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Video Game / Scorn

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Scorn is a First-Person Survival Horror game by Serbian developer Ebb Software set in a universe directly inspired by the works of Zdzisław Beksiński and H. R. Giger. The concept is that the Player Character is thrown into this world and has to explore it while solving puzzles and occasionally fighting off monsters in order to better understand the literal nightmare they're in, and possibly escape.

The game was planned to release in two parts; the first, Dasein, in October 2018, and then 2019, but in addition to being delayed, the game ultimately had its two parts put back together into one game rather than being released episodically. The game was released through Steam, Windows Store, as a DRM-free download, and on Xbox Series X on 14 October 2022, after multiple delays.

Trailers can be found here.

Tropes that apply to Scorn:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The gun you're equipped with—an acid trip of biotech all on its own—fires little blobs that look like luminescent seeds.
  • After the End: Whatever this factory was supposed to accomplish, it's now just filled with corpses and hostile creatures. The world itself is completely dead, with only crater creatures and Homunculi left to populate this husk of a planet.
  • Alien Landmass: An interesting example, as Scorn combines both influences from Beksinski and Giger. For the majority of the architecture and Humanoid design, it is blatantly Giger. But for the natural landscape itself as well as the Crater creatures, it is more in line with the desolated, decaying and barren nightmares of Beksinski.
  • All Just a Dream: Confirmed by the devs to be a dream a nondescript person is having.
  • All There in the Manual: There's a bit more lore available in the concept art book that was released at the same time as the game, which gives more details on certain elements and names a number of creatures and places.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Due to the lack of information about the world/characters is deliberately unclear, even with the help of the artbook:
    • Whether or not the world suffered some sort of apocalyptic event/war or was simply abandoned due to humanoids of the Polis transcending it.
    • The Genesis Wall being either a natural occurrence or something specifically created by the humanoids.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of the protagonist at the end, merged into a horrific cocoon by the parasite and left unable to move, mere feet away from possible salvation.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: According to the Artbook, humanoids who fully transferred their consciousness into a Shell would start to transmutate within their armored power armor into something beyond sentience.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the puzzle to get the Moldman out of its pod, you come across two chairs, which can either kill the creature or let it out. One chair is equipped with a scooper and one is equipped with a circular saw. Logically, you would assume that the scooper is what will get the creature out safely, while the circular saw would kill it. It's actually the inverse; the saw will destroy the pod and let the Moldman out, while using the scooper will kill the Moldman immediately.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Mostly played straight all throughout the game. Many of the male bodies scattered all over the place are shown to have nipples, but no genitals, although the female bodies are an exception. Both protagonists, despite being naked, don't have any obvious genitals when you look down at them. It's subverted at the end when Scorn Guy is undergoing surgery, as for a brief moment, his penis is actually seen in full view before a machine clamps around it, with the genitals seeming to have been retracted into his body prior to that point.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Despite how painful some of the contraptions looking out, all of the interactable objects are Human(oid)-operatable, with no supernatural or illogical method involved. This gave way for the entire game, given the complete lack of in-universe text or narration.
  • Bio Punk: The game's aesthetic revolves heavily around the melding of flesh and machinery, with Meat Moss everywhere, walls of stone and metal textured to look like skeletal growths, and Organic Technology as the norm.
  • Body Horror: When your game is inspired directly by Zdzisław Beksiński and H. R. Giger, this is a given. Special note goes to the humanoid lifeform shown with exposed muscle and glassed-over eyes forced into a nook and having a cord of flesh extending from the back of their head, the bizarre thing the Player Character encounters at the end of the reveal trailer, and a mechanism shown at the end of the pre-alpha gameplay trailer that appears to have a fleshy ball with someone cramped inside it (and possibly still alive and conscious, too). In the game proper, the Player Character goes through a more disgusting makeover, courtesy of the parasite that latches onto them near the start of the game.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The character you start as in the prologue is not the one you spend the rest of the game playing as.
  • Death World: The world of Scorn really puts the 'Death' in Deathworld. The planet is beyond dead and barren, with harsh, unforgiving sandstorms slowly eroding the structures around it. Within the crumbling structures contain various monstrosities from the crater, parasites that turn you into meat walls, and, if you're really unfortunate, several Homunculi in biological powered armor, armed with grenade launchers.
  • Downer Ending: The character has been painfully mutilated, eviscerated, and the top of his head removed exposing his brain. He is being repeatedly cut in his exposed organs by a malfunctioning surgical machine, but he has managed to remove the parasite and he is being carried to what is implied to be some semblance of safety....only for the Parasite to ambush him, knocking him from the drone's arms, reattach itself to his back and impale him with its tail. He desperately reaches out towards the now inert drone, his connection to it severed, as the parasite wraps around him and rapidly cocoons him. All that is visibly recognizable of him being his face, forever staring out toward the salvation he almost reached.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Homunculi may look like weird-looking fetuses in a jar. But they are much smarter than they look and definitely do not like the thought of being put inside a baby shredder.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: With themes centered around pregnancy and art ripped straight out of Giger and Beksinski. This is to be expected. Becomes more literal with the Parasite's relationship with Scornguy.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The female Moldmen do indeed have some shapely figures, with their breasts and vaginas out in the open. Too bad they're all corpses.
