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Explore a Lush and Mysterious Ocean World in Giant Squid’s ABZÛ

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Explore a Lush and Mysterious Ocean World in Giant Squid’s ABZÛ

It’s been a year since we first revealed ABZÛ on PS4 at the PlayStation 2014 E3 Press Conference. Since then, the talented team at Giant Squid and I have been hard at work designing this unique and atmospheric adventure. We’ve got some new information to share about ABZÛ, and we are very excited to be giving players their first hands-on demo at the PlayStation E3 booth next week!

ABZÛ

ABZÛ roughly translates to “The Ocean of Wisdom” from old Sumerian. This ancient, mythic concept is central to the narrative of our game: a universal story told purely through imagery and sound. You play as a lone diver who descends deeper and deeper into the sea, searching for her true purpose. Encounters with majestic creatures await and forgotten secrets lie hidden in dense kelp forests, sparkling reefs, and the murky abyss.

Although the game is greatly inspired by our experiences scuba diving, there is no air gauge in ABZÛ. We want nothing to get in the way of delivering a powerful sense of awe when players discover the mysterious ocean environments that we have created – so we allow the diver to explore and linger in these underwater realms without limitation.

Developing a deep connection with the sea life you find is a core aspect of ABZÛ. The diver can reach out and touch fish, allowing her to school and ride with them. We have designed these interactions and their emergent consequences with the goal of creating respectful and meaningful ways to commune with creatures. All of the species featured in ABZÛ are based on real animals from around the world. We have created a dynamic ocean ecosystem which simulates tens of thousands of fish, procedurally schooling and darting through the water, reacting to each other and the diver. There is a real sense of magic when swimming gracefully with a school of giant trevally and catching a ride on the back of a playful manta ray, or the fin of a majestic blue whale.

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The concept of fluidity is central to Giant Squid’s approach to game design. It manifests in every element of the project, from the controls and animation to the highest level of game flow. When you play, it is immediately apparent that we allow the diver to pitch freely in the water. The ability to swim smoothly in complete loops gives a sense of weightlessness and freedom very unlike swimming control schemes in most other games. There is no game over state that forces the player to restart an area, as that would break the continuity of the story’s timeline. By focusing on fluidity throughout the design, we hope to create a completely immersive experience and a vivid world that players may lose themselves in.

Music in ABZÛ also plays a critical role in delivering emotion and narrative. Composed by our good friend Austin Wintory who I’ve worked with before on the game Journey, the score evolves with the player experience – rather than focusing just on the area the player is in. Our process is very collaborative: the art inspires the music and the music equally inspires the art in each step of development. This ensures a harmony of visuals and sound that gives the world of ABZÛ its unique atmosphere and identity.

We will be at E3 2015 showing ABZÛ at the PlayStation booth. If you’re around, be sure to come check it out or tune in to the PlayStation Live Cast on June 18th! I’ll be stopping by to talk more about ABZÛ!

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19 Comments

  • Really intrigued by this title, especially for the beautiful, Journey-like impressionist art-style. I think it’s an excellent choice to not have an oxygen meter, as most underwater levels in games feel so tense (even Ecco the dolphin kinda was). Looking forward to seeing more! :-)

    • BeardifulBobb

      It looks pretty good. Being a Sega kid, do you thinkr Greg has any love for Ecco the Dolphin?

    • PanTheMan16

      Don’t insult this developer by making “Journey” comparisons.

    • @PanTheMan16 Two former Journey developers – art director Matt Nava and composer Austin Wintory are creating this game. I think it’s easy to say, this game has some pretty close tie ins to Journey. And Journey was a fantastic game that any studio would be lucky to have their game compared to.

    • PanTheMan16

      Wrong. Journey is a terrible game that lacked vision. They started out with an interesting concept, but clearly ran out of good ideas and ended up with a very poorly executed game. I’m all about tgc. They are one of those studios that I have ultimate faith in and I purchase their games just because of the studio, but Journey was a huge dud. The reason it’s so well-regarded is it was hyped to the moon, and just like many people, you allowed yourself to be blinded by hype. If you really give it the thought you should, break it down and analyze it for what it is, you might understand that it’s tgc’s weakest game..

      Nothing wrong with the art of it, and the composer can hardly be credited/blamed for that disaster. With ABZÛ, Mr. Nava and Mr. Wintory will no doubt have much more pride, having their names attached to what is clearly going to be a far greater game/experience.

  • Man – these titles speak to me. I truly can’t wait to dive into this!

  • ABZU really has my interest, it looks beautiful. Any chance we’ll be seeing it this year?

  • BlueFrog007

    Looks like a great game to play with my 3-year-old. I’m always looking for non-violent games to play with him (I play, he watches) to introduce him to games, without turning him into a little savage. He LOVES the Octonauts, so I think he’ll love this game.

  • I’m looking forward to this. Reminds me of ThatGameCompany style of game I loved on the PS3. The fact that Giant Squid has former TGC devs makes this a promising title.

  • Lookks great but don’t ruin the game with tedious trophies!

  • Looks nice cant wait to try this out. I am hoping a demo would be released for PS4 but that is a long shot right? I always like to try games before I pick them up and sometimes I might have to wait it out and see what others say first before pulling the trigger.

  • Ind3structoman

    I’ve been keeping an eye on this since hearing about it last year at E3. I’m rather excited to play and witness the variety of marine life! Not that I’m particularly concerned about it, but perhaps you could incorporate a hard mode with an oxygen gauge for those seeking a greater challenge?

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  • I misread the title and thought it was an ocean game with a giant squid, rather than made by Giant Squid. I hope there’s a giant squid in it, but it looks great regardless.

  • I have been so excited for this game ever since I saw the E3 coverage last year! I was sad that it was left off the 2015 games list, but the more time you need to polish it the better. Looking forward to more info from this year’s E3!

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  • Hatchetforce

    These are only screens and already I am enthralled. I have taken a chance on a title with less info than I have in this article so it is easy for me to say Day One.

  • yowzagabowza

    Sounds like another dumb not-game that people will pretend is good. I cant wait to pass this up.

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