They are more than a nightmare, these flesh and sinew landscapes: they are almost Boschian, evocative of something from the darkest parts of Dante’s hell, a vicious hangover experienced by H.R. Giger, and a Tool video all smashed into the trunk of Rob Zombie’s Dragula. Scorn from Ebb Software looks like it could promise some uncomfortable hours and a face permanently etched with disgust, and I really want to play it. The game has had little in the way of publicity- just a few spotty articles here and there with as many vagaries as the demo, itself, for the last two years. Leaks came from the studio via emails of strange art concepts sent to potential investors and gaming journalists, but it is their latest teaser trailer that has finally garnered some real interest in this horror-based first person shooter.
Scorn gives you a life in an open-ended world as a confused, and visually unsettling, humanoid entity. You are given faculty to wander from area to area interacting with a variety of other odd life-forms, deciding which to fight and when to take cover as the situation presents itself. The storytelling is said to be indirect in the same way that Dark Souls and Metroid Prime have done, with more potentiality to miss certain plot points if one is not giving their full attention over to the game. It certainly lends to an immersive, if not wholly disturbing, experience.
I feel drawn to this game on an almost visceral level, as if I already connected with the character and its disquieting surroundings. Perhaps it is as the creators intended, which is to give you the feeling of being a “fish out of water,” something we have all most assuredly experienced before. It is a game that proposes to imitate real life in a darkly revealing reflection of our ideas of self. Maybe it’s also that some part of us is always awkward in some way- we are all strange creatures, and we are all uncomfortable from time-to-time. Scorn is compelling in the same way as a house fire: you are horrified by what you see and wish it gone, but you just can’t seem to look away.
The newest trailer shows a malformed creature laying on the floor before the player character, its body contorted in a pitiful effort to, perhaps, attack. The weapon shown is just as organic as your character and the landscape they tread upon. In the trailer, pieces are switched out and affixed to the gun as the player aims at the thing on the ground. The creature leaks a cry of pain and then dies before the trigger is ever pulled. You will have to manage your weapons and ammo carefully as there is not an abundance to be found. You will not have cut-scenes to tell you the story, but will play it out within the game. One article has even said that there is no tutorial for gameplay, only environmental cues (http://www.pcgamer.com/scorn-is-a-disturbing-horror-shooter-in-two-parts/). Scorn looks innovative, unique, to say the least. Ebb Software is small, with only a little over a dozen members on staff, and it is the developer’s first endeavor. Though the Kickstarter campaign essentially failed, there is a “Greenlight” vote currently up on Steam to get Scorn to its final stages and release on PC, and it looks to be gaining on that fleshy, undulating ground.
Take a peek at their site, http://www.scorn-game.com/ , and maybe go over to Steam to give a vote- that is, unless you’re too scared.