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ABZÛ |OT| A Journey into an ocean of wisdom

May 30, 2014
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Title: ABZÛ
Developer: Giant Squid
Publisher: 505 Games
Release date: August 2nd, 2016
Platforms: PS4/PC [initially]
Price: $19.99
Players: 1
Genre: Action/Adventure/Exploration/Discovery
ESRB Rating: E - EVERYONE [Mild Fantasy Violence]
Creative Director: Matt Nava
Composer: Austin Wintory

Trophies [SLIGHT SPOILERS]

Order ABZÛ

PlayStation Store page
Steam page

Soundtrack

ABZÛ Soundtrack [Digital]

Reviews

Reviews Thread

Videos

ABZÛ Music Trailer
ABZÛ Inspiration Trailer
E3 2016/Launch Trailer
E3 2014 Announce Trailer
PlayStation Access Gameplay
ABZÛ E3 2016 LiveCast

Screens










Interviews

Neogaf Exclusive Matt Nava Interview *NEW*
Neogaf Exclusive Austin Wintory Interview *NEW*
Neogaf Exclusive Spencer Nilsen Interview *NEW*

Austin Wintory Interview: Reviewer Bits #7
PlayStation E3 2015 - ABZÛ Live Coverage | PS4
ABZÛ Developer Interview
Interview with Matt Nava, creator of ABZÛ

Promotions

PlayStation Play 2016

Forward *Getting your feet wet*

Welcome to the ABZÛ Neogaf OT! I hope you enjoy your time in here and I equally hope you like the OT! I have some exclusive interviews with Matt Nava, Austin Wintory and Spencer Nilsen above and the game's description and features down below. To further immerse yourself in the atmosphere of ABZÛ, I highly recommend clicking this link to Austin Wintory's Bandcamp site and let the soundtrack play in another tab while you peruse this thread. It's like an audio narrative and it will assist in getting you submerged into the world of ABZÛ. This thread is best viewed using the "Dark" theme with YouTube embedded.

Ready? Lets dive in...



What is ABZÛ?

"Discover a lush hidden world as you descend into the heart of the ocean, where ancient secrets lie forgotten and encounters with majestic creatures await.

ABZÛ is an epic descent into the depths of the sea, where players will explore beautifully rendered ocean environments with fluid swimming controls. The experience draws inspiration from the deep innate narrative that we all carry within our subconscious: the story of ABZÛ is a universal myth that resonates across cultures. The name references a concept from the oldest mythologies; it is the combination of the two ancient words AB, meaning ocean, and ZÛ, meaning to know. ABZÛ is the ocean of wisdom."
-ABZÛ Official Site

From ancient Sumerian:

AB: means "water"
: 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 Matt 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. 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 as-used to streamline the silhouette of her body, allowing for faster travel through the water. It's like the scarf in Journey; the flippers will dissipate as you use the boost, much like how the symbols dissipate on the scarf as you jump and float in Journey. However, interacting with the numerous marine creatures refills your boost function.

• There are seashells that can collected. Finding them all will unlock something very special and they are hidden in very clever and creative places some of the time!

• 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 [All 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. 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. The drones can seek out other drones, provide additional light in dark areas and even destroy naturally occuring impediments blocking your way forward.

• 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 the player sees around them.

• 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.



*I'd like to give a very special thanks to Matt Nava, Austin Wintory and Erik Heiberg for their valuable assistance in helping to make this an amazing OT. Also everyone at Giant Squid for making such a beautiful game and a wonderful experience for us and More_Badass for helping with the Neogaf side of things. Lastly, I would like to thank all of you for helping to support this title.

Enjoy ABZÛ!*
 
May 30, 2014
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Neogaf Exclusive Matt Nava Interview

Matt Nava Interview said:
Hi Matt! It is an honor and a privilege to have this chance to talk with you about ABZÛ. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that we are all excited to "dive" into your latest epic!

1). I know your love of scuba diving was a major influence in creating ABZÛ; what else inspired you to create the game? Also, how did you come up with the design for the main character?

