Amnesia and Penumbra developer Frictional Games released a live-action short today that teases their next project, Soma.
In the video (embedded below), a female engineer operates on what somasystems.org refers to as “a heavily modified monitor fixed to a massive nest of cables and controls.” And while long, I strongly recommend that viewers invest in the whole video for the WTF horror moment at the end.
Now let’ sleuth.
The incident is documented in a case filed titled “Vivarium,” a latin word that means an enclosed habitat designed for research and observation. “Soma” itself is a Vedic ritual drink from Indo-Iranian culture and a source of immortality. The last available clue as to what Frictional’s project might be about is on the aforementioned somasystems.org website. To the right of the case files listing, there’s a Philip K. Dick quote that appears in flickering spurts. The full quote reads: “It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” This quote appears in VALIS, a 1981 novel from Dick, the title of which stands for “Vast Active Living Intelligence System.” Take from that what you will.
So it looks like Frictional’s project will be a sci-fi horror title that explores the intersection of human intelligence, artificial intelligence, consciousness, reality, and perhaps the nature of god-like figures? I’m sure it’ll be damned scary.