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Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Thomas - 10-05-2015

Hi all!

Now that SOMA has been out for two weeks, would be nice to do a poll on an important subject: How did you feel that the monster encounters worked?

Obviously, this is a bit more complicated than answering one out of six answers, but please select which one feels most correct to you. Also, if you feel like it please write more about it below.

RE: Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Radical Batz - 10-05-2015

I literally crouched during the whole time a monster came by xD
The atmosphere and the ambiance that plays when there is a monster encounter is just so bone chilling. This is actually a great poll regarding other's opinions on their encounters.
Good Work on Soma fg.

RE: Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Vale - 10-05-2015

I chose 'a bit scary and interesting to encounter' and ill just fully clarify on that. (Only a bit because Ive played a lot of horror games)
As far as monsters in horror games go, some of SOMA's monsters were among the scariest ive encountered, particularily the proxies, the "living" diving suit and perhaps the female machine head at omicron. What made them scary, in the case of the suit and the machinehead particularily, was their unpredictability; we're used to monsters like in Amnesia that see you and pursue you. The diving suit moved around erratically, in a way i saw as random, and the machinehead i just didnt understand. So they were interesting to me because they were new and fun challenges to overcome, will still being scary.

RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Aifa - 10-05-2015

The chasing. The chasing man, whenever I get chased by one of those monsters I freak the hell out, I start to get nervous as heck, really fantastic job on them, epsecially Akers, he was definitely the most creepy/scary monster I've ever encountered in a game.

RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Jumwa - 10-05-2015

They were quite scary, but a couple moments I found them rather annoying and getting in my way of being able to experience the game. Placing monsters in spots where they discourage you from finding story bits, journals, etc., means they start to get annoying as well as scary.

RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - bjartewh - 10-05-2015

For me, they varied quite a bit. I also found the two mentioned by spiritofvale, the diving suit and the machinehead, to be the scariest ones, while the blind(?) meatpile was somewhat less scary and more boring. Any annoyance that I experienced (not much) came from the fact that I had trouble figuring out how to get past the monsters, but on the other hand, the monster that was the easiest to get past, was also the least interesting one (the blind meatpile). The diving suit was really cool, and my encounters with them (or it?) was among the highlights of my playthrough.

RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - PathOS - 10-05-2015

What I did love about the Monsters was they were not overused, and that each section of the game had its own monster. That was very good as you didn't grow accustomed and used to them for too long.

It is a tricky balance. On the one hand by reducing monster encounters you could potentially be reducing the "scare" factor. On the other by making monsters more frequent they become less scary as well the more you get used to them (for example, the Alien in Isolation who is mainly just something that only exists to keep you tense as opposed to being scared). This is why even in the original Amnesia once you got to the final third of the game the monsters ceased to be scary.

SOMA succeeded for me in actually ensuring that the monsters encountered later in the game were actually more frightening, thanks to the lack of them in the first third of the game. But I would also argue there needs to somehow be more "inventive" ways of progressing past monsters, while somehow avoiding the "game-ification" of them.

I think one thing that should be explored more is less "humanoid" monsters. I think some of the biggest scares I got were actually by the Fauna in The Abyss Smile

Here are my biggest scares I can recall:

Good Jump Scare after Lambda:
Spoiler below!
Teleporting Disco-Ball-Head right in front of me. Bad Frictional Bad Tongue

In the CURIE:
Spoiler below!
Thought I could outrun Disco-Ball-Head. It's footsteps running after me were chilling

Jump Scare in Theta:
Spoiler below!
Akers running down the stairs after you

That damn thing in The Abyss:
Spoiler below!
The Angler Fish. That was just mean! Tongue

God damn Tau:
Spoiler below!
The monster is just standing there after you open the door. And then you can't get away from it

RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Freechips - 10-05-2015

I found the majority of the monsters scary, however it was fairly easy to tell when you were safe and when you weren't.

While in the vents, your movement is slow and there are rarely many options for which direction to head in. Obviously, the game wouldn't be so unfair as to send a monster after you in that case. Similarly, I felt at-ease in the outside underwater sections because they were so open. Probably intentional but I thought I'd mention it.
In contrast, when you find yourself in an enclosed area with multiple paths (or ring-around-the-rosie sections like at the end of Theta) you can be fairly certain that something is about to happen.

I think the most terrifying individual encounter for me was Akers. I heard his footsteps near me so I legged it in the opposite direction before he came too close, and obviously he heard me. The chase music was really on point I nearly shit myself.

RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Zearox - 10-05-2015

For the most part I just found them annoying and not very scary at all. You always knew when you entered an 'arena' where the monster was gonna chase you around. It always seemed to know where I was and then just hung around in the vicinity. Several times I just sat in a corner annoyed trying to get the monster to move somewhere. Also the screen disruption stuff you saw whenever you looked at one was insanely annoying.

Some of this is just wonky programming and I'm sure can be fixed with patches but the encounters themselves still aren't interesting. The monsters need to be more dynamic and there needs to be better hiding places. I don't wanna say that the monster sections felt forced or like an afterthought since you clearly put a lot of work into them, but they just simply didn't work for me.

My favorites part of this game was, as you've probably figured out by now, the sections without any monsters where you can explore, solve puzzles and so on. I always dreaded the next monster arena since my exploration was halted by this annoying creature. Some of these places had interesting stuff to read and see too but I missed some of it because the monster was there disrupting me.

RE: Official Poll Regarding SOMA's Monsters - Kein - 10-05-2015

"A bit scary, but mostly annoying.*"
(wish there was "moderately scary", because designs itself were awesome, behavior isn't)

I recall in early stage of development you guys once mentioned you don't want to implement "active" monster i.e. they won't be attacking you explicitly. This resulted in some quick negative feedback so I assume this was a driving reason for the change. Now that I experienced the way SOMA is as a final product the "active" monsters truly look out of place. The way close and scarce environment in SOMA designed is not really intended for monster chase and hiding. Best atmospheric experience I had with a few very unusual "monsters": Ross and the resurrected crew members (crying robot woman in Omicron). Both don't even attack you directly (the woman does that only if you provoke her or by script) and contribute A LOT towards the overall tense atmosphere. ROSS follows you for a while and you never truly know his intentions and when he is going to attack you and this mechanic really fits SOMA's creepy lonely exploration experience well. You should have gone for a similar approach with the most of them, with the exception of some lore-specific like Akers, who definitely should be an "active one".