Scorn Looks Gross and Great, But It’s The Sounds That Really Haunt Me

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In 2016, Ebb Software’s horror adventure game Scorn made its way onto the scene. Its beginnings can be found on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where over 5600 backers pledged €192,487 (200,523.91 U.S. Dollars) and obtained various levels of perks. Tier 1 rewards included a set of high-definition wallpapers, your name in the credits, demo access, and a copy of the game on PC. People who backed its highest tier received a limited edition USB flash drive, figurine, a vinyl version of its soundtrack, and more.

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Then in 2020, Ebb Software partnered with Microsoft, taking the PC-exclusive game and making it multiplatform with an Xbox Series X release scheduled for October. When asked why they decided to partner with Microsoft, Game Director Ljubomir Peklar told Game Reactor, “It’s very simple. Good performance of the game is important to us. Xbox Series X is very capable hardware that enables parity with the PC version of the game.”

When I first saw the game’s H.R. Giger-inspired world, I was very intrigued by how it looked. A bloody nightmarish hellscape that looks like it could use a Danny Tanner-style deep cleaning. A big part of the appeal outside of the game’s gross yet gorgeous setting is its sound design.

Its sound design really does a great job of making movements around certain areas give you the feeling of abandonment. The echoes of falling to the floor send off sounds that unleashed my fear of enemies hearing it, and come looking for a hunt. Pulling levers and reloading weapons fill the stale air and exit the speakers of the soundbar in my living room with the sounds of biomechanical flesh. I immediately recoiled a little just typing that last sentence.

When you take part of a gun off and put it back on, it sounds as if bones are being broken. There is no sound of metal on metal as you reload your weapon, just the squelch of placing teeth (which are used as bullets) into a gum-like chamber. Creatures and enemies sound like they are in constant agony; there is no joy in the world of Scorn, only the feeling of being alone in a labyrinth of torture.

It’s a very creepy tone, wearing its inspiration from H.R. Giger on its rotting sleeve. The only thing that sounds relatively normal is when you fire a gun, when you can really hear its power; it gives you a very, very, brief sense of normalcy within the world.

Per its official gameplay trailer, the world of Scorn is an industrial civilization that has been ravaged by continued decay. There is no dialogue – its story is driven by the sounds of its world. I actually like this concept because instead of dialogue trees and monologue-filled cutscenes, Ebb Software just wants you to focus on its aesthetics and in true horror fashion let the eerie sounds guide you and your path. Listening to the decaying sounds of a dying world is key in seeing just how things and devices work. Just have a listen to this two-minute clip of ‘The Sounds of Scorn’ to get a feel of what you’re in for.

While its world is decaying, it is important to have a really strong sound design. Elevators are not just elevators, and objects are not just objects, they for the most part have a pulse and are living things.

While not a whole lot about its story has been revealed I really do admire the feeling of being in the wild and trying to just survive and navigate the areas around you. The game appears to just drop you into its world of ew and disgust and says “Ok have fun,” and you are left feeling like a kid watching the family car drive off without you with hours of terror-filled gameplay lurking behind you. I am very excited for this game to finally be released, and I really do appreciate the team behind it taking their time to craft something disgusting yet potentially wonderful. Will this game be good? I hope so, if anything as a fan of horror in general it will be very nice to look at and spend time in.



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