Birth, death, anatomy. When we start to talk about Hans Ruedi Giger, those three words can describe him. Most of us saw his work but probably never heard of him by his name. He is the visual creator of “Alien Evolution.” He is a swiss artist, and he is famous about how to blend the human physique with machines. This art style is called “biomechanical” or “biopunk.” A small warning, this kind of style is not everyone’s kind of cup of tea. Images could be horrific but intriguing as well.
So why are we talking about this? In sci-fictional or fictional games, we saw multiple examples of Cyberpunk and Steampunk. Those were concept styles, but we have a good visual and structural understanding of how they work with games.
How about Biopunk? It could not be pleasant, but it would be interesting to see it. Therefore we will be talking about a game that it’s been in development for eight years; which main influence of this game is H.R. Giger and Zdzislaw Beksinki. It may be a huge source of inspiration since it has a surrealistic brush style.
Before getting to the game, I would also like to introduce Zdzislaw. He is a Polish painter, photographer, and sculptor. Most of his work is known for his dystopian surrealism. He has what he called a Baroque or Gothic manner in his paintings. His creation was made mainly in two periods. One of the periods is expressionistic color with a strong style of utopian realism and surreal architecture. The other period contains more abstract style features formalism.
Scorn is a first-person biopunk survival horror game developed by Ebb Software. This game has been waiting for eight years for fans—especially those who love Giger’s works. It was for the artwork, witnessing this biomechanic world, the architecture of biomechanics.
Throughout making this game, Giger and Zdzislaw was not the only influence. There was huge research behind this game through film, artists, and architecture.
Ljubomir Peklar: Game Designer of Ebb Software, said in an interview, “Scorn’s influences are based on ideas and concepts I wanted to explore. When it comes to visual influences, just looking at any comment section for Scorn, you will notice two names are constantly mentioned: H.R. Giger (who appears to be a household name now) and the much less well-known polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski. They are certainly the two main visual influences, but their work was not chosen because it looks cool but because different aspects of their work relate to various themes and ideas in Scorn. We also tried to create our own style.” he added, “As for other influences, it’s quite a big list. If we are talking movies, it’s directors like Cronenberg, Argento, Lynch, Carpenter, and Jodorowsky, just to name a few. Writers of different genres, from Horror and SF to philosophy, like Lovecraft, Barker, Thomas Ligotti, J.G. Ballard, Stanislaw Lem, Kafka, Albert Camus, Heidegger, and so on. Games like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, or Metroid Prime.”
What about architecture? Well, Giger’s work knows for birth and death if you look at his work. However, in this game, developers decided to impregnate biological elements with Gothic style and modern Industrial elements. For me, there is a huge metaphor in this decision.
Gothic is known for reaching to god, the creator, the giver, and the taker—an industry known for production and manufacturing. Here, biomechanics combined with Gothic architecture and Industrial elements creates a discussion of the debate of creation and how it will be embedded in architecture.
Scorn team’s interview with Steam Community “It’s not an easy task to describe it precisely or to place it under a certain known category. The style embraces architecture, technology, arts, literature, and even biology. It combines the Gothic style and modern industrial elements, often impregnated with biological elements. For the various structures throughout the game, we spent considerable time studying architecture from different cultures in order to truly understand the technicalities of their art, as well as expand our creative ideas for the final design.”
“The knowledge of architectural concepts and symbolism is crucial for developing environments within a game like Scorn. Genuinely understanding the language of created spaces is key to communicating a feeling through someone’s surroundings. Ultimately, the final test of an area is how it makes you feel. People instinctively respond to and understand specific shapes, primarily based on our culturological backgrounds, without even needing to think about it. You don’t need to be an expert to realize that sacral architecture has a specific shape language very different from that of industrial.”
Thanks to the gamers in the gaming community, a group of people and the help of a “Transhumanistgamer” made the research of similarities in architecture found in Scorn. The similarities are on the nose; even though developers said only one of these examples is correct, you can’t deny looking exactly the same.
Not just the architecture but also the scenes and camera angles. Those architectural forms are from Yugoslavia and are monuments representing the sites where WWII battles took place. The architects were Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković. The Socialist Republic built these monuments to show confidence and strength.