Taking the Subnautica formula to the next level
Launched back in 2014, Subnautica continues to pull in thousands of players per month on Steam alone. The underwater survival game is arguably a cult classic, with communities dedicated to modding the game to keep it fresh and engaging for years to come.
Underwater survival games, especially revolving around deep-sea exploration, are a gold mine for developers if they can get it right since the market is ‘dry’ of underwater survival games, apart from Subnautica.
Now more than ever, the deep sea and submarines are in the back of society’s minds after the recent Titan submarine disaster. Fortunately, those wanting to simulate the fascinating intensity and wonder of deep-sea exploration with video games will no longer need to resort to only Subnautica.
Paris-based, Indie development team Parallel Studio acquired support from publishers Quantic Dream, the team known for releasing outstanding narrative-driven games such as Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain, and Beyond: Two Souls.
The combination of these teams and their ethos has pulled together the development of a deep-sea survival game tied with a captivating narrative—creating Under The Waves—a survival game set to release on PC in 2023.
Under The Waves Reveal Trailer
Set in the 1970s, technology, music, art, and more will be themed around a 70s aesthetic. You play the character Stan, who has been facing grief and struggling to look past haunting memories. The deep sea is Stan’s escapism, to get away from it all in his trusty submarine that likely won’t be made out of carbon fiber—until modders introduce it.
You find yourself on a submarine mission in the North Sea, off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland, an area known for oil rigs and pollution. The story will heavily revolve around the damage to ecology occurring in the area due to the pollution to create a sense of sentiment for ecology and passing of knowledge by including factoids revolving around what you find, such as plastics at the bottom of the sea that you can collect.
What to expect in this deep-sea world of wonders are coral reefs, cave systems, shipwrecks, and more. Get up close to uncover their mysteries and collect items for backstory pieces, salvageable waste, collectibles, and craft equipment.
An abundance of sea life will be around you to observe, interact with or swim away from to survive—the team has even managed to implement giant whale species with one-to-one details to their original counterparts.
The team has prioritized high-quality graphics to take full advantage of high-end hardware, showcasing some of the greatest examples of geomatic shadows and lighting seen in an underwater survival game to date—capturing the beauty of the passage of light through the dense sea that begins to fizzle out the lower you descend.
Two distinct levels of gameplay can be characterized by the upper sea level, where you can scuba dive, and the lower sea level, where you require submarine travel. There will be a base of operations within the sea where you keep storage, craft items, rest, etc.
The scale of crafting and customization has not been revealed yet but will be a crucial feature to implement for the long-term playability that Subnautica managed to achieve.
Capturing the essence of deep-sea exploration
With a powerful narrative revolving around internal struggle and ecological harm, combined with deeply immersive gameplay, comes an ambient soundtrack to evoke the powerful feelings of deep sea exploration—from isolation to intensity and awe.
With submarines and deep-sea exploration garnering lots of attention from those intrigued by the field after the recent Titan disaster, Under The Waves has a perfect opportunity to delve deep into the engineering and technological side of submarines, experimenting with water pressure, oxygen, and even implosions.
Realism adds to the survival element of the game because the realistic nature of deep-sea exploration in a submersible provides lots of dangers that fit perfectly for a survival game where preparation, planning, and patience are key to the mission’s success.
Parallel Studio aims to release Under The Waves on August 29th, 2023, for the PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.