Brought to you by Polish gaming company Bloober, The Medium is one horror game you don’t want to miss: it’ll pioneer the dual-reality feature in video games, allowing you to seamlessly transition between two realities during the course of your gameplay. Little surprise, then, that the game has been on the wishlists of many players since its reveal during the 2020 Xbox Game Showcase.
That said, we’re now left with many questions. How does dual-reality gameplay work? What is The Medium’s storyline? What are The Medium’s system requirements? This article will give you everything you need to know about The Medium, the horror genre’s most exciting addition in 2021.
What is The Medium?
What Kind of Game Is It?
All gamers, not just those who are fans of the horror genre, should look forward to The Medium. This game has brand new dual-reality gameplay that makes for both scary and riveting gaming.
The Medium is a third-person psychological horror game that features a character with the ability to connect with the realm of spirits. Aptly titled “The Medium”, many gamers look forward to not only the game’s unique gameplay but also the many puzzles that come with it.
Dual-reality gaming was not possible at the beginning of the 21st century. And with The Medium promising to incorporate dual-reality into its gameplay, people are thus especially excited for its release. Add on to that the game’s dark and deep-running storyline, and we have a potential Game of the Year on our hands.
Psychic abilities in any game usually equate to an exploration of the past or the future. With dual-reality gameplay, The Medium brings you to an abandoned communist resort with a rich yet troubled past. In this place, you are to dive deep into the past, solve puzzles, and communicate with spirits. Each of these interactions has spirit-world and real-world implications.
You may already know the Bloober Team from its previous projects, such as Blair Witch and Observer, both successful horror games that have given players ample chills and scares.
Like Phasmophobia, The Medium is proof that indie game studios are experts at scaring people. Bloober Team’s other releases, such as Layers of Fear VR, tap into the potential of virtual reality as a means to deliver bone-chilling experiences. In games like these, players can find detailed storylines and creepy graphics. All of these come together to create horrific atmospheres like no other.
From their previous releases, it is obvious that horror is Bloober Team’s forte. On their website, they write that they focus on “mature psychological horror games.” The Medium, or what is known of it so far, looks far from bottom-of-the-barrel content. It breathes new life into horror, especially with its use of dual-reality gameplay.
Founded in 2008, the Bloober Team has planned to take on a project of herculean proportions like The Medium since 2012. Because of The Medium’s ambitious nature, the Bloober Team had to wait for technology to catch up so that they can fulfill their vision.
Horror games are in the Bloober Team’s arena. Even with less than 10 releases to their name, every horror game from Bloober has been well-received. With an attractive track record like this, The Medium has thus become one of the most anticipated horror games of 2021 since its announcement.
Some even say that it gives to-be-released games such as Resident Evil: Village a run for its money.
Unlike other horror games for 2021, The Medium was originally slated for release in December 2020. Unfortunately, because of missed deadlines and tough competition like Cyberpunk 2077, Bloober Team moved The Medium’s release date to January 2021.
Fans and gamers can buy The Medium on January 28, 2021. It’s free for Xbox Game Pass holders and can be purchased on Steam.
Of course, anyone who has ever waited for a game’s release date knows that the waiting game is not over until it is over. Delays are still possible, but a date is better than having no date at all.
The Medium will be available on Microsoft Windows (PC) and the new Xbox Series X/S.
Unlike some other games, The Medium is specifically designed for next-generation consoles. Current Xbox consoles may not be able to handle the hardware required by The Medium. With patented dual-reality gameplay, it is difficult to make a game that is widespread and available to all hardware.
Platform compatibility has been a recurring problem for the Bloober Team during the production of The Medium. Again, the fact that they can patent their new technology means that they are at the frontier of dual-reality gameplay at present.
This also means that not all consoles have the system requirements The Medium needs. The frame rates and loading times of the real and spiritual worlds should be simultaneous. Not many current-generation consoles can provide the performance The Medium needs to deliver the perfect chilling experience.
Gamers with subscriptions to the Xbox Game Pass can access The Medium for free. Those who want to play the game on PC can preorder The Medium on Steam now as the game is just under $50. Other platforms you can buy the game from will be announced on their official website.
