Under The Waves: A Deep Dive into a Narrative Adventure Game
Under The Waves is a new narrative-driven adventure game developed by Parallel Studio and published by Quantic Dream. This highly anticipated game will be released today for Xbox Series S/X and Xbox One in both digital and deluxe physical editions. Before its release, we had the opportunity to sit down with Ronan Coiffec, the Game Director, to get an exclusive look into the development process.
A Passion Project Turned Reality
For Ronan Coiffec, video games are more than just a job; they’re a way of life. From his early days as a hardcore gamer to becoming an apprentice game designer, Ronan’s dream was to open his own studio and create his own stories. Under The Waves is the latest project from Parallel Studio, which Ronan founded in 2015 alongside writer Sébastien Renard and audio designer Nicolas Bredin. This game marks a significant milestone for Ronan and his team of 19 developers.
Ronan shares, “We recently revisited the technