In a way, it makes sense. After struggling in the first years with Penumbra (and its sequels), which was a hauntingly scary game (albeit not so great, gameplay-wise), Frictional hit it big when Amnesia became a runaway hit with the new class of game media – the youtubers. Having influenced the scene so much as to have even Resident Evil 7 go first person, the developers seem a little jaded when it comes to horror, which is no surprise.
Their latest game, Soma, already made some changes to the formula. Frictional focused on the story and its heavy, existential musings, rather than the monsters themselves, who didn’t even kill you in the end when they catch you moving around the underwater hallways. It felt as if the studio might do well to freshen it up a bit. And it seems that they are doing just that.
Thomas Grip, one of the founders of Frictional Games, recently revealed that the studio has been working on not one, but two games. And one of those is not, surprisingly, a horror game. “We’ve already done two games which are about being hunted by monsters,” he says, “It feels old, we want to try and get away from it or figure out new ways to make it more exciting. We’re also trying to stray away from horror games. One of the games we’re making is going to be horror but the other is going to be focused on telling a very, very interesting story”. And we know they are more than able to do something like that, as Soma is the living proof of.
This also begs the question whether their story-based project will turn out to be a bit of a “walking simulator”. Having cooperated with Chinese Room on the excellent Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Frictional might have picked up on some things from the developer of the mother of all walking sims, Dear Esther. It remains to be seen what the future holds for Frictional Games.