The Medium: 10 Things You Should Know

It's time to d-d-d-d-d-d-dual.

The Medium review
The Medium

The Medium is a new psychological horror game developed by Bloober Team, the same team that brought us popular titles such as Blair Witch, Observer and Layers of Fear that released on January 28th on Xbox Series X | S and PC.

In terms of selling points, The Medium takes a unique concept, dual-reality gameplay, and successfully implements it thanks to next-generation technology. There are many exciting features about The Medium that will scare you silly, and we’ve compiled a list of 10 of them for you.


1. The Setting

The Medium
The Medium

The Medium is set in Poland in a ruined communist hotel resort where a terrible tragedy has occurred.

The main character Marianne is on a mission to find answers as to what happened in the hotel, as well as find a mysterious character called Thomas. Marianne is haunted by visions of a little boy’s murder, which is how she found her way to the hotel in the first place. The resort is haunted by the ghost of a little girl called Sadness, but is also stalked by something much darker.

The resort in-game is also based on a real abandoned hotel in Poland, which appears strikingly unique from the outside. The inside actually looks really similar in-game and in real life, especially in the lobby area. There are many pictures of Hotel Cracovia online, including a few on the Wiki page.


2. Dual Reality

The Medium
The Medium

Among the most notable features within The Medium is the dual reality gameplay. Marianne will be able to enter 2 separate worlds and interact with them both simultaneously for about one third of the game. These worlds are the real world, and the spirit. Each one will have different advantages and disadvantages and interact with each other in many ways, like opening doorways in the spirit realm to open it in the other, and moving through mirrors to get away from enemies. Marianne will have to maneuver both if she wants to solve the mystery of the Niwa Hotel, and survive her experience.

There are big opportunities for puzzles within the dual realities. In the gameplay video uploaded by Bloober Team, we see Marianne having to find a different way around a staircase because it only exists in the spirit world and is broken in the real world. She then takes an elevator to get to the second floor instead, but is stopped in her tracks when the elevator breaks down and only her spirit form makes it to the top. She can also see spirits and entities in the spirit world that she can’t see in the real world, while in the real world she can hear echoes of the past through objects


3. The Maw

Every horror game needs a threat, a villain that is a danger to the player character for it to be truly terrifying. The Medium’s villain is The Maw, a grotesque abomination that hunts Marianne throughout her quest. The ghost Sadness that appears within the gameplay video says that The Maw “came from shame, from helplessness, from rage” and that it ate all of her friends. It is blind, travels between the real and spirit worlds and has ambiguous intentions.

The Maw is loosely based on Pyramid Head and looks and sounds terrifying. Its supernatural nature allows it to make unnatural sounds that will make you wince, and that’s in large part due to Troy Baker’s creative voice acting. An interview between him and IGN, which you can watch above, goes into depth about this “genderless entity” and how it came to life.


4. Camera

The Medium
The Medium

Unlike the majority of traditional horror games that take place in first person, The Medium is seen from a fixed camera perspective, meaning that every room or section of a room has its own camera angle. Bloober Team have said that this suits the duality of The Medium better than 3rd person, and that the latter was in earlier versions of the game.

These alpha editions of the game actually gave many developers and testers motion sickness, forcing Bloober Team to come up with a better way to display their game. The fixed camera allows players to better understand their surroundings in both worlds without feeling queasy, and to see exactly what’s intended to be seen.


5. Music

Bloober Team is so confident about their dual-world theme that they even had a different musical composer for each one. Polish composer Arkadiusz Reikowski, who has worked on several other horror games, such as Layers of Fear and Kholat, has composed the real world side of the music. On the other hand, the legendary Japanese composer who created the music from the Silent Hill series, Akira Yamaoka, focused mainly on the spirit world music.

Fans of Silent Hill might be pleasantly surprised by the likeness of the music between the two games, and the eerie atmosphere that Yamaoka is able to produce. The sounds of The Medium will without a doubt be a source for a lot of the fear and unease that players will feel in the game.


6. Ray Tracing

The Medium
The Medium

Ray tracing has allowed Bloober Team to create a world in which the lighting matters and adds to the intense, eerie vibe. Since this is only possible on next-generation hardware, The Medium is going to be exclusive to owners of the new Xbox Series X | S or PC.

The game has been talked about as far back as 2012, but Bloober were waiting for the right moment to realize this vision. According to them, now that they have an experienced team of developers and the creative freedom that is given by the more powerful technology, they can finally realize The Medium as they wanted to.


7. Combat and Abilities

The Medium
The Medium

In an interview with GamingBolt, Bloober Team have said “The Medium focuses mainly on story, exploration and puzzles, but that does not mean that the player will not encounter any threats”. As there will be enemies in the game such as the disturbing Maw, Marianne will have to enter combat at times. However, the developers have said that most of the combat will be defense and survival based, meaning that seeking out combat will not really be an option in the game.

One of the main ways Marianne will be able to defend herself is by using Spirit Blast. It can be charged by absorbing energy within the Spirit Realm, and then apparently used as a last minute escape tactic. Apart from that, Bloober Team have taken inspiration from Silent Hill, and will present stealth as the main way to get around threats.


8. Performance and PC requirements

The Medium
The Medium

It’s not a secret that Bloober Team’s The Medium will look stunning on 4K TVs, but how will it actually run? The developers have said that the game runs very smoothly on Xbox Series X and S, as well as PC. Of course there will be minor issues at times such as the occasional texture pop-in, but no Cyberpunk-esque world destroying events. The game will run at 4K and 30 FPS on Xbox Series X, but performance is yet to be confirmed on Series S.

When it comes to PC, we all know it can do a lot better than that.

If you’re aiming for the minimum requirements to run The Medium on your PC, you will need an Intel Core i5-6600 or an AMD Ryzen 5 2500X CPU, 8GB of RAM and Windows 10. As for the video card, either a 1080p NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB or an AMD Radeon R9 390X will do.

If you want The Medium to look and perform how Bloober Team intends it to, however, the recommended requirements are an Intel core i5-9600 or AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU and 16GB of RAM. Any one of these video cards are recommended: @1080p NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti / Radeon RX Vega 56 | @4K NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 / Radeon RX 5700 XT.


9. Price and Game Pass

Game Pass
Game Pass

The Medium is going to be released for Xbox Series X| S and PC and is going to be $50 USD. However, The Medium will be on Game Pass as soon as it comes out, allowing Xbox players to play it as soon as it comes out at no additional cost.

Many game studios have been increasing the price of next-generation titles, but The Medium will actually be cheaper. On top of that, the game is currently on sale on Steam for 10% off of the original price. However, Bloober Team have stated that The Medium is mostly a game about storyline and that it’s only about 8 hours long on a regular playthrough.


10. Art Style

The Medium
The Medium

Anyone who has watched the gameplay video of The Medium will have noticed the very distinct art style within the spirit world. Interactive photos of it can also be seen on the game’s website. The style is inspired by Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski, who focused a lot on depicting a sort of “dystopian surrealism”.

Most of his art depicted death and decay in an extravagant manner, as if the whole world was built upon corpses. The spirit world within The Medium, as well as the Maw character take inspiration from this art style. This could have a deeper meaning that players may find while experiencing the game, or it could just be a clever way to depict a realm that is only attainable through death. Whether it is one of those, neither or somewhere in between, it is a very interesting way to build a game world, and an easy way to shine a light upon Polish art.

The Medium is at once a new take on psychological horror, and a love letter to early 2000s games like Silent Hill. It has an original aspect to it, as well as memorable music, art and characters. The Medium releases on January 28th for Xbox Series X | S and PC.

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