On May 7, Microsoft will broadcast the latest edition of Inside Xbox out. The monthly online show presents current and new gaming projects that players can look forward to in the coming weeks and months. This time they included big names like Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 or Dirt 5. However, the show's secret star was different: the horror adventure Scorn. With its disturbing atmosphere in the style of H.R. Giger enthuses the title horror fans worldwide. The trailer now has over half a million views on YouTube. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at the title.
First of all, the formalities: As announced during Inside Xbox, Scorn is to be released exclusively for the PC and Xbox Series X. When exactly, however, is not yet certain. Microsoft has only given a rough window for the release so far. A press release says the game is scheduled for the launch of the new console. So it can be assumed that Scorn will be on the shelves sometime between Christmas business 2020 and spring 2021. Or at least at the latest when the developers see themselves in a position to really be able to "deliver" – as they last put it in a blog post.
Source: Ebb Software
Speaking of developers: It is also very interesting to look at. Ebb Software is responsible for Scorn – a small Serbian studio that has so far hardly appeared on the scene. But that should not mean that there is nothing to tell about them. The team was originally founded in 2013, and since then the 40 or so employees at the Belgrade headquarters have dedicated themselves entirely to their first and only project to date. This was financed in 2017 via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter with over 190,000 euros. A few weeks later, there followed a first trailer and a playable alpha demo, which colleague Paula even did at the time has led to times. In the intro version you only saw 15 minutes of gameplay, but they already gave a good impression of what awaits you in Scorn.
Scorn is an old-school first-person horror adventure: pure single player, no unnecessary frills. Instead, the title wants to focus on an atmospheric game world that draws inspiration from the works of H.R. Giger relates. The Swiss artist is best known for his fusion of man and machine in a kind of cold biomechanical symbiosis. The most prominent example of this is probably the grotesque alien from Ridley Scott's film of the same name, for which Giger and his team later even received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
The level design is correspondingly disturbing: bloody fibers, pulsating veins, grotesquely deformed bodies. Scorn offers a strange mix of meat, steel and seemingly extraterrestrial, which in the end remains somewhat indefinable. It seems like the developers have reached deep into the nightmare box and pressed everything into a mushy, organic shape. So you always have the impression that you are moving through a huge living entity – which was probably also the vision of the developers. They emphasize that the environment is a kind of "own character" that contributes its part to environmental storytelling.
Source: Ebb Software
Nothing is known about the history of Scorn. So far we only know that we are exploring the atmospheric horror backdrop with our character – a repulsive skinless humanoid, which could also have come one-to-one from a "body worlds" exhibition. Where or who exactly we are, let alone what we want in this godforsaken place, is not yet clear. You are simply thrown into this strange world without any context, which creates a scary feeling of isolation and loss.
What the hell am i doing here
Playfully, Scorn is a little adventure and a little puzzler. The main focus is on exploring the environment, which consists of interconnected areas. You can walk through the labyrinthine network of corridors and rooms completely non-linear and also continuously unlock new areas. This probably works mainly through contextual puzzles that are spread across the levels. In the demo, for example, a kind of organic remote control (?) Had to be programmed in order to then open doors. Brains are in demand in Scorn – especially since the interface is as spartan as possible and rarely provides information on the next steps. Players should therefore take a close look at their surroundings.
Source: Ebb Software
There you will also meet disgusting demonic contemporaries who are sometimes more, sometimes less peaceful. For the latter case, the developers give you some weapons, but it doesn't make your struggle for survival much easier. For one thing, the critters are not stupid. Ebb Software even ascribes something of their own "personality" to them, so that opponents react intelligently to your actions and team up in groups to overpower the player. And secondly, Scorn is not a thoroughbred first-person shooter.
In previous game scenes, among other things, a pistol and a kind of shotgun could be seen. These seemingly organic shooting men with their own lives don't have endless ammunition. So resource management is in demand in Scorn – also with a view to your limited inventory and your customizable skill set. So there are always different playing styles and approaches required if you want to get ahead. And sometimes it's just the best option to take your legs in your hand.
Development hell and back
After the demo published in 2017, however, things got quiet about Scorn: The targeted one Release for 2018 passed unsuccessfully, just like the one for 2019. In the meantime, the developers secured external financial support from Humble Bunde and Kowloon Knights. Then there was a split into two parts before the title was again planned as a closed gaming experience. Quite a mess.
Source: Ebb Software
Now the developers have shown themselves in public for the first time since December, but have made a good impression. The good two-minute trailer that was shown during Inside Xbox does not show any new gameplay. However, we now know that Scorn will really do a lot visually. Ebb Software still relies on the power of the Unreal Engine 4 for its debut. With the 4K resolution, "up to" 120 frames per second, DirectStorage, hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing "and a lot more "possible. Apart from cinematic cutsenes, the makers do without them entirely.
Otherwise, a little more was revealed about the game itself: For example, those responsible have tweaked a few more screws to give players the best possible horror experience. For example, the inventory and the quick save function have been completely revised, as has the healing system for the main character. Animations are now supposed to run more smoothly and thus improve "full body awareness". After all, Scorn wants to be as immersive as possible. Accordingly, every interaction with the environment will take place realistically: Objects are picked up with your hands instead of simply floating through the air and machines are all operated manually.
For the ultimate experience, there should even be a VR mode, the makers promised at least on their Kickstarter side. In the interview, Game Director Ljubomir Peklar told us that VR is still being considered, but no concrete statements can be made yet.
We are continuing to monitor the development of Scorn and hope that it will not be too long before the playable nightmare via steam, Windows Store, GOG and Xbox Game Pass appears.
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