    • At one point in the game the protagonist has his penis inserted into some sort of sucking machine. Even if you don't consider his normal appearance as Body Horror the fact that his abdomen is flayed open with guts hanging loose and it's part of the procedure that also involves mutilation of his organs and removing his scalp to extract a brain-stem removes anything remotely attractive about this scene.
  • Fantastic Firearms: All weapons in the game are organitek weapons that fire glowing pellets that resemble plant seeds, and are reloaded by inserting a clutch of said eggs into a chamber in the gun's back.
  • From Bad to Worse: The protagonist goes from wandering a wide, lifeless wasteland to a labyrinthine underground that is still very much alive in the worst possible ways.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: All humanoids are effectively naked, but female Moldmen leave none to their imagination, as their breasts and genitals are spread wide open for all to see. Scorn Guy at first averts this, but near the end, one can clearly see his penis, albeit briefly.
  • Eldritch Location: Most of the game takes place in a strange world where biology and technology blur together.
  • Hope Spot: Near the end of the game, the protagonist successfully manages to pry the parasite out of their body and is a stretch away from going somewhere, presumably someplace better than wherever the hell they are...only for the parasite to show up again and latch itself back on, proceeding to wrap up the protagonist in a flesh-like cocoon with a half-fused face.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Every single humanoid creature is this, but special mention goes to post-transmutated Shells which turn regular Humanoids into purple-blue eldritch transentient beings according to the Artbook.
  • Human Subspecies: The degenerate and pitiful Moldmen and even the stunted homunculi can be considered to be subspecies genetically engineered by the Humanoids.
  • It Can Think: Sure that little fetus-looking homunculi may look like barely sentient baby batteries...until its eyes start to glow yellow...and it is possibly much smarter than the player to the point it can use a biological power armor to fight back.
  • Late to the Tragedy: When the player character wakes after the events of the prologue, they find themselves in a barren wasteland littered with the skeletal corpses of alien humanoids and slowly disintegrating structures.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: In the final portion of the game, the player is overgrown by the parasite that latched onto them early in the game. This renders the player unable to use any of their interactive items or reload their weapon. In order to progress, the player must use a device to temporarily shatter the growths on their left hand, letting the player temporarily use their interactions again at the cost of a considerable chunk of health. The growths will regrow quickly, so the player will be forced to repeatedly undergo this process to unlock everything and finally remove the parasite.
  • Living Battery: Homunculi serve this to the humanoid's civilization. After their disappearance and, as the only sentient species left, the homunculi would then craft their own independent societies to survive and compete in this desolate world.
  • Living Weapon: Seems to be the case with the protagonist's weapon, with the "Pistol" twitching muscle fibers as if trying to locate a lost limb when you reload it. A tri-barreled shotgun attachment is also shown. Both weapons are "reloaded" and ammo checked by removing the extension and inserting small glowing pebble-like projectiles into muscle folds.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Cyborg is a biological powered armor. Putting the Homunculi in its belly is the first hint that fetus in a pod is anything but stupid, as it quickly takes control and attempts to kill you. The artbook confirms that the homunculi outright makes those things.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The launch trailer makes the game look much more action-oriented than it actually is.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Surprisingly, not so much in the first and second half of the game. Played completely straight near the end, once Scornguy enters the Citadel where you wonder if you accidentally stumbled upon Giger's lost Xeno-Erotica art pieces. As the architecture is choked full of Humanoids copulating and female statues in various stages of highly suggestive sexual poses. You wonder if the civilization of Scorn is filled with Giger-esque kinks or are really into the concept of vaginal birth and penetration. If Giger was around, he would be impressed.
  • One-Word Title: The game is titled simply "Scorn".
  • Only Sane Man: Scorn Guy is believed to be the only sentient dude left in a barren and dead world. The Homunculi encountered near the end suggests that they are the only sentient species left willing to stay and make use of the dead world. Their vast construction and manufacturing of biological power armor and mech suits heavily suggest that they are the last civilized custodians left after the majority of the original humanoids disappeared. The artbook all but confirms this as the cut level - the Labyrinth - is a literal warzone fought between rival homunculi over ideological differences.
  • Organic Technology: The game is set in the rotting ruins of a biomechanical civilization. All technology in the game seems to be made from bone, chitin, or steel as the framework structures, with living tissue as the interactive medium. Every machine the player interacts with oozes, drips, and generally disperses all sorts of unhealthy-looking liquids, with blood being so prevalent it might just be what fuels the whole environment. The basic key to interface with various switches is a retractile bone implement fused into the player's hands, whilst most switches are fleshy sockets that the player inserts their hand or fingers into. A power core that the player has to bring online has a myriad of pipes that look like giant veins. The multitool/weapon is first found hooked into its station by what looks to be an umbilical cable, which like everything else oozes blood when freed.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different:
    • Apparently, those weird mutilated fetus-like creatures are actually Homunculi according to the artbook. Makes one wonder if they were still in the incubation process...
