The upcoming shooter, Scorn, looks like an H.R. Giger painting come to life. The grotesque bio-mechanical aesthetic is horrific, yet mesmerizing.
The Swiss artist H.R. Giger was a prolific artist of macabre biomechanical designs. Perhaps best known for creating the terrifying xenomorph in Ridley Scott’s Alien, Giger produced some of the most disturbingly beautiful artwork on the planet. His attention to detail and the subtext of his images evoked wonder and horror. The biomechanical artwork that drips with horrific and erotic suggestion has now inspired an equally disturbing game, Scorn.
Due to be released on October 21, Scorn is a survival-horror shooter looking every bit as grotesque and beautiful as its inspiration. The game sees the player controlling a nameless and skinless character in a world ripped straight from Giger’s surreal works. The world of Scorn is filled with twisting blackened corridors, desolate ruins of a fallen society, and massive structures woven of flesh, bone, and metal. The level design is such that Scorn tasks players to pay careful attention to all the little details for clues as to what is going on.
The hellscape of Scorn holds many kinds of creatures that the player must dispose of or ignore as they move deeper into this twisted labyrinth of horror. All contraptions like elevators and bridge controls along with weapons are also biomechanical in design. To use a firearm or activate a control, the skinless one doesn’t simply interact with it, but rather they connect to it. Weapons are literally attached to the player’s arm. It seems that this grotesque world never lets the player forget that both flesh and machines share a symbiotic relationship, as though they rely on one another to survive.
The soundtrack is absolutely nightmarish and unnerving as the game is filled with ominous sounds of pain and torment in the distance. Surreal and industrial, the music rhythmically suggests an ever-present feeling of dread. Nothing seems at peace in the world of Scorn and, as a result, the soundtrack signals to the player to always keep moving. In this way, Scorn seems to use its soundtrack as an effective method of accomplishing total immersion.
Running on Unreal Engine 4, Scorn looks breathtaking and terrifying at the same time. The biomechanical world is blanketed in darkness and obscuring mist, suggesting that every little corner could hold an enemy or a secret. The low lighting and claustrophobic halls imply that players should explore this world with great care.
Serbian development studio Ebb Software hasn’t revealed much about the title so far. However, the gameplay trailer, narrated by the legendary horror actor, Doug Bradley, reveals a key piece of information about the game: “Scorn has no dialogue, so most of the storytelling comes from the environment.” This is a most intriguing concept as it allows each player to interpret what they will from their surroundings. It also suggests that the environment of Scorn is as much a character as the skinless one controlled by the player. In lending the story to player interpretation, the people at Ebb Software show that they truly understand and appreciate the artist that inspired this grisly horror game.
Sean Bell is a freelance writer for CBR. He is an avid gamer that plays a ridiculous amount of games, although soulslike games are his bread and butter. Sean loves to read and write as well, and he loves playing boardgames with friends. His favorite films all come from the 70s and 80s and Sean aspires to be a novelist some day.