ABZU
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  • Title: ABZÛ
    Developer: Giant Squid
    Release date: August 2nd
    Platforms: PS4/PC [initially] via PSN/Steam
    Players: 1
    Genre: Action/Adventure/Exploration/Discovery

    Videos:

    E3 2016/Launch Trailer: https://youtu.be/P2G54w8H4oM

    E3 2014 Announce Trailer: http://youtu.be/403DsARZqoo

    PlayStation Access Gameplay: http://youtu.be/Y2wfd-y-Ub4

    Surprisingly, even with the game set to release soon, precious little is known about it. I'm attempting to compile a list of everything known about the game at the moment to give potential players a glimpse at what they can expect from this ambitious title.

    AB: means "water"
    ZÛ: means "to know"

    The title literally means "To know water" or "Ocean of knowledge/wisdom".

    • ABZÛ is the first game from Giant Squid, a new studio formed by Matthew Nava, formerly from thatgamecompany. He is best known for his work on the game Journey, which he served as the Art Director for the project, responsible for both the look and feel of the game as well as helping to shape the main narrative. He now fills the role of the Creative Director on ABZÛ. This new game will have a similar feel to Journey, but in an entirely new setting and with a new, exciting and emotionally driven narrative filled with many secrets to discover as you venture deep down to the very depths of the ocean.

    • In this game, you play as "The Diver", an enigmatic female character who is seeking the truth behind what happened to her civilization and even to find herself and her own purpose along the way. Similar to "The Traveler" in Journey, The Diver will make many discoveries throughout the course of her adventure. You will piece together clues and delve deeper into the many secrets and mysteries the ocean has to hide.

    • Austin Wintory is the composer. If you've ever played Journey, then you already know how amazingly talented this gentleman is. The score he is composing for ABZÛ is helping the developers to shape the game as they create it - side-by-side with him as he scores it. He is writing the music specifically for the game - be it subtle moments, or large scale, epic moments - either way, the soundtrack will perfectly accompany the on-screen events with impeccable timing and pairing. The score was recorded at the Air Studios [founded in London circa 1965 by Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his partner, John Burgess] in Lyndhurst, London and features an impressive seven harp ensemble, as well as a full choir; which is sure to make this a truly legendary soundtrack.

    • The game features hundreds of different species of marine life, all of which can be interacted with. The larger creatures can actually be ridden and controlled. During this bond, The Diver's flippers glow an iridescent blue, the reason for which is currently unknown. The game features a living ecosystem, replete with a predator/prey system and a food chain, where larger creatures will eat smaller creatures and even attack other large creatures. Tens-of-thousands of creatures, fish etc. can be displayed on-screen at a time, due to a procedural mathematical algorithm developed in-house. This has been demonstrated to awe-inducing effect by a shoal of fish forming a bait ball, with the player entering the center of it and even riding a shark into it while the shark feeds on the fish.

    • There will be prehistoric/extinct creatures in the game. Matt Nava has stated that he is an avid Paleontology junkie and is excited to include these types of entities in the game. He elaborates that players will encounter some "secret" creatures deep in the depths of the ocean in ABZÛ. He also commented to Emma Schaefer from EGM at the end of their interview, that "There are some crazy things that we’re not showing you."

    • You have full control over The Diver in ABZÛ. You can maneuver in 360° and in full 3-dimensions. You can swim, paddle, boost, launch out of the water, flip, tumble, loop in all directions and more.

    • When you boost, the flippers on The Diver's wet-suit retract to streamline the silhouette of her body, allowing for faster travel through the water. Interacting with the numerous marine creatures refills your boost function, but something similar to Journey's scarf mechanic has yet to be discussed and is unconfirmed as of yet. [The flippers are speculated to grow as certain requirements are met, much like how the glyphs in Journey extended your scarf.]

    • There are seashells that can be acquired. In one of the preview videos, the dev playing the game passed over and collected a seashell icon that when touched, shimmered, circled around and then went into The Diver. At the moment, it is unclear as to what these seashells actually do. During an interview at E3 2015, Matt Nava mentioned that there were to be no collectibles. If this feature has changed, it hasn't been discussed.

    • There is no game over screen in ABZÛ - there is no dying. Much like it's predecessor Journey, this game is meant to completely immerse you in the very experience of it - encouraging the player to palpably feel the world around them; actively absorbing the serenity and uncertainty created by the atmosphere - as well as experiencing the pure, exhilarating joy of discovery. It is still very much a game, yet you will be constantly visually and aurally encouraged to lose yourself in the adventure, while being modestly asked to emotionally invest yourself in it equally as much as you will be inputting commands during gameplay.

    • There will be moments of tension and fear for the player. As you venture deeper into the abyss, your journey to the very bottom of the sea will have it's twists and turns. Dangers await the player and even though you cannot die, you will be tested and there are some frightening moments induced by both the dark, foreboding surroundings - as well as by what lurks down in the depths waiting for you.

