The Medium’s dual-reality gameplay explained on Xbox Series X

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Horror game The Medium showed off its dual-reality gameplay at yesterday’s Xbox showcase, but what exactly does that mean?

During yesterday’s Xbox Games Showcase, Bloober Team got another opportunity to show off its upcoming horror title, The Medium.

First announced in May, it won people over with its Silent Hill-like atmosphere (Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka’s even doing the music), but the developers have gone into a bit more detail regarding possibly its most impressive feature: dual-reality gameplay.

In the new trailer, we see main character and titular medium Marianne exploring two different worlds, the real world and the spirit world, which share roughly the same layout but can be swapped between in order to solve puzzles.

This on its own isn’t anything new (the idea dates back to Zelda: A Link To The Past on the SNES) but, according to Bloober Team in an Xbox blog post, the two worlds can be rendered and displayed at the same time.

Basically, you can find yourself jumping between the two worlds with no visible loading times and, apparently, you’ll even be exploring both worlds at the same time. That’s likely something that would be impossible without a SSD, as The Medium seems to be one of the few Xbox Series X exclusive games at the moment.

Aside from being a technological feat, Bloober Team also provided examples of how this technology can lead to some interesting puzzle solving.

‘A seemingly impossible to find escape in the real world, or an unsolvable puzzle, can be unveiled in the spirit world via Marianne’s medium powers,’ writes lead game designer Wojciech Piejko.

‘And with different controller inputs mapped to each world, exploration and puzzle-solving can be simultaneous when needed.’

Marianne has the power to leave her body behind and move about as a spirit while in the spirit world. But if she remains out of her body for too long, her physical form will suffer some unexplained consequences.

It also sounds like you will have no control over when you will swap between worlds, as Piejko clarifies that they want the game to remain thrilling and unpredictable throughout.

‘We’ve been keen to ensure that the game remains thrilling, full of suspense at all times, and unpredictable. As such, Marianne (and players) will not be in control of which world they find themselves – meaning players must be on their toes at any point as we effortlessly transport them to either world, or both at the same time, while playing or during cinematic cut scenes. The absence of visible loading times makes this a possibility.’

We can see examples of this in the trailer, as some cut scenes can trigger in both worlds, which creates the impression that the shift between worlds can be completely random.

While certainly intriguing, how this will affect the gameplay itself remains to be seen.

The Medium will release for PC and Xbox Series X later this year.

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