Frictional Games has announced a new upcoming update for its undersea horror title SOMA which should make the game more appealing to players who prefer their horror games to skew more towards creepy atmosphere rather than direct danger.
According to a press release from Frictional, the update will add in a new game mode called "Safe Mode" which acts as a sort of official version of the "Wuss Mode" fan-made mod that’s currently available for SOMA’s PC version. With Safe Mode active, players will still encounter SOMA’s terrifying monsters, but said monsters will no longer actively pursue the player, instead taking on a more passive demeanor.
However, as Frictional explained in this recent PC Gamer piece, the monsters won’t be completely docile and will still attack the player if provoked. Ideally, Safe Mode will turn SOMA into a more casual-friendly experience, one which retains the game’s moody atmosphere and heavy themes of loss and loneliness but which also cuts out a lot of the in-your-face tension associated with the various monster encounters.
According to SOMA game director and Frictional co-founder Thomas Grip, redesigning the game to accommodate Safe Mode took a little work, but it actually turned out so well that he said he began to wonder whether Frictional should have just designed the original version of SOMA in the same manner:
“We have to think of them as inhabitants of the environment and make their interactions with the player fit the game’s atmosphere and story. I’m actually surprised by how well it all turned out. It fits the game far better than I thought it would when we started working on it. To be honest, it even made me question if this was the way the game should have been released in the first place. But I haven’t made my mind up about that yet.”
If the addition of Safe Mode has inspired you to give SOMA a try for the first time (or simply play through it again), you’ll be happy to hear you don’t have long to wait before the Safe Mode update arrives. Along with the Safe Mode update (which will be a free update for the game’s PC version) SOMA’s Xbox One version will launch this upcoming Friday, December 1st (Safe Mode will be baked into the Xbox One release). The above Xbox One teaser trailer will give allow viewers a glimpse at the various underwater terrors who, in Safe Mode, won’t be quite as terrifying.