SOMA developer Frictional Games has revealed in the game's six month post-mortem that while it took five years to develop, it still hasn't quite turned a profit yet, although sales currently sit at 250,000 units. The studio also revealed that mod development for the game hasn't been particularly strong.
"The total number of sales, across all platforms, is currently at a bit over 250,000 units. This is pretty good; it'll only take 20k - 30k more until we've earned back our entire investment in the project," said the developer in the. Encouragingly, sales are steady at about 125 units per day; at that rate, SOMA will hit its target before 2016 has ended.
Frictional takes it in stride, however, stating that while SOMA was a "really ambitious project which took 5 years to develop," the very fact it'll finally turn a profit after such a huge investment is encouraging. According to the developer, it gives them the confidence to work on large, complex projects knowing that they'll eventually recoup the money spent.
The studio is also disappointed with the mod support for SOMA, unfavourably comparing it with its previous title Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. While Amnesia has enjoyed almost 450 finished mods, "so far only 5 custom stories (2 on moddb and 3 on steam workshop) have been released." The post went on to state that while they've appreciated what content has been done for SOMA, the studio expected more. "Just about everything in the game is controlled via script and modding allows you to replace any file, making it much more powerful than in Amnesia. Because of this, we'd hoped to see people do really crazy things with mods, but apart from Wuss Mode and a location tracking Omnitool there isn't much out there."
The best part of the game for Frictional, however, has been the positive reaction to SOMA, and the philosophical discussions it engendered. The studio cited the debate on whether the game's (semi) protagonist was evil or not, and the controversy over. "By far the most surprising reaction we've had yet has got to be one guy mailing us saying that the game inspired him to fly to the US and propose to his girlfriend. We've always seen SOMA as a rather bleak game, and it was really interesting to see how some people actually found it uplifting and inspiring," Frictonal marveled.
So, what was the lesson learned from SOMA? Frictional states that they'll try to release games that are thematically and tonally different in the future, because too-similar games hurt sales. "The moment that SOMA came out, sales of Amnesia: The Dark Descent went down too, and has stayed down ever since. We saw the same happening when we released Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, but since SOMA is in many ways quite different from Amnesia, we thought it wouldn't happen this time. But it did, and the reason seems to be that people lump both titles under a 'Current Horror From Frictional Games' label." The studio went on to reveal that for the first time in its history, it was developing two games at once.
SOMA was launched last September 2015 and earned a glowing 9.0/10 score in GameWatcher's, and earned serious consideration in the .