    • There are meditation statues littered around the environments. These are shark statues that allow you to enter a "meditation mode", which when initiated, turns the game into a virtual aquarium. You can cycle between the many different denizens of the deep and it will even display the type of creature it is as you watch it live it's life under the waves. With hundreds of different types of creatures in this game [most of them are actual species of fish, and other assorted marine life], there will always be something to see, do and admire in ABZÛ.

    • There are several different types of sharks in ABZÛ. Among them, there is a particular Great White Shark that has a special relationship with The Diver in the game. What this bond actually is remains to be seen, but Matt Nava is quick to point out that sharks have a bad reputation in both real life as well as in the entertainment medium. The goal here, is to show that sharks aren't always the menacing, evil creatures we think they are and to show them in a new light.

    • During the course of the adventure, small robotic drones can be repaired by The Diver and tasked with various purposes. In the brief demos shown so far, we have seen the drones seek out other drones, dig up items buried in the sand and even destroy a portion of a coral reef blocking the way forward. There are many more uses to be sure - but what stands out is a scene early on where that one, particular Great White Shark rises from the depths and destroys one of the drones. It is unclear at the moment as to why, but obviously the shark doesn't like these things for whatever reason.

    • ABZÛ is being developed using Unreal Engine 4. By utilizing the very latest in cutting-edge technology, Giant Squid is able to create stunning, vibrant visuals correlated by dark, deep blues and shadows. As you descend into the void, the light fades from the surface of the ocean and transitions to a more menacing, darker tone. The game strives for a blend of reality with the surreal - giving the game an illustrated style that adds to the immersion and wonderment.

    • Everything is dynamic in ABZÛ. This is evidenced not just by the many schools of fish, but also demonstrated by Sea anemones, Tube Worms, Starfish and Kelp forests [which feature physics on each individual leaf and stalk]. The Diver can interact with and is reacted to, by most everything she sees around her.

    • There is no air gauge in ABZÛ. Matt Nava and Brian Balamut [Lead Engineer on ABZÛ] are licensed, avid scuba divers and one of the goals for this game is to give you the joys that come with the experience of scuba diving - without having to worry about lots of gamey elements like air gauges, health, etc. Matt Nava goes on to say that once you're under the waves, all you see is beauty and serenity around you and that is the essence of what they are trying to evoke with ABZÛ.

  • cockbeard
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    Ecco
    "I spent years thinking Yorke was legit Downs-ish disabled and could only achieve lucidity through song" - Mr B
  • Dark Soldier
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    YES I'm in
  • dynamiteReady
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    Yeah. This looks sick.

    Better than Journey.
    "I didn't get it. BUUUUUUUUUUUT, you fucking do your thing." - Roujin
    Ninty Code: SW-7904-0771-0996
  • This has been on my list for a while - can't wait.
  • Looking forward to hopefully another cracking Wintory soundtrack.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Game looks great, the commentary on the last video was inane unfortunately
  • But does this have actual gameplay? Looks like it'll probably shit, there's no story, theres not even any words
  • Dark Soldier
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    I heard its actually a black screen when you play it and it emails you story updates as you go. NOT A GAMES
  • Just emails you 'ABZU'. Thanks for your word, game. Game is broken
  • Looks pretty.
    Come with g if you want to live...
  • Paul the sparky
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    Can I recommend a thread title change to just Abzû please? Or even ABZÛ if you must.

    Looks gorgeous, but the Journey link doesn't do anything for me, I might wait for a PS+ version. At the very least I want to know that there's some game in there and how long the average play through is.

  • Can I recommend a thread title change to just Abzû please? Or even ABZÛ if you must.

    Looks gorgeous, but the Journey link doesn't do anything for me, I might wait for a PS+ version. At the very least I want to know that there's some game in there and how long the average play through is.

    Done
  • Paul the sparky
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    Cheers Davie, now about that full stop...
  • Cheers Davie, now about that full stop...

    Damn phone adds them automatically.
    'fixed'
  • Does anyone else get a mental image of Abu Hamza (the boss eyed Muslim Cleric with hooks for hands who incited racial hatred) every time they read the name?

    Anyone....? Just me...? ...Guys?
  • cockbeard
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    ABZU (the underwater Foreigner) ?

    That's where we voted to put them
    "I spent years thinking Yorke was legit Downs-ish disabled and could only achieve lucidity through song" - Mr B
  • Thread title seems a bit boring now. Can you add in some sort of comparison to another game in brackets please?
  • danclarke wrote:
    Does anyone else get a mental image of Abu Hamza (the boss eyed Muslim Cleric with hooks for hands who incited racial hatred) every time they read the name? Anyone....? Just me...? ...Guys?

    Abzulutely not
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • It's a Japanese game about the abdominals.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Andy
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    digi wrote:
    AB: means "water"
    ZÛ: means "to know"
    The title literally means "To know water" or "Ocean of knowledge/wisdom".

    No criticism of you, Davi, but it looks like Giant Squid have unnecessarily massaged the meaning.

    Anyhoo, depending on the price, I'm looking forward to this.
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