Developer: Giant Squid
Publisher: 505 Games
Release date: August 2nd, 2016
Platforms: PS4/PC [initially]
ESRB Rating: E - EVERYONE [Mild Fantasy Violence]
Creative Director: Matt Nava
Composer: Austin Wintory
Trophies [SLIGHT SPOILERS]
PlayStation Store page
ABZÛ Soundtrack [Digital]
ABZÛ Music Trailer
ABZÛ Inspiration Trailer
E3 2016/Launch Trailer
E3 2014 Announce Trailer
PlayStation Access Gameplay
ABZÛ E3 2016 LiveCast
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
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"
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 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 were 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.