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The Untold Truth Of Scorn

If you tuned in to Microsoft's recent Xbox Series X reveal, you might have caught a glimpse of a little trailer for a game titled Scorn. This game's biomechanical hellscape looks like something ripped from the mind of H.R. Giger — almost as if the developers at Ebb Software traveled back in time to recruit the late, great painter.

Described as an "atmospheric first-person horror adventure," Scorn is one of the Xbox Series X's most promising — and most disturbing — launch titles. And if the trailer piqued your interest, you probably want to dive into the game and explore every pulsating nook and squirming cranny.

Here's everything we know so far about Scorn.

Its biomechanical hellscape has been in development hell

Since Scorn was announced for the Xbox Series X, you might assume the game started development fairly recently. That assumption couldn't be further from the truth.

Scorn has been in development hell since 2014. The team at Ebb Software introduced Scorn to the masses back then with a Kickstarter that eventually failed due to a lack of exposure. However, while the company encountered bad luck its first go around, things quickly changed in Ebb's favor. According to an interview with PC Gamer, project lead Ljubomir Peklar stumbled into an investor by "pure luck." This benefactor helped the company get back on its feet, and that injection of cash gave Ebb Software the confidence — and the marketing budget — to try a second Kickstarter campaign. This time the company succeeded.

The second campaign, while successful, did not pan out as intended. As many backers know, Kickstarter projects often are at odds with schedules, and games are usually delivered late. Scorn's projected release date of October 2018 came and went, and some people suspected the game might have been an elaborate scam, which was not helped by Ebb Software's tendency to maintain social media radio silence for months on end.

At least the new Xbox Series X trailer demonstrates the company hasn't forgotten about Scorn. Soon investors will be able to dust off their Kickstarter backer rewards and play the game they helped fund.

H.R. Giger isn't the only influence

Everything in Scorn looks as though it was grown with a purpose. The organic hallways and items of Scorn seemingly belong in the bowels of some giant beast, but also have an organization and symmetry that simply doesn't occur in nature. At first glance, the visceral art style appears to be cribbed from H.R. Giger. But just like any creative work, Scorn draws its influence from more than one source.

During an interview with Opium Pulses, Peklar revealed that Scorn will have no dialogue. More importantly, it will function similar to German expressionist films, where the story is "implied through visuals and audio." Peklar didn't say which expressionist films inspired him, but these films are easily identified by their use of shadows and impossible architectural angles. Metropolis and Nosferatu are some of the genre's most famous examples.

Moreover, PC Gamer's interview with Peklar revealed yet another artistic inspiration for Scorn: Polish painter Zdzisław Beksiński. Beksiński was a combination painter/photographer whose talent lay in nightmarish dreamscapes. You might have unknowingly discovered some of Beksiński's work if you frequent European heavy metal albums. While Beksiński never titled his paintings, the artist obviously inspired Peklar and the development of Scorn through his dream logic landscapes.

From PC exclusive to Xbox Series X

Since Scorn was initially conceived as an indie game, you might wonder if the team at Ebb began development conservatively or if it aimed for the stars and didn't care where it landed. While the game's art style is certainly out there, the company was a little more mindful when it came to platform planning. Ebb Software started with a single console in mind, but contrary to the recent trailer, it wasn't Microsoft's big black box.

Even though Scorn is scheduled to release on the Xbox Series X as a launch title, the game began life as a PC exclusive. The studio didn't rule out the possibility of an eventual console port, but said that would happen if it could round up "the resources to do so." In other words, a console version was initially a pipe dream made of hopes and trachea. But a lot can happen during development hell, including the acquisition of funds that let developers publish on new consoles.

While Scorn's Xbox Series X console exclusivity probably kills any possibility of a PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 4 version, Scorn will still eventually release on PC via Steam, GOG, and the Windows Store.

A story split into two parts, now made whole

When Ebb Software originally pitched Scorn to the Kickstarter backers, the studio showcased the game as "Part 1 of 2: Dasein." Dasein is German for "being there," "presence," or "existence," depending on your translation. Splitting Scorn into two parts was a necessary compromise given the game's scope and limited budget. And since Scorn ran the risk of failing and not gathering enough interest or scratch for a part two, Ebb likewise ran a similar risk of ending a story half told with no guarantee of ever finishing it.

Then the company received funding from Kowloon Nights, which gave it enough money to tell the entire Scorn story from start to finish in one uninterrupted game. No cliffhanger ending. No "Part Two Coming Soon." Just one finished game that players will now get to experience on the Xbox Series X.