Inspiration is always a difficult thing to talk about because it so often comes from everywhere. However, I can say that I love natural history, and the relationship between animals in ecosystems. I also love ancient art and architecture from all over the world, and how artists throughout history have communicated powerful stories through symbolism and visual metaphor. I've been fortunate enough to travel to many places in the world, and simply the idea of experiencing new and surreal places was something that we wanted to bring to the ABZÛ.

I do love scuba diving, and there was one experience in particular that looking back was a big inspiration for ABZÛ. In high school, I dove in the kelp forests at Ana Capa Island and had an encounter with a large sea lion about 40 feet down. I could hear it barking underwater (only sea lions can bark underwater, seals cannot due to the way their nostrils work). It came right up to me, it was very playful and put its nose right on my mask. It was a very joyous creature and I wasn’t scared at all, despite it being lightning fast and maybe 7 feet long. Exploring a fantastic, alien world and forming a connection there was a great inspiration for what we wanted the player to experience in ABZÛ.


2). Are there any specific movies and documentaries that you and your team watched for inspiration? How about music?

We watched many of the BBC's nature documentaries for reference, The Blue Planet in particular is extremely good. I personally binge watch everything Sir David Attenborough creates. He's a great hero and a truly inspirational figure. We were also deeply inspired by Dr. Sylvia Earle, a strong ocean advocate, and her film Mission Blue. Attenborough and Earle are both in the special thanks of ABZÛ, along with Jacques Cousteau, of course!

3). I remember reading that you and your team played just about every ocean/undersea game ever made doing research for ABZÛ - do you have any particular favorites?

We have certainly played a LOT of underwater games, as well as water levels from otherwise generally terrestrial games. Some stand outs for us were the Endless Ocean games (the fish in those games are very simple, but they have SO many kinds), swimming in Mario 64, and the very obscure PS3 game Aquenauts Holiday. Probably the most interesting for us was the dreamcast game Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, which was a fully 3D swimming game that attempted to solve a lot of similar

challenges with controls, camera, and design that we faced with ABZÛ. We ended up taking a very different approach to presenting the underwater setting than these games did, but we learned a lot by playing them.


4). Will there be Megalodons and other huge, monstrous beasts way down in the depths?

The creatures in ABZÛ are all based on real creatures from around the world, and range in size from tiny to ridiculously large. There are also many secret creatures to discover. I will say that you may find some creatures that are now long extinct…

5). In terms of game length and replayability, what can you tell us regarding ABZÛ?

ABZÛ is a game that allows you to linger in its environments, so playtimes are quite variable. However, you will likely be able to complete the game in a night; first playthroughs are generally 2.5 to 4 hours. Repeat playthroughs will probably be necessary to find all the secrets and collectables, and there are some very satisfying rewards for completionists.

6). Were there any cut or unused ideas that might find their way into an extended Special/Collector's Edition of ABZÛ? What about a physical version in the near future?

A collectors edition of the game with extra features is something we would like to do at some point, and we are still thinking about what the best bonus content to share would be. The game evolved quite a bit over the course of its development; the art style and gameplay was not completely known at the beginning. I think it would be very interesting for players to see several older versions of the game in sequence, to get a sense for how our approach to designing it changed and how the game took shape. I hope that it’s something we can do!

7). Are you planning on making an art book for ABZÛ? The one you made for Journey was phenomenal - I really liked the 3D models!

Thank you! An art book would be great to do. It's quite an undertaking to create one and we don't have concrete plans to do one as of yet. However, we have tons of drawings, prototypes, early models, and other work that would be great for a book. What I really liked about doing the Art of Journey was that I was able to give fans a glimpse into the process of making a game with a small team, which I think is really foreign and not well understood to many people. The three years we spent developing ABZÛ was a very interesting time, and it would be awesome to share in the form of a book. It's another project I hope we can do!

8). Will there be a Photomode?

