“‘Death’ is not final but takes the player closer and closer to a very disturbing state of being.”
Frictional Games, developers of the upcoming horror title and PS4 [console] exclusive SOMA, say that they want to decrease emphasis on the important of the concept of “death” in their upcoming project. The devs believe that player death results to breaking of immersion in a horror title in several ways.
“If you watch the video you can see that the players aren’t being freaked out of their minds when they die,” SOMA developer Frictional Games creative director Thomas Grip wrote in a recent blog post. “They’re laughing, and feeling relief. And the death sequence is non-interactive, which further enhances this sense of sitting back and becoming a spectator.”
Grip wrote that the only way to maintain a sense of suspense in a horror title is to put less emphasis on death. “The only proper solution is to make sure that death is postponed,” he said. “Outlast has a monster that throws you to one side, giving you a chance to run off, a mechanic that works well in its story. Daylight has damage build up on the screen, which gives you time to escape.
“Both of these are great ways of extending the terror. Some kind of death must happen sooner or later, though, or the player will quickly realize that the monster is harmless — and that’s no good at all. When death occurs I think it’s important to remove this sense of repetition. For instance, in Amnesia we changed the map a bit after each death (which in some cases led to additional scares).”
“[The] basic idea is that ‘death’ is not final but takes the player closer and closer to a very disturbing state of being,” he said.
SOMA releases this year for the PS4 and the PC. Stay tuned for more updates.