Creative Director Matt Nava, former Art Director behind such acclaimed titles as thatgamecompany’s Flower (2009) and Journey (2012), along with his development studio Giant Squid aim to craft a gaming experience that challenges convention and communicates on an artistic level with their upcoming title ABZÛ. Aimed to launch for PC and PS4 in 2016, this exploration-adventure will submerge players in a highly stylized yet elegant ocean as a lone scuba diver, kept company only by surrounding sea life, the occasional drone, and miles of ocean.
Players are tasked to discover the narrative within ABZÛ by exploring their surroundings as well as interacting with sea life; riding a dolphin into a school of fish may or following a sea turtle may lead you formerly hidden area. High maneuverability and a nonexistent air gauge invite divers to explore in this gaming-oriented adventure. While much has yet to be stated regarding the game’s plot or objectives, developers explain that players will learn about the protagonist’s history throughout the course of the game.
Developers studied the behaviors of various sea life to help inhabit their world with a magnificent, realistic nature. Schools of fish may contain several thousands of fish and will exhibit dynamic behaviors as they react to players. In an early gameplay demo, Nava shows off a kelp forest inhabited by over 10,000 fish and several manta rays.
ABZÛ is visually brilliant, ambient yet dynamic, and full of charm. Giant Squid’s desire to craft a unique, human experience is demonstrated by ABZÛ’s visual delightfulness, freedom to explore, and the lack of context provided by developers thus far: Why exactly are we exploring? What are we searching for? If Nava’s previous works can speak to the potential of ABZÛ, expect the journey to justify the undertaking.