Photomode is something that the team and I have discussed many times. We actually built a very full-featured debug camera for development that could, if we decide to do it, become the basis of a photomode... however, I can't give a hard answer right now! Obviously it's a matter of balancing our time and rescources as we begin work on our next game project, but photomode for ABZÛ is definitely an idea that we like!

9). What about collectibles? I've noticed the seashell pick-up and wondered if it was a collectible or a power-up?

Good eye! The seashells are collectables that definitely lead to a very cool secret for those who find them all.

10). As far as secrets and unlockables are concerned, are there any and will there be some nods/homages to Journey and your other past titles in the game?

The answer is yes! The environments in ABZÛ are packed with secrets. I won’t mention their specifics here, but I do think that they will be fun and rewarding to find. I’m looking forward to people’s reactions when they discover them!

Thank you so much for your time! We are all eagerly anticipating ABZÛ!

Thank you! I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Neogaf Exclusive Austin Wintory Interview

Austin Wintory Interview said:
Hello Austin! It is an honor and a privilege to have this chance to talk with you about your incredible score to ABZÛ.

1). Compared to Journey's soundtrack, did you compose more music for ABZÛ? Do you have a favorite track?

It's probably about the same, when all is said and done. It's very difficult to calculate the actual length of either score, because the in-game music is extremely variable in its length. In both cases (and on every single other game I've done) the soundtrack album is not a reflection of how much music I wrote. It's *always* a compression, both in terms of just sheer runtime and also in terms of making linear that which was originally non-linear. Games like JOURNEY and ABZU are very adaptive in nature so making the music function as an album is a really hard process that takes a lot of time once the game is technically "done."

And no, no favorite track / cue / section, etc. That's like asking who your favorite kid is :)


2). Did you watch any undersea movies or documentaries to get inspiration for your ABZÛ score? Did you play any undersea games?

No ABZU itself was overwhelmingly inspirational. No additional outside inspiration needed, plus I actually like for a score to derive from its game as directly as possible. Let the two grow together. That said, I'm (like all composers) a partial product of my various heroes, so I have general influences. But I wouldn't peg any one particular inspiration. I'll say that if JOURNEY's music was very solemn and focused on the solitude and almost mystical / spiritual aspects of that world, ABZU's is more focused on the rich, life-filled aspects, but also the mysterious aspects. The score has a few main ingredients in that sense, but I would say this sort of impressionist quality that's meant to be filled with energetic life was the primary target.

3). How did the collaboration work between you and Giant Squid? Did they just give you a general idea of what to compose, or did they work in tandem with you to make it fit scene-by-scene from the very start?

It was very similar in workflow to thatgamecompany; music and gameplay were developed simultaneously for the whole 3 years. There are many moments in the game that I worked slavishly to fit the score tightly to what they were doing, and there are also many moments where the gameplay was built around the music (which, thus, I had to write first). Back and forth and back and forth! It's a deeply reiterative and explorational process that I absolutely love.

4). In terms of composing, who are your favorite composers and are there any specific works by them which you admire?

In terms of composing? What what other measure would I admire composers??? :) [EDIT: LOL!]

In any case though, amongst folks working primarily in games I would cite Jessica Curry, Darren Korb, Jason Graves, Pete McConnell, Sarah Schachner Grant Kirkhope, Chipzel, and Danny Baranowski. All of those are friends of mine and have really strong voices in the work. They run the gamut from huge orchestral work to chiptunes and most everything in between.

In the world of film the two composers I admire most these days are Alexandre Desplat and John Powell, though there are a handful of others I love. Daniel Pemberton really impressed me with MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. last year and I'm excited to see what he does with the new Guy Ritche KING ARTHUR film they just announced yesterday.

In the concert world I absolutely adore the music from Dan Visconti and Chris Cerrone, and also that of a dear friend of mine Jeremy Howard Beck.

That's off the cuff my answer, though I could keep going rather endlessly.


5). Will there be a soundtrack CD/digital release for ABZÛ? Any chance of a double-disc complete set [featuring all of the music from the game including unused tracks, etc.]?