System Requirements for The Medium
To ensure The Medium performs optimally, you’ll have to meet the minimum system requirements. Patented dual-reality technology will not just work on any console or PC.
The Medium: Minimum Requirements for PC
At the most basic level, The Medium requires a 64-bit processor and Microsoft Windows operating system. Moreover, gamers must have an Intel® Core™ i5-6600 or AMD Ryzen™ 5 2500X processors.
You’ll also need at least 8 GB RAM. To maintain The Medium’s graphics, you need @1080p NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1060 6GB or AMD Radeon™ R9 390X. Version 11 of DirectX is also required.
55 GB of storage space is required to prevent the game from lagging and your hardware from overheating. To listen to The Medium’s crisp and beautiful soundtrack, DirectX-compatible sound cards and headphones are strongly recommended.
If you have the luxury to meet The Medium’s recommended requirements, you should definitely go for them. This game is currently the only one of its kind. You will this need a rig that is deserving to be a part of a new era in gaming.
Those looking to make the make out of The Medium will need a 64-bit processor and Microsoft 10 operating system. The ideal type of processors to run this game are either Intel® Core™ i5-9600 or AMD Ryzen™ 7 3700X.
As for memory, players are recommended to have 16 GB of RAM and 55 GB of available storage space. To make the most of out the game’s stunning visuals and graphics, @1080p NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1660 Ti / Radeon™ RX Vega 56, or @4K NVIDIA GeForce® RTX 2070 / Radeon™ RX 5700 XT are recommended. Version 12 of DirectX is best for the game.
To listen to The Medium’s soundtrack, headphones are recommended. As with the minimum system requirements, your sound card should also be DirectX-compatible. Lastly, you should turn your ray tracing settings on to make the most of the beautifully haunting visuals.
The Medium: Everything You Need to Know
What impressed people most about The Medium was its gameplay. Showcased during the Xbox Games in July 2020, The Medium’s patented gameplay technology was a seat-gripper in showing the possibility of seamlessly transitioning between two realities.
Not to be confused with dual-screen gameplay which is often reserved for multiplayer setups, dual-reality technology is in a league of its own. For The Medium, this technology enriches its puzzle-solving mechanics and graphics.
As sampled in the gameplay above, the spirit and real worlds will require you to always think on your feet. Going up to the second floor may be easy for the spirit world but impossible in the real world. You simply cannot use stairs that are not there after all. You will thus need to find a way to navigate two worlds, two maps, and two sets of equipment.
Implications of Dual-Reality Gameplay
Due to the main character Marianne’s ability to explore two different realms, her skillset will differ depending on which one she actively traverses. For example, she has access to Spirit Blast and a Spirit Shield when she is in the spirit world. As seen in the video above, she can also have an out-of-body experience when in the real world. She leaves her body stagnant in the real world as she enters the spiritual realm.
This is, of course, only half of what makes The Medium. The gameplay is also backed by solid storytelling to deliver a spine-chilling horror experience to you.
In The Medium, you play as a young medium named Marianne. The game is set in the late 90s in Krakow, Poland. Fun fact: Krakow is where Bloober Team is based!
As a medium, Marianne is susceptible to different hauntings and visions. Not being able to ignore them for longer, she finds herself in the middle of an abandoned hotel in Krakow. As you may already have guessed, Marianne is set to uncover the mysteries and tragedies that haunt the hotel to the present day.
To put the hotel’s story together, Marianne must use her skills in both the real world and spirit world. Her psychic abilities give her an edge when she faces a terrifying monster known as The Maw.
The world is complex, and The Medium plays with this concept a lot. From its dual-reality gameplay to its storylines, this game doubles down on the saying, “two sides of the same coin.”
Graphics and Soundtrack
Inspired by Polish painter Zdzisław Beksiński, The Medium is riddled with stunning and crisp visuals. Horrific as its art style may be, The Medium packs plenty of punch by just showcasing its landscapes.
The game looks ominous and dystopian, which is unsurprising given its abandoned hotel setting. But even though this setting plays into the hands of many horror tropes, The Medium keeps its art style unique by using surrealist techniques.
Optimized for Xbox Series X, you can rest assured knowing that The Medium does not waste the capabilities of next-generation consoles. In many ways, it even challenges you to keep up with its high-end graphics and gameplay.
