The Medium Interview: Dual Soundtracks, Silent Hill Vibe, Xbox Series X Launch Title

Following its announcement at the recent Inside Xbox digital event, The Medium was strongly assumed to be one of the launch titles of Xbox Series X. That assumption has now been given more credit.

Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, developer Bloober Team confirmed that The Medium will release around the same time as the Xbox Series X launch. While that doesn’t necessarily confirm the game as a launch title, the final release date will be “narrowed down” in the coming months.

Bloober Team also confirmed that there are no plans to release The Medium on current-generation consoles. The reason being that the game utilizes gameplay mechanics that can only be “realized” on next-generation hardware. The developer categorically noted that The Medium wouldn’t be the same on current-generation platforms and once the public gets to see the game for themselves, they will understand just how The Medium makes full use of Xbox Series X.

Bloober Team also discussed how the game has been designed to give off the classic Silent Hill or Resident Evil vibes, as well as the music which sees Silent Hill composer Akira Yakamoka return with his signature eerie soundtracks. The entire interview can be gone through below.

You guys have mentioned that “The Medium” will feature “dual” soundtrack by the two composers? How does that work in the game? Will these be selectable by the user or they will change programmatically throughout the game?

We call the game’s soundtrack dual for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have two great composers from two different cultures with two different musical styles. Arkadiusz Reikowski has been working with us for years ad you could hear his music in all our recent games, such as Observer or Blair Witch. Last year, he was nominated for the Hollywood Music for Media Award 2019 for his work on Layers of Fear 2. Akira Yamaoka… I don’t think I have to introduce him, he’s a legend of horror game music thanks to his work on the Silent Hill series.

Arkadiusz and Akira cooperate closely together so that there’s a feel of cohesion and a common direction throughout the game. However, the general rule we have is that Arkadiusz is responsible for the real world, while Yamaoka-san focuses on the spirit world. And this is another reason why we talk about duality of the soundtrack.

Naturally, fans are excited for the Silent Hill composer, Akira Yamaoka. So apart from soundtrack, are there any other similarities (environmental based) with Silent Hill series?

Let me first stress that we’re not trying to make another Silent Hill. At the same, when developing a psychological horror with Yamaoka-san on board, it’s hard not to be inspired by the series, so there are indeed other similarities.

The Medium uses semi-fixed camera angles, an approach that was popular during the golden era of horror games in late 90s and early 00s. This is a great tool for building the mood in the game, to create a sense of danger or weirdness in the player. It also stresses the cinematic style of the game.

Similarly to Silent Hill, our game also features an alternative dimension, the spirit world. It’s, too, a dark and gloomy place where you have to stay vigilant to survive. However, how we use the world gameplay-wise is quite different from Konami’s games.

Lastly, our core theme of the game is how your perspective changes your perception. This means The Medium is largely a symbolic and ambiguous game, open to interpretations – something you could also say about Silent Hill.

In terms on Visuals, Art and Graphics, what’s the main inspiration behind “The Medium”. Usually, Psychological Horror games have a unique aesthetic that can be felt throughout the game. In that sense, what’s the driving force behind the Medium.

The spirit world in the game was inspired by Zdzisław Beksiński’s art, a Polish dystopian surrealist, known especially for his paintings. His works – especially the “Baroque” period in his career, which is our main inspiration – can only be described as disturbing, gloomy and surreal. The paintings are usually detailed scenes of death and decay, often depicting skeletons, dead bodies and equally dead landscapes. It’s a perfect match for our spirit world, a hostile and sad place where souls of the dead linger. I really encourage everyone to take a look at Beksiński’s art, even if they are normally not interested in painting.

In terms of game length, how long players can expect “The Medium” to be?
This is something we’d like to discuss later in our campaign. What I can say now, though, is that we take great care to tell our story in the most effective way while keeping the atmosphere tense and unique throughout the game, so we definitely don’t want to artificially inflate the hour count.

How does “The Medium” stand out from many other games in the same genre?

First of all, I believe the game takes the whole “two worlds” concept to a new level – but we are still to announce and showcase the details, so for now please take my word for it.

But it’s not only that. While we introduce innovative mechanics to the gameplay, at the same time we revive the atmosphere of cult horror games from the late 1990s and early 2000s. So if you’re fan a classic Silent Hill or Resident Evil games, you’ll find a similar vibe here. A good example are the semi-fixed cameras. It’s something that was the standard back then but is rarely used today. So we thought: how would that work in a next-gen game? – and then did it. An oldschool concept in a modern execution.

Last but not least, The Medium is a psychological horror after all and we really mean it. Our goal isn’t simply to scare you. We want to tell you a terrifying story that will make you think about the questions the game asks. And not too many horror games on the market tries to do that nowadays.

Will “The Medium” offer player any choices to go about certain enemies or challenges? Or each encounter will have one way to solve it?

We haven’t gone into much detail yet about the enemies and challenges in the game, so it’s hard to answer it without revealing too much too early. But let me tell you this. With The Medium, we want to tell a very special story in a very special way, so a linear type of storytelling is the best means to that end. At the same time, there’s a degree of freedom in how deep you will immerse yourself in this world(s) and how much of the whole mystery you will get to uncover.

About the release platforms, can we expect to see “The Medium” on Sony platforms or is it going to be PC and Xbox exclusive? Is it going to be a launch title for Xbox Series X?

The game is coming to XSX and PC, and we’re not considering other platforms at the moment. The Medium is set to release during the console’s launch window, but we will officially narrow it down in the coming months.

You guys are using next-gen tech to fulfill the vision of your game. As a developer, what’s the most exciting thing for you in the new generation? Is the new hardware a justifiable leap than the previous generation?

The gameplay mechanics we’re creating for The Medium can be fully realized only on a next-gen hardware. The game simply couldn’t work the same way on current-gen platforms. In case of our game, what helps us the most are mainly the SSD and the sheer power of the CPU and GPU, but Xbox Series X is a great piece of tech however you look at it, and we can expect many great and novel game ideas this generation.

has halted regime changes, curbed demonic invasions, and averted at least one cosmic omnicide; all from the confines of his gaming chair.