defined as "a quality that evokes pity or sadness".
    • Soma in Hinduism is a drink that causes immortality. Seeing as the machines believe they are the humans whose brains have been copied thereto, the title is frighteningly apt.
  • Monster Delay: The Jiangshi that's chasing you is very hard to see directly; all you can see is something dark covered in bright lights stomping towards you, and your vision blurs as it gets closer.
  • Never My Fault: "It's not my fault people keep killing themselves!".
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The first trailer released, "Vivarium", had very little happen for most of it. A woman walks into a room with a big machine full of wires, tinkers with the camera, goes out an comes back with a chair, tries to get the machine to do something, talks a little on a phone. She eventually gets the machine's screen to show some white static, so she continues fiddling with it, and she eventually turns the screen slightly towards the camera, but continues to try and fail to make whatever it's supposed to be doing happen, until the screen shuts off, and she complains it just died on her... only to have the screen start up again, showing the room she's in. And you can just make out someone on the screen, (possibly her) collapsing. And the woman panics after she sees what's happening
    Woman: Hey, are you seeing... Oh shit! (scrambles out of chair) I can just - F***! (runs off screen) SHUT IT DOWN! Contain- (static)
  • Psychological Horror
  • Organic Technology: The architecture in places seems to have an Gigeresque "biomechanical" look to it, with winding circular tunnels made out of what are either rough metallic or ceramic tiles or organic scales, and plenty of creeping tubes that might be conduits or some kind of roots or veins.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Apparently "Catherine" wants to ignore the "suicides" as she can't afford to be shut down.
  • Solipsism: Seems to be a Central Theme in the game, with Rene Descartes' "I think, therefore I am" as an arc phrase, and a heavy focus on the divorcing of mind from body, and what that would mean for the mind - and the body. The title literally translates to "body" as distinct from the mind/soul, psyche. All played for Psychological Horror.
    "Are you still in there? Am I still here?"
  • Survival Horror: It wouldn't be a Frictional game without it.
  • The Teaser: To set the tone, a series of teasers are being released: in order, this currently includes "Vivarium", "Mockingbird", "Upsilon", "Theta", and "Lambda".
  • Tested on Humans: From the sounds of the Theta teaser, this will be coming into play:
    Woman: Strausky, come in! I need help in the lab!
    Man: (crackling/unintelligible)
    Woman: Conrad executed himself after— (crackling, then unintelligible) What should I do?
    Man: I'm gonna need to call Straumire.
    Woman: No! No! I'm so close! Straumire's gonna shut down the (unintelligible) project! It's not my fault people keep killing themselves!
    Man: Catherine, what are you gonna do? It's not like you can sneak a 300 pound body under the lab!
    Woman: Yeah, I know!
    Man: (beat) Catherine, are you okay?
    Woman: No. Not even close.
  • Under the Sea: The "Lambda" trailer reveals the game is at least partially set in a science facility at the bottom of the ocean.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The player character will be in occasional contact with a scientist named Catherine Chun, via radio.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: From the sounds of the teasers, human-machine integration does not go well, with scenarios including patient suicide.
  • Wetware CPU: The gameplay trailer makes it clear that machines are in some way coupling with the living. The player even plugs a mechanical brain into the top of a patient's skull, seemingly reviving the brainless corpse.
  • World Building: The preview videos that Frictional Games have uploaded do a lot to establish the world that Soma finds itself in.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Invoked regarding player decisions.
  • X Meets Y: Many have seen this game as Amnesia: The Dark Descent meets BioShock meets I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.