As for The Medium’s soundtrack, the developers at Bloober Team knew better than to keep it one-dimensional. Since players will be exploring two worlds, The Medium has a dual soundtrack created by renowned game composers such as Akira Yamaoka and Arkadiusz Reikowski.
Yamaoka, specifically, has worked on the classic horror game Silent Hill. Horror genre junkies may enjoy this easter egg as they play a round of The Medium. In many ways, this musical similarity brings not only sentiment but also an extra layer of nail-biting horror.
Pre-orders of The Medium come bundled with the game’s artbook and soundtrack.
Dual-reality gameplay is the name of The Medium’s game. Traveling between two worlds, solving puzzles in one to fix the pieces in another—these are all what makeThe Medium interesting.
Each world brings out a different art style, items, and skills for Marianne. Interacting with different objects will also elicit different responses from each world, and they will affect each other in one way or another.
As mentioned above, Marianne can even have out-of-body experiences. During these moments, she will move through the spirit world while remaining inert in the physical one. This option is somewhat of a ticking time bomb for Marianne, as she can only do so much without harming her physical body.
Elements like these make The Medium especially exciting. Marianne’s spiritual powers are exhaustible, however, and she will need to recharge her energy by using energy spots.
While this isn’t confirmed at the time of this writing, The Medium is very likely designed to be good for multiple playthroughs. This game is distinct and detailed, and you can only expect gameplay with revelations to be found at every corner.
Of course, puzzles can really only be solved a set number of times, so many gamers fear that The Medium will get old fast. However, this game is more than just its gameplay. It also comprises its story, graphics, and music, which come together to make The Medium a breathtaking experience.
With its ray tracing at 4K, The Medium will be a treat for the eyes. The game almost mimics the style and story of many horror films. In fact, its trailer was even done in live-action.
The Medium is at the forefront of horror gaming. Even though classic horror franchises such as Resident Evil have games underway, The Medium brings enough authenticity to be in a league of its own.
Dual-reality gameplay was the goal for The Medium to begin with. The reason behind its 2021 release was that the technology simply could not handle the demands of dual-reality gameplay. While the technology still cannot fully satisfy their vision, it’s at a level where they can happily release the game to everyone.
The Medium can only be played on next-generation Xbox consoles and PC as of now. Those who have waited for the PS5 version of the game may have to wait longer. PS5 games are widely anticipated, but The Medium is the Xbox’s trophy to keep for now.
For every gamer, there is always the next best thing. Those who get to play The Medium will determine whether dual-reality gameplay is as cool and interesting as people say it is.
If it is not the case, then there is value in telling people it isn’t. Should it be the other way around, there is value in having one of the best games of the year. Either way, The Medium is disrupting airwaves in the industry. One does not need spiritual powers to know that the game is valuable.
Games like The Medium
Dead by Daylight
Dead by Daylight is a horror game with different gameplay mechanics compared to The Medium. To start, this is a multiplayer horror game. Both co-op and PvP (person vs person), Dead by Daylight is a party game for horror fans far and wide.
Here, players can decide to either play as a team or have one player be a savage Killer. By doing the latter, the game is given an entirely new dimension. Strategy and teamwork are put to the test with Dead by Daylight, as well as every player’s ability to not be too scared while playing.
Moreover, Dead by Daylight changes as the game progresses. Players are playing against a changing environment and random respawning patterns. Survivors will also face the game’s fear-inducing graphics, music, and ambiance while trying to stay away from the Killer. If this is not enough, the longer you play this game, the heavier its fog gets.
This game is a horror movie come to life. It features an ensemble cast and a set villain. The success of this horror game has even spawned different editions, the most notable of which is Dead by Daylight: Silent Hill Edition.
Bloober Team plans to be a horror game staple, churning out high-quality horror games as time goes on. One of its most notable additions to the horror game genre is Blair Witch.
Based on the famous horror film The Blair Witch Project, Blair Witch is set in 1996 Maryland. A young boy is missing and you will slowly uncover that there is more to this mystery than meets the eye. In a sudden turn of events, you find yourself in the middle of the woods, facing a dark unknown danger known as the Blair Witch.
