The new Scorn trailer from today's PC Gaming Show is narrated by none other than Doug Bradley, Pinhead from Hellraiser, which signals very clearly what Scorn is about. The trailer paints a dark and sinister environment designed to be deeply unsettling: We get a glimpse of the main character waking up in "an industrial civilization now lying in decay and ruin," along with the character interacting with gnarly biomechanical devices that do a great job of making your skin crawl.
Essentially, if you've watched Alien, Aliens or Prometheus and thought the Engineer's biomechanical ships looked like a fun place to spend your time, then Scorn is the game for you. Also, you should probably seek help. Oh, and stop mentioning Prometheus, it was a rubbish film.
Heavily inspired by the art of HR Giger, the designer of the original Alien, Scorn offers up a visceral labyrinthian world for you to explore and puzzle your way around. It's been designed from the outset to be a first-person horror adventure, not an all-out shooter, which makes for a nice change to the norm.
It's creepy and unsettling but still utterly coherent, making the fact that you have to put your hands into various squelchy consoles and machines a surprisingly natural thing to do. You may recoil as you're doing it, but at least it makes sense.
We've had glimpses of Scorn's beautifully crafted world for a long while now, with the first pre-alpha trailer gracing our screens back in 2014. The last eight years have made for more detailed models and environments though, and the latest trailer shows off Scorn's beautifully realized world alongside its deeply unsettling first-person hand... stuff. Scorn isn't for the faint-hearted, or indeed for those that don't possess an absolutely iron-cast constitution.
Given I was grossed out having to squish the antlion grubs in Half-Life: Alyx but still love Giger's art, Scorn has me equal parts intrigued and disgusted. Not a bad mindset to have when wandering around an alien environment that is intent on grossing you out, I guess. I'll probably spend far too long agonizing over opening a door to actually get anywhere, and so won't have to face its more horrific treasures.
Ebb Software is at pains to point out that this isn't a shooter, something that works well with its largely puzzle-based nature. It's largely about avoiding the denizens of this alien world as opposed to going at them all guns blazing. Locking a big bad behind a gate is the preferred option here—there will be no grabbing a BFG and cleansing this hellscape of everything that moves, no matter how tempting that may be.
There are biomechanical guns to play around with, though, and they're every bit as gross and unsettling as the environments. You're going to need to manage your ammo so that you're ready for those critical moments when you do have to dispatch something grotesque lumbering towards you. Or just get used to running away. Or at least running away until you get to a locked door and discover you've got to do something unspeakable in order to open it again. Yeuch.
Scorn is due out in October 2022.