The Game Awards Trailer
So after several days of teases OWI finally came out with saying that they’ll appear on the Game Awards showcasing “Soulstorm news.” These news, as it turns out, meant a one minute long video along with the announcement that the game is - apparently, unless it’s delayed again - coming in Spring, 2021.
If you haven’t yet seen the video, or would like to refresh your memory, you can do so here:
While a considerable part of the trailer is made up of content we’ve seen already, there are a few things I found interesting enough to point out, so let’s go over those.
Abe statue #1
First we see Abe run past this statue depicting him. It has a nice “3D” effect (aside from the game’s inherent 3D-ness) as the central column of the statue leans outwards, thus almost causing the stone Abe-head to “follow” the camera with its stare. The statue also ominously pulses, but the reason for this is yet unknown. Some speculate it’s giving out sound and the pulse is a sort of visual cue to this, similarly to how it worked with the bells you had to possess in Oddysee.
Abe statue #2
This next statue also likely depicts Abe (due to the stitched lips). I’m almost certain the Mayan-looking device, that I’ve spoken about here is at the base of this pillar.
Next we see Abe run in front of a conspicuous looking door. I believe this is likely the end of a vault or something similar. The floor in front of the door in the background almost looks like as if it could slide out (and thus provide a way inside for Abe.) I think it’s not unreasonable to think that once you have met some condition, this will happen and you’ll be let inside. There are two notable things here:
It’s quite unusual to see a dead Mudokon in a place like this. I mean, if this is an undisturbed vault, why is a random, fresh(!) dead body laying around in a spike? perhaps the place isn’t uninhabited at all?
If you look at the right side of the full image, you can see a handstone that looks remarkably similar to the ones used in Exoddus’ Necrum. I believe the connection is not a coincidence and this location is likely in (or perhaps near) Necrum.
What gives more weight to this observation is the fact that we’ve seen very similar bird statues and a similar color palette in the matte painting of Necrum done by Raymond Swanland.
This, however, connects one more dot because if we look back to one of the screenshots released previously, we can see the same bird statues looking over the pool of “honey” where Abe gets his chest scar.
The Tear-X-Tractors make a return in Soulstorm. These are the devices that constantly torture Mudokons to gain their tears. The difference here seems to be that these machines are also Mudokon operated, which perhaps makes the whole thing a bit more cruel.
The sign here also mentions an “Exit to Train Gate,” which I believe is simply the in-universe name for the level exit as it’s been stated that Abe will mostly travel using a train between levels.
This is the first time we see a new Glukkon-character (christened “Baron” by Abe’s Origins) in more detail than a still image. The phone he’s looking at looks quite similar to the one used in Stranger’s Wrath and what’s probably even more interesting is that while he stays silent, the phone’s mesh slightly vibrates, which likely indicates that the character is in the middle of receiving a call… Probably about Abe’s shenanigans.
I just wanted to include this quickly, it seems like the mines aren’t called “Necrum Mines” anymore, just simply Necrum, as per this sign.
While Abe is re-enacting his favorite scene from Indiana Jones, we can spot a - horribilie dictu - missing piece of texture on the top of the image.
In this next scene we can see Abe narrowly avoiding a Slig dispensing copious amounts of napalm at his general direction. I’m genuinely curious how is one supposed to read the hand stone in front of him. Aren’t we supposed to leg it without stopping? Will Abe later return here? Or the Slig just gives up its pursuit?
In this next scene we see what appears to be laser traps that pepper anything that walks into their line of sight.
The fans are quite unsure what this thing is, however, I see the figure of a Slig. You can spot the mask and even an arm. What’s really weird, however, is the yellow “sack” behind their heads along with what looks like a transceiver sticking out from it. My pet theory is that to cut corners, cyborg Sligs are used as “living turrets” instead of machines.
I also spotted a giant grinder behind the three “Sligs” shooting at Abe. I’m curious if you’re supposed to find the kill switch of this grinder before it can kill them to perhaps earn a bit of good quarma / to progress towards the best ending?
While Abe is busy frying some Sligs with the Shrykull, we can spot a vending machine that depicts a flamethrower and its fuel backpack. The interesting thing about is that the sign next to it seems to say that the flamethrower is free. Maybe this is a tool of “moral dilemma?” It’d be really easy to just pick it up and go to town, but if you want a good ending, you have to stop yourself from doing that?
I just wanted to make a note about the pendant Abe is wearing. I’ve been talking with another fan about just what it could be. He says it looks like either a beetle from Munch’s intro or an urn. I personally have no idea yet, because none of the images were clear enough, but since it was featured in multiple scenes already, it probably is something important to Abe’s character.
On the Train
In the next scene Abe is controlling a flying Slig on the train. Because there are multiple things of note here, I split them into smaller pieces below.
Chant Suppressor / Security Orb
Similarly to how it works in Munch’s Oddysee, the new Security Orbs actually kill the character if it comes too close to them and forces Abe to return to his body.
Placeholder Dripik / Weird sign
He pops up several times during the video and thus I point him out as it is tradition. Silliness aside there is also a weird sign next to him that I simply can’t figure out. It looks like the upper torso of something that has spikes coming out of its head.
If I wanted to reach real hard, I’d say it’s probably some new transformation as a call back to the “Shrykull is forbidden” signs from Exoddus, but there is little to base this on.
Advertisement on the side of the train
There seems to be an ad or perhaps a logo on the side of the train, but there isn’t enough of it in the screen to figure out what it is.
In this next scene we can see Abe fall victim to his own clumsiness as he steps on a pressure-plate that activates a bunch of spikes that pop out from the wall. While his fate isn’t shown, I don’t really think it’s really a mystery.
Here we see Abe demonstrate his controversial double jumping ability. While the facility here is not named, my guess falls on “Phat Station”, due to the fact that there is a train in the distance and Lanning did previously mention that Abe is going to hijack one from an abandoned station.
Escape - again!
The next scene is a continuation of the escape of Abe and co. from earlier. We see that while the Mudokons navigate by themselves without manual input, Abe is being harassed by another flying Slig, who blows up the ramp in front of him.
We get a better look at Molluck’s airship. The weird thing is in this scene is that Abe is nowhere to be seen and the rockets flying off from the airship are going to the far left side of the screen, while the Sligs just stand around. Is this perhaps a scene that was frozen using developer cheats?
Monsters in the dark
Finally we get another look at the
vicious, darkness-loving monsters that OWI teased a year ago.
I’m still not sold on them and I don’t think most are either. I truly, deeply hope these aren’t the Fleech “evolution” that is supposed to scare the socks off us, because that’d be a huge waste of a great character design for something that doesn’t look remotely as scary.
The All in All
Well, while the post became far longer than I anticipated I don’t think the trailer ultimately gave us that much insight. It was probably not the goal in the first place, but I personally still feel just as confused about Soulstorm’s story as everyone else. With this in mind, I can’t exactly go into a big story analysis here, so I’m cutting this short. I hope I was able to show something you haven’t noticed and thanks for reading.