Definitely digital release (Bandcamp, iTunes, etc) and almost definitely CD. Working on vinyl.

I'm actually not a huge fan of the exhaustive double-disc / unused material editions of score albums because I work really hard to make it a linear experience. I have to completely gut and re-edit all the music to make it function in tracks because, remember, I'm not writing "tracks" when scoring a game. We call them "cues" and the definition for that runs a wide gamut. Sometimes a cue is 3 seconds long and is simply a short stinger that plays subtly over a very specific action (a good example is in JOURNEY, when you are in the large, red temple level (which culminates in the final cutscene / "Final Confluence"), every time you raise the "water" (or energy field or whatever you want to call it) and then pass through it, a short little trill in the strings plays.

On the flipside, sometimes a cue might be several minutes long, but have all these branches or layers (or both) which allow it to change direction / mood / intensity, etc based on player action. Figuring out how to make all that work cohesively as an album is extremely hard, but once I've done it, I never feel like offering some playlist of all the other possibilities. I don't think that's as compelling of a listen.

Another good example was my soundtrack to ASSASSIN'S CREED SYNDICATE. I wrote well over 3 hours of music and I boiled it down to about 87 minutes' worth on the soundtrack album. That means that over 50% of what I wrote is not released, but honestly I think it's better that way.


6). Over the course of your career thus far, what piece of music are you the most proud of?

I honestly don't have a good answer to this. I try to make everything feel like something I've stretched and grown as a result of writing. So it's hard to pin a 'most proud' label on anything because if I grew, then I consider it acceptable. More often it'd be more like "what piece are you least dissatisfied" with honestly, I'm constantly wishing I could improve everything.

7). Does being Grammy nominated change the types of projects that you are offered? [You were robbed, by the way ;) ]

Who knows! It's impossible to guess what my career would have looked like otherwise, in some alternate universe, and so I can't tell if the offers I've gotten are any different. I once had someone ask me if they thought it hurt my opportunities, because some folks might not be reaching out because they assume I'm 'too expensive' now. And similarly thought "well, who knows!" I'm not aware of that which never happened!

I can tell you though that not a single person has offered me a job and said "I'm making this offer because you were nominated for a Grammy." I'd like to think it doesn't really matter to them, because it definitely doesn't matter to me.


8). Is there a specific moment in ABZÛ that you are particularly proud of? What about in Journey?

I defer back to that "favorite child" comment above. I just hope it's all working decently enough that the game is ruined! The closest I can answer is the sometimes the developer creates a moment I really fall in love with, and then I think "the music somehow seemed to come together pretty decently for that moment!" So ultimately my happiness is not really pride, but admiration of the game itself combined with a lack of unhappiness at my own work. There are moments like in ABZU but I want to stay spoiler free. In JOURNEY I'd say the very gradual manner by which the music disappears on the mountain in the final storm was something I worked really hard on and then loved where the game ended up. There were SO MANY different iterations there. At one point the big serpents returned and just merciless beat the shit out of you there and it was such a different feeling than what's there now (which feels more like surrendering to the elements). As the game took shape so did the music and it seemed to land in a balance I think works well. But above all the gameplay there is just perfect because it's exhausting without being annoyingly long-winded.

9). When did you discover your love of music? What made you decide to be a composer?

The answer to both is the same: at age 10 I discovered the film scores of Jerry Goldsmith and it pretty immediately transformed me. PATTON, A PATCH OF BLUE, BOYS FROM BRAZIL, STAR TREK, PLANET OF THE APES ... these blew my mind and I knew from then I wanted to compose. Being that I was also an avid gamer, the idea of game scoring was also extremely high on my list, and I already had heroes in the form of Peter McConnell and others.

10). What would be your dream project?

It's hard to say. Basically my dream is something which challenges the conventions in games. Something which feels like "wow I've never played that before!" So as a result, my dream is something I can't imagine right now, have never heard of, and could never predict ahead of time.

Thank you so much for your time! It was an honor getting this chance to ask you about your work and your score to ABZÛ!

