Side-scrolling indie adventure games from studios like Playdead have garnered considerable attention and some former staff are making a new game out of the aptly named Jumpship Studio. Announced today exclusively for the Xbox console during the Microsoft / Bethesda E3 2021 showcase, Somerville is slated for release in 2022.
Games like Inside and Limbo have created memorable experiences from simple side-scrolling adventures with minimal input beyond moving, jumping, and interacting with objects. Their immediacy and narrative structure throughout the events create a wonderfully fluid story where players can easily find themselves drawn for the ride. Work on Somerville started in 2014 with Chris Olsen, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he spoke to former Playdead CEO and co-founder Dino Patti. Playdead’s influence can be seen in spades in the new Somerville trailer showing at the Xbox / Bethesda E3 2021 showcase.
The Somerville E3 2021 trailer opens with a melancholy piano scoring a lonely car on a stretch of freeway and transforms into a family scene at home, sound asleep on the couch, bathed in the glow of a television. We see a brief scene of an abandoned road with cars seemingly abandoned en masse, setting up a strong visual storytelling while leaving more questions than answers. It’s here that we see different segments of Somerville gameplay featuring the family’s alleged father traveling with their loyal dog. It looks like you will walk through various backdrops with a minimalist yet expressive art style and come across some light puzzles along the way.
The trailer picks up with the family reunited but runs for its life in some sort of sci-fi invasion or attack. Expect many emotional attachments to be tested with some teasing scenes of tragic events. If you like adventure games that are absolutely saturated with atmosphere, the Playdead wallet is a must-have and it looks like Somerville is going to make Jumpship Studio another name in this conversation.
Somerville was announced as an Xbox console exclusive during the Xbox / Bethesda E3 2021 showcase. The game is expected to take over sometime in 2022. For more E3 2021 announcements, Shacknews is the only place to be.