SOMA’s Sales Were Hurt By it Being A Sci-Fi Horror Game, Believes Developer
“People lump our titles under a ‘Current Horror From Frictional Games’ label.”
SOMA is really a rather remarkable game from Frictional, the masters of the horror genre. SOMA, however, was a bit of a departure from Frictional’s previous games- it’s a science fiction-horror hybrid game, and it is definitely different from anything the studio has done in the past.
It has mostly done well, too- since its launch, it has sold 250,000 copies, and it continues to sell 125 copies a day. But while Frictional seems to be happy with the sales, they also believe that the title did not perform to its fullest potential, commenting that while the sales are a good result for the studio, they aren’t exactly “earth shattering.”
Frictional believes that its mixing of science fiction and horror elements may have had something to do with that.
“What this means is that the game might feel a bit too sci-fi for someone looking for a pure horror experience and vice-versa,” they said said. “While we think the mix works very well for the game, it seems quite possible that this has put off potential buyers.
“Not only has this probably led to lost sales, it’s also most likely the reason why SOMA cannibalized the Amnesia sales. The moment that SOMA came out, sales of Amnesia: The Dark Descent went down too, and has stayed down ever since. We saw the same happening when we released Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, but since SOMA is in many ways quite different from Amnesia, we thought it wouldn’t happen this time. But it did, and the reason seems to be that people lump both titles under a ‘Current Horror From Frictional Games’ label.”
The solution to this kind of a problem may be differentiating their games better in the future, they continued.
“So if we make another sci-fi game, we’ll probably tone down the horror elements and make the sci-fi narrative more prominent,” they explained. “The reverse would be true if we made a new horror game. The idea is that this’ll not only let us reach a new and wider audience, but also minimize the risk that people will mix up our games, and instead they’ll see them as separate entities.
“With SOMA, it feels we’ve made it clear that Frictional Games is not just about pure horror, and we want to take advantage of that and diversify the experiences we craft.”
SOMA is available on the PlayStation 4 and PC.