Neogaf Exclusive Spencer Nilsen Interview

Spencer Nilsen Interview said:
1). Tell us a little about yourself. What got you into creating music?

I grew up at an exciting time in the San Francisco Bay Area when things were really happening musically and culturally. There were lots of original, interesting artists and bands, from Santana and Journey to The Grateful Dead and Metallica. Each was etching their own collective longing, angst or heartache into fresh sounds. As a kid who’d been playing piano and writing music since I was 5 or six, I eventually got into electronic keyboards by demonstrating new synthesizer technology to these Bay Area artists at a music store in San Francisco. I was still only about 13 or 14 years old but it immediately led to studio gigs and songwriting opportunities.

My musical maturity and reach grew steadily through high school and into college, where I honed my production and composition skills while also studying film, electronic music and popular media. I scored a number of fellow students’ projects, from animations to dance performances, and even some local PBS shows that helped pay the rent...or fix or buy equipment, of course.

While in school I also began booking and promoting concerts and live events in a variety of campus venues, and got a chance to work with some great as of yet unknown artists like The Ramones, The Clash, and Pat Metheny. After college I worked with my friend and mentor, concert promoter/artist manager, Bill Silva where I got to help take things to a whole new level with worldwide artists like Tom Petty, U2, INXS, The Who, Police and Paul McCartney.

In my early twenties, I signed a record deal with the American Gramaphone label - home to Mannheim Steamroller and others - on which I released my debut solo album, Architects of Change. Then in the early nineties SEGA called and everything changed...


2). For your Ecco The Dolphin scores, what did you use for inspiration?

Well, Ecco the Dolphin was an incredible project from the word ‘go’! I met with the amazing producer and creative genius, Ed Annunziata who told me his idea for the game and it blew my mind. I had only been at Sega for a short time when I first met Ed, but I knew he was somebody I wanted to work with, only to find out later that we have a lot of common interests and values. He had also been a peer mentor to me when I first arrived at Sega. He kind of took me under his wing and showed me the ropes of the game industry.

The first guidelines that Ed laid down for the Ecco score was that he didn’t want instruments to be easily identifiable. In other words, this was an entirely new alien world unlike anywhere else on earth, and the music should reflect the mystery and intrigue that it inspires. So my team and I spent weeks just programming and sampling the instruments with which we’d compose, arrange, orchestrate and perform the music. Incredible artists like Dave Young, Brad Kaiser, Jennifer Hruska and Mitch Manker sculpted a fantastic array of textures and instrument for me to write with, and the music just started coming to life!

I’ve always been fascinated with the ocean’s amazing creatures, especially dolphins and whales, so I didn’t need much to get in-synch and excited about the project right away. I’ve also worked a lot with synthesizers, writing electronic, ambient/atmospheric music and creating sonic textures and spaces for films and records. It was a dream project for me and, thankfully, Ed gave me the budget, guidance and freedom to work with some amazing people to bring it all together and make it something timeless and fairly unique for its day.


3). What do you think of the ABZÛ soundtrack? Did you feel the main theme captured the undersea atmosphere?

From the little bit I’ve seen and heard of the game, it looks and sounds beautiful, but all art, especially music, is so painfully subjective and personal. I think the music has compositional elements and sonic timbres that reflect and enhance the “aquatic” nature of the environment and it does a nice job of putting players in that space. I’ve only heard three tracks but it seems to me that the choir is one of the main elements adding the element of buoyancy and mystery! But this is clearly a much more traditional orchestral score than what we did for Ecco with electronic and organic textures, actual whale and dolphin vocal recordings, synthesizers, electric guitars, wild drums and percussion instruments, wind controllers triggering samples and synths.... A much different approach to the composing, producing and recording of the score - Not better or worse...just different. :)

4). Regarding your Ecco The Dolphin soundtracks, is there a specific track that you are the most proud of?

Sorry, I can’t pick a favorite child! :)

5). Would you ever consider scoring another Ecco The Dolphin game in the future?

