Indie side-scrolling adventure games from studios like Playdead have garnered significant attention and some ex-staffers are creating a new game from the aptly named Jumpship Studio. Announced as an Xbox console exclusive today during the Microsoft/Bethesda E3 2021 Showcase, Somerville is set to 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-through-events structure create a wonderfully flowing story where players can easily find themselves swept along for the ride. Work on Somerville started sometime in 2014 by Chris Olsen but it wasn't until 2016 that he would talk with ex-Playdead CEO and co-founder, Dino Patti. The Playdead influence can be seen in spades in the new Somerville trailer presented at the Xbox/Bethesda E3 2021 Showcase.
The Somerville E3 2021 trailer opens with melancholy piano scoring a lonely car on a stretch of highway and moves into a scene of a family at home, fast 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 some strong visual storytelling while leaving more questions than answers. Here's where we get to see different gameplay segments of Somerville featuring the assumed father of the family traveling with their loyal canine. It appears you'll trek through various settings with a minimalistic yet expressive art style and encounter some light puzzle-solving along the way.
The trailer picks up with the family reunited but running for their lives in some sort of sci-fi invasion or attack. Expect plenty of emotional attachments to be tested with some scenes teasing tragic events. If you love adventure games that are absolutely saturated with atmosphere, the Playdead portfolio is a must-try and it looks like Somerville is going to make Jumpship Studio another name in that conversation.
Somerville was announced as an Xbox console exclusive during the Xbox/Bethesda E3 2021 Showcase. The game is set to invade sometime in 2022. For more E3 2021 announcements, Shacknews is the only place to be.