This is an older psychological horror game from Bloober Team. Even so, it is a horrifying one, giving justice to its source material. It also has a common feature of horror games, which is decaying sanity. This is also used in newer psychological horror games such as Phasmophobia.
Layers of Fear: VR
Bloober Team is also behind the psychedelic horror game Layers of Fear VR. In this, the independent game development company takes players on a horrifying journey to a trippy Victorian mansion. Making things better (or worse), everything is in VR. Make sure you have the best VR headsets before you have a round of this game; you will not regret it.
In Layers of Fear VR, you are a tortured artist, someone who is in the same league as Van Gogh. Become the painter that is frustrated over finishing an artwork. Through your VR headset, you will know what goes inside this painter’s mind. From their visions, their deepest fears, and their hauntings, you will see it all unravel before your eyes.
Like Phasmophobia, Layers of Fear is unafraid to play with gamers’ levels of insanity. In this game’s case, insanity means ever-changing settings. The environment for Layers of Fear: VR is never set, which makes it deviate from The Medium’s gameplay.
However, Layers of Fear is story-driven like The Medium. The environment you are in reveals a lot about your character and your fears. Exploring a Victorian mansion will give you a deep dive into 19th-century art, music, culture, and secrets.
Observer: System Redux
Observer: System Redux is another horror title from Bloober Team. Like Layers of Fear, this game is immersive and complex. What makes this game different is its exploration of the future. In this game, players find themselves in the middle of 2084. The world has undergone a digital plague, a war, and has crumbled under a capitalist society. The richest people in the world have become its leaders, and any other survivor is simply a tool for corporate oppression.
Players assume the role of Daniel Lazarski, who is a cyberpunk investigator. He does not have any superpowers, but he does have the technology to hack into anyone’s frame of mind. This makes everyone vulnerable in your eyes. You will see their innermost truths: their feelings, thoughts, fears, and dreams.
No one is left unscathed by your technology. Even the dead can be exposed, and you will find yourself exposing them often. Through this, you will follow the trail to the answers to the world’s mysteries. However, players are always at the risk of losing their sanity. The Bloober Team has used this tactic in the Blair Witch game and Layers of Fear, so this is an unsurprising feature for Observer.
Gameplay for the Observer is simple: carry out tasks, uncover secrets, and do whatever it takes to get to the truth. As an Observer, everyone is under your microscope.
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is another anticipated horror game for 2021. It is a multiplayer co-op, and it also offers a Player vs Player (PvP) option.
Like Observer, the world in Back 4 Blood is struggling because of a pandemic. Unlike Observer, however, Back 4 Blood’s pandemic has created many zombies. Survivors must fight these off and face the Ridden. Other times, players become the Ridden themselves.
There are multiple ways you can play Back 4 Blood, which is why it is one of horror’s most awaited releases of 2021. Excited players may have to wait a bit longer, though, as this game is set to come out on June 3rd, 2021. The Medium comes out earlier, so horror genre fans will have content to sift through in 2021.
Resident Evil: Village
Last on this list is Resident Evil: Village. This is the eighth installment to the classic horror genre franchise from Capcom. It is also one of the most awaited horror games of 2021, if not the most.
Resident Evil: Village follows a long line of stories starting from Chris Redfield in the very first Resident Evil game in the ’90s. Now, you play as Ethan Winters, an average joe who went through literal hell and back with his wife Mia in Resident Evil 7.
Reeling from the horrific events that happened to him and his wife, they move and start anew. Unfortunately, tragedy and horror follow them wherever they go. In this game, the village is a living and breathing entity. It may be harder to escape the grasp of this one.
Face zombies, werewolves, witches, and more in Resident Evil: Village. Horror games like The Medium stand on the shoulders of horror franchises such as Resident Evil. This game, set to be released in 2021, will not disappoint.
Will The Medium Be Worth the Buy?
The Medium is at the forefront of independent horror gaming. Bloober Team brings patented dual-reality gameplay to this game for PC and next-generation Xbox consoles.
Never has horror given people such an intricate look at the boundaries that separate the physical and spiritual worlds. While The Medium uses many horror tropes to give people good scares, its inspired art style, music, and storyline make it a mysterious and interesting game.
The Medium has value, is replayable, and will be worth the buy. Not everyone can play this game given its requirements, so if you can: you are one of the luckier ones.