Absolutely, but ONLY if Ed A. was involved!

6). What are some of your favorite games?

I have to admit that I’m not much of a game “player” anymore - I leave that to the younger generations. But I love writing music for games and though I’m working on a wide range of other projects right now, I certainly hope to do more game scores in the near future. So, if any of you game producers out there would like to chat about a killer score for your next amazing adventure, find me on FB. I admire everything about the people and effort that goes into creating something as massive as a video game, and it’s a thrill and a privilege to create something from nothing...together.

7). Who are your favorite composers and who do you derive inspiration from?

I love Bear McCreary’s work and he’s one of the coolest and most genuine people I’ve known in this crazy industry. I had the serendipitous luck to meet him a few years ago while visiting my friend, Leslie Ann Jones at Skywalker Ranch’s scoring stage. It turned out that he and his equally talented brother, Brendan were fans of my early game music, particularly Sonic CD and Batman Returns. We’ve become friends over the last few years and I’m constantly amazed by his range of tones, emotions and styles, not to mention his sheer stamina! There are so many people I admire and who inspire me that I couldn’t possibly list one without all the rest!

8). How did you go about scoring the Ecco The Dolphin games? Was it difficult to blend the undersea elements with the music?

As I mentioned earlier, the score was created from a huge palette of various textures, instruments, and sounds that we blended and layered to achieve an otherworldly score. But we also had the fortune to mix the score using Q-Sound, which was an elegant new technology that expanded the sonic field to well beyond 180-degrees (basically stereo) to closer to 300-degree, something approaching today's surround sound. But you could hear our effect on any pair of stereo speakers, so it made a huge difference sonically, enveloping the player in the folds of the sea. You could essentially “paint” the mixes in real-time, using a ridiculously heavy, military grade joystick and the highest quality analog-to-digital converters.

9). What do you think would make the perfect undersea game?

Ecco, of course. :)

10). What do you think of the current era of gaming? Where do you see it going musically?

Again, I’m not an expert on ANYTHING regarding games today, so my opinion is less than worthless. But philosophically, I hope things move away from hyper-real, first-person shooters with over-the-top, bombastic musical scores, and move back toward harmless but really fun games that are unique and quirky. The world today is a violent and intense enough place without our youth being exposed to “entertainment” that further promotes a culture of fear and brutality. I’m also worried that younger generations are losing their connection to the natural world, where so much positive inspiration, imagination and innovation is born. It would be perfectly fine with me if games went back to being just one choice among a dozen different activities that kids did. But only after they played outside all day long...until the street lights came on.

Thank you so much Spencer!

Thank you, Matthew.
:)
 

purseowner

Member
May 31, 2015
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Great writeup. Insanely hyped for this. Serves as a great starter dish a week before No Man's Sky too.
 

Pie and Beans

Look for me on the local news, I'll be the guy arrested for trying to burn down a Nintendo exec's house.
Apr 23, 2010
13,063
2
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You should update that post with screenshots and trailers as soon as possible. Wall of text isn't exactly how I'd sell this game to people?
 

farisr

Member
Nov 5, 2011
10,188
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HORRORSHØW;210119826 said:
So soon. When does no mans sky come out?
August 9th

Damn I just realized I basically have a game I'm interested in, releasing every week (all on Tuesdays) in August:

August 2nd - Abzu
August 9th - No Man's Sky
August 16th - Bound
August 23rd - Deus Ex Mankind Divided
August 30th - Attack On Titan
 
So what's the over-under of running into a Megalodon?

August 9th

Damn I just realized I basically have a game I'm interested in, releasing every week (all on Tuesdays) in August:

August 2nd - Abzu
August 9th - No Man's Sky
August 16th - Bound
August 23rd - Deus Ex Mankind Divided
August 30th - Attack On Titan
Oh damn, Bound in August too. My wallet, it's crying
 

MADGAME

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Nice thread, lots of details I wasn't aware of. Have they confirmed or shot down a physical version? Last I read on Facebook they responded to inquiries with "We're listening".
 
