When we revealed The Medium for the first-time during Microsoft’s Inside Xbox event back in May, we teased that there were many secrets still to reveal about our upcoming psychological horror game.
Each of our games, from Observer to Layers of Fear to Blair Witch, has a central theme that drives its creative and technological design. In The Medium, we focused on how your perspective changes your perception, and that when you change your point of view, you discover new truths far different to what you had originally perceived.
That there are two sides to every story.
So today, we’re thrilled to be able to reveal the most exciting feature to-date about The Medium that helps to shine a light on this cryptic theme a little more – our unique dual-reality gameplay.
Around the announcement of the title, we talked about the central character of Marianne, a woman haunted by visions that lead her to an abandoned hotel in Krakow, the site of a terrible tragedy years ago. Marianne is a medium and is therefore able to interact with both our world and the spirit world in order to solve the mysteries of this place.
But what we didn’t reveal… is that both of these worlds can be rendered, displayed, interacted with, and explored at the same time.
Made possible only through the power that cutting-edge next-gen hardware brings, The Medium renders two fully-fledged and visually distinct worlds simultaneously with no visible loading times. At different points in the game, players will find themselves playing in either of the worlds, or within both at the same time, with the game purposefully designed in this way to ensure variety and surprise.
This technology provides players a unique way to play, and a whole new experience and perspective. A seemingly impossible to find escape in the real world, or an unsolvable puzzle, can be unveiled in the spirit world via Marianne’s medium powers. And with different controller inputs mapped to each world, exploration and puzzle-solving can be simultaneous when needed.
The spirit world also provides Marianne with different skills than her physical-world self, such as her Out of Body ability.
Marianne can use this to leave her physical self and explore places only accessible as a spirit. But players should be careful, as the Out of Body ability takes a toll on Marianne. Much like a deep-sea diver, if players remain out of her body too long, Marianne’s real-world self will feel the potentially fatal ramifications.
This technological concept is one that we’ve been looking into for many years at Bloober Team, but one that in all honesty was impossible before this current gen of hardware. Only with newer tech built into the Xbox Series X and in PCs are we able to fully render two distinct worlds at the same time. This crucially also enables us to switch instantly between locations – which I hope will be a game-changer for the horror genre.
We’ve been keen to ensure that the game remains thrilling, full of suspense at all times, and unpredictable. As such, Marianne (and players) will not be in control of which world they find themselves – meaning players must be on their toes at any point as we effortlessly transport them to either world, or both at the same time, while playing or during cinematic cut-scenes. The absence of visible loading times makes this a possibility.
This dedication to the cinematic experience continues into the game’s score – composed by Akira Yamaoka, of Silent Hill fame, and Bloober Team’s Arkadiusz Reikowski. A game featuring two worlds, and two composers that have worked in tandem to create truly unique atmospheres across each world – whether that’s while players are in the real world, the spirit world, or interacting with both at the same time.
We’re looking forward to hearing and reading fans’ reactions to this latest reveal, and will be revealing more gameplay footage, and more news, in the months to come before the release of The Medium.