It was a big hit at E3 2021 and again during The Game Awards late last year. It’s that we know very little about Somerville The mysterious sci-fi action from Guildford’s Jumpship which was founded with Chris Olsen in collaboration with the former Playdead Director of Operations Dino Patti. All that’s changing: the latest version of Edge which is out today includes the first-ever in-depth review of the game and it’s set to be something truly special.
In its eighteenth year of development, Somerville isn’t the game that director-writer Olsen originally conceived. It’s still the story of a family that is in the center of an alien invasion however, this action-packed film that was that was inspired by the work of Eric Chahi in Another World and its “flagrant disregard of traditional game loops” is now moving away from 2D in 3D. “It was a jump game that had an element of jumping, and I thought”I don’t want it to jump. I don’t want it be a platformer,”” Olsen says.
So what’s it is it? Patti’s involvement has undoubtedly been a source of comparisons to Inside and Limbo However, it’s not a true successor to Playdead’s games , even the fact that Olsen knows why it’s called that. “In games, there’s only a few studios with that strategy of “No, let’s not add any thing there, or simply keep it vague’. It seems that there is often the need to fill in spaces in games by putting in lots of things.” Somerville is similarly satisfied to let its time and let its secrets linger however, it’s also reduced to a minimum, with any unnecessary elements eliminated to prevent repetition in the mechanics and settings.
In a lengthy conversation with the studio we are able to learn more about how its atmosphere was created and also the difficulty of developing Sediment which is a living creature and material that is vital to the game’s fundamental mechanics. The mysterious, shifting substance is able to be melted, liquefied and even tunneled through.
We’ve discovered a variety of other secrets, however, in line with Jumpship’s method to date we’ll leave the rest to you to find out within our exclusive cover story.
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