May 30, 2014
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So what's the over-under of running into a Megalodon?

I'm hoping it's a definite chance.

With the game being partially about The Diver's bond with that Great White Shark [and all the shark statues that are significant to her ancestors] I'm hoping that the endgame involves the Great White saving you [possibly sacrificing itself] from a humongous Megalodon.

That seems plausible.
 

GeoramA

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PSN's Play promotion line-up is going to be announced on Tuesday, guessing this will be one of the games. Definitely pre-ordering if it is.
 
May 30, 2014
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Nice thread, lots of details I wasn't aware of. Have they confirmed or shot down a physical version? Last I read on Facebook they responded to inquiries with "We're listening".

I got this as a response when I asked the team:

"Thank you for your inquiry.  We are still on track to release digitally (Steam/PSN) on August 2nd but as mentioned elsewhere, we'll definitely make several announcements if things change.  We hope you love the game!


Kind Regards,

The Giant Squid Team
"

I REALLY want a physical copy.
 

Peterthumpa

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May 31, 2009
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This it OT material, almost had a stroke thinking that it was releasing tomorrow. Well done OP.
 
May 30, 2014
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Fabulous OP, well done. I'm keen to give this a bash on the projector.

Thank you so much!

Since Matt Nava was the Art Director/Creative Assist/Level Design Lead on Journey and the composer is the same [Austin Wintory], I thought the play on words in the title was a nice touch.

Maybe the mods can make this the OT when we are closer to the release? I would be honored to do it and I wouldn't mind making the necessary modifications to transition it as such!
 

MADGAME

Member
Oct 4, 2013
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I got this as a response when I asked the team:

"Thank you for your inquiry.  We are still on track to release digitally (Steam/PSN) on August 2nd but as mentioned elsewhere, we'll definitely make several announcements if things change.  We hope you love the game!


Kind Regards,

The Giant Squid Team
"

I REALLY want a physical copy.
Way to fight the good fight :)

For me personally I would prioritize a purchase for a physical version, but will not do so if digital only. Conflicting because I'm intensely interested in the game, I hope they decide to do so!
 
May 30, 2014
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This it OT material, almost had a stroke thinking that it was releasing tomorrow. Well done OP.

Thank you so much!

Did someone already claim the OT? This would work as a great one if not

Oh, and seriously, I love this shot so much. If I didn't know it was a game, I'd think it was a painting

Lol!

I'll claim it :)

It does look like art - very impressive tech on display there.
 
Thank you so much!

Since Matt Nava was the Art Director/Creative Assist/Level Design Lead on Journey and the composer is the same [Austin Wintory], I thought the play on words in the title was a nice touch.

Maybe the mods can make this the OT when we are closer to the release? I would be honored to do it and I wouldn't mind making the necessary modifications to transition it as such!
Just claim it in this thread first, so we don't get multiple OTs popping up around launch
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=450653

And yeah, I'll just edit the title when release comes and you made the necessary changes
 
May 30, 2014
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Thanks for the OP. Good job.

Definite buy.

Thank you!

I promise you when this is turned into the OT for ABZÛ you will not be disappointed.

I've already got some amazing ideas on how to make this a truly legendary OT. I am truly honored and excited to help in getting the word out to the world on just how amazing this game is going to be.
 
May 30, 2014
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Amazing thread. Day one for me.

Great thread. This jumped on my radar recently and I'm really looking forward to it.

Thank you very much for the kind words, I'm really glad you like it!

Beautiful beyond words. Having this, Bound and No Man's Sky is going to be such a treat.

Agreed 110%.

The fact that the artistic/creative mind behind Journey - as well as it's composer - are behind this endeavor, makes me extremely excited and hyped for ABZÛ!!
 

D.Va

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I liked Journey, but not as much as everyone else... so I'm confused as to why I'm so hyped for this game. Definitely day one. I saw Playstation Access play this game, and it looks so incredibly therapeutic - and just a joy to experience.
 