    • On the other hand, their short and squat stature, brilliant intelligence, profession of being expert engineers and craftsmen may make Homunculi Scorn's more biopunk equivalent of the Dwarven archetype.
  • People Farms: Moldmen serve this purpose, either as convenient organ donors or as resource extraction. They are literally packed like farmed produce.
  • Phallic Weapon: It is a game inspired by Giger, you better expect your weapons to look highly phallic, with the piston gun being the most phallic of them all.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • In the prologue, your first quest revolves around retrieving a pod into which a distorted humanoid has been painfully crammed inside of and either murdering it so you can take its arm, outfit it with a key unit, or break the pod and let it out, where it will mindlessly follow you and let you put the key on its hand, and use it to unlock a two-man gate - whereupon it is promptly discarded and forgotten in place, groaning and wheezing, hand still inserted in the console.
    • In the final part of the game, you need to acquire several dead Homunculi and blend them into a slurry that is used as some kind of battery fuel.
  • Scenery Gorn: A game this blatantly inspired by Giger and Beksinski is bound to have architecture and landscapes filled with shapeless blood, gore, and white, sticky, bodily fluids.
  • Scenery Porn: As some have put it, playing Scorn is like playing an interactive art piece crafted from the minds of both Beksinski and Giger.
  • Silence Is Golden: There is no dialogue whatsoever in the game. Any story that is told in the game is done via environmental storytelling.
  • Stealth Pun: One of the many tools in the environment seems to be a buzzsaw that looks skeletal in structure. In case you were wondering, yes, it is indeed a literal bone saw.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: The Player Character's weapon starts as a springer-like drill used for close-quarters combat, and can be fitted with interchangeable mods that you acquire as you progress through the game. The first mod turns it into a six-shot pistol. The second mod turns it into a triple-barreled shotgun. The last mod turns it into a grenade launcher, and is permanently stuck like that thanks to the parasite, though it sees little use in combat beyond a single enemy.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Near the end of the game, you have to burst open some fluid-filled sacks to get the Homunculi inside, which you then need to put in a juicer machine to get their life fluids to make a battery. Despite these sacks being easily broken by your piston gun, the only way to achieve that result is to first plug the sack into what is essentially organic Powered Armor and fight them to the death, a decision made all the more obviously stupid because the first one malfunctions, allowing you to break it without a fight. To be fair, at this point the Parasite has been painfully cocooning your character's body and ripping at his abdomen, so it's possible that he isn't thinking clearly.
  • Surreal Horror: Scorn is very weird, very alien, and very gross.
  • The Symbiote: Early on in the game, a parasite-like creature affixes itself to your body. It doesn't do much at first, but it's clear the damn thing is feeding off of you as it constantly digs its arms into your stomach. Every time it acts up, you lose some of your health. Near the end of the game, roots start growing through your flesh and a tail comes bursting out through your torso. Although you manage to get the sucker off, it latches back onto you in the ending.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: New enemies will crawl out of the walls after certain switches are pulled.
  • Time Skip: A subtle one between the prologue and the game. At first glance, it doesn't seem like much time has passed when the protagonist emerges from his cocoon, but when you get back to the area of the prologue, it becomes clear that a lot of some areas have rotted away, indicating that a significant amount of time has gone by.
  • Transhuman: If what the Artbook says is true and that the world is indeed Earth, then every single humanoid creature counts as this.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In the prologue, there are two ways to get the first Moldman out of the pod: via a safe-looking scooping device, or via a deadly-looking buzzsaw device. Contrary to what one might think, the buzzsaw will extract the Moldman safely, while the scooper will kill it. However, an astute player can get a hint by observing the remains on the ground, with the scooper having shells with dead Moldmen scattered around it, while the buzzsaw lacks similar remains.
  • Visual Innuendo: Even before entering the Citadel, Scorn is filled with Phallic Weapons, yonic architecture (i.e., ovary-shaped pods that literally deflowers when opening) and machines that process white, hot, sticky, mutagenic liquid.
  • Was Once a Man: The Parasite is heavily implied to be the first being you play as after being heavily mutated, possibly by the liquid that spilled out in the prologue. The parasite having a key on its left arm, the protagonist gaining the weapon immediately after it latches onto him, and the parasite removal scene showing that the creature's head is eerily reminiscent of the being in the title screen, all but outright says it.
  • Womb Level: It can be argued that the entire world of Scorn is one giant womb level. Once entering the Citadel, it basically is a womb level on a literal basis. As the entire superstructure represents a womb, whilst the two pregnant humanoid "Shells" on each end symbolize the ovaries. Likewise, the fleshy gate before Scorn Guy was escorted outside is an obvious representation of a woman's cervix, with the long, outside walkway a visualization of a uterus. The most blatant of all, is the shining light at the end of the hallway which resembles a vaginal opening.