It’s been a while since we heard anything about Somerville, a side-scrolling (or is it?) sci-fi collaboration between now-departed Playdead co-founder Dino Patti and Hollywood animator Chris Olsen. In an interview with Eurogamer’s Robert Purchese in 2017, Patti suggested the end was “in sight” for the project. Speaking to me at Gamelab today, he offered some updates – and a few concerns.
Somerville looks “amazing”, Patti assured me, especially now development studio Jumpship has “scaled up the team to a comfortable size”. He’s particularly enthused for how it will confound expectations for a side-scrolling game, noting that “there are some interesting things going on with the genre, I would say, where you will experience things that will surprise you.”
Patti has elsewhere expressed his distrust for the typical genre labels, telling GamesIndustry.biz in April that “if I play three hours and after that I can extrapolate the next 10, I get really bored”. Pressed to elaborate on what this means for Somerville, he said: “For me it’s just about the whole emotional experience and how you control it. The genre that encapsulates the game doesn’t need to be set all the way through. It doesn’t need to be 2D side-scrolling. There are a lot of other ways to get those emotions and stories across.”