I liked Journey, but not as much as everyone else... so I'm confused as to why I'm so hyped for this game. Definitely day one. I saw Playstation Access play this game, and it looks so incredibly therapeutic - and just a joy to experience.
As much as I enjoyed Journey, this looks like it's on an entire other level visually. There's something almost hypnotic about the ocean. Like Subnautica rekindled my interest in the explore/craft/survive genre because its underworld world was so unique and different than anything else in the genre. This is compelling to me on a similar level. It just looks so different and alive and vibrant. Like being able to enter a place I've only ever seen in movies and documentaries.

If Subnautica's ocean was an explored alien frontier, Abzu's ocean looks like Life of Pi's larger-than-life colorful ocean in video game form.
 

D.Va

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Feb 2, 2016
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As much as I enjoyed Journey, this looks like it's on entire other level visually. There's something almost hypnotic about the ocean. Like Subnautica rekindled my interest in the explore/craft/survive genre because its underworld world was so unique and different than anything else in the genre. This is compelling to me on a similar level. It just looks so different and alive and vibrant. Like being able to enter a place I've only ever seen in movies and documentaries.

If Subnautica's ocean was an explored alien frontier, Abzu's ocean looks like Life of Pi's larger-than-life colorful ocean in video game form.

Very well said, and I think you've hit the mark. My interest in this game also stems from the unknown of the depths of the ocean... something that I've been so fascinated with ever since I was a child. I forgot how much I loved the ocean, so it's great to finally put words to what I'd felt. Playstation Access also said something like, "The depths of the ocean are all so unknown to us. So they basically have free reign to do whatever they want, visually."

Hype level increased.
 
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I'm down to collaborate. I was thinking of a relatively simple OT and maybe a short FAQ but if people want more indepth info into the world and lore, we can do that too
 

wapplew

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VR support? Such a good fit.
My sis is so into scuba diving, will buy this game for her birthday.
 
Very well said, and I think you've hit the mark. My interest in this game also stems from the unknown of the depths of the ocean... something that I've been so fascinated with ever since I was a child. I forgot how much I loved the ocean, so it's great to finally put words to what I'd felt. Playstation Access also said something like, "The depths of the ocean are all so unknown to us. So they basically have free reign to do whatever they want, visually."

Hype level increased.
I think the fact that it looks like they absolutely nailed the movement is part of it too. It just looks so fun to just move around
 
May 30, 2014
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I'm down to collaborate. I was thinking of a relatively simple OT and maybe a short FAQ but if people want more indepth info into the world and lore, we can do that too

I'm down with a collaboration - I have some pretty elaborate ideas; but if you decide to just relinquish the job to me, I'm completely fine with doing all the work LOL!

I've never made an OT on here before and it would be an honor for me to do it with this game because I'm ridiculously passionate about it. If you were to let me do it on my own, I would not only be in your debt - but I promise you that I will do you proud!

In a weird way, I would really like all of the responsibility. I just went through a deeply sad break-up with the love of my life - a girl that would take me weeks and years to fully explain how much I love her to everyone and being given this responsibility would give my mind pause. It's something else to think about and to focus on that eases the pain of it all. I hope you understand what I mean by that.

I guess HalfBakedProphet I'm begging you to give me the responsibility of making the ABZÛ OT. I won't let you down :)
 

Poyunch

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How "open" is this game? Could I just leisurely swim in an open-world or is it sectioned-off like in Journey?
 
May 30, 2014
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How "open" is this game? Could I just leisurely swim in an open-world or is it sectioned-off like in Journey?

Both.

The structure is linear, but you can linger in any open space as long as you like - there is no air gauge, no urgency, except for the player's yearning to move on so that they can discover more awe-inducing things.

You can explore every nook and cranny of the world as long as you desire.
 

exmachina64

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I need this game to hold me off until NMS. It's so beautiful and might have the best water in a game yet.
 

chadskin

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May 27, 2013
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Been looking forward to this for a while, really happy it's finally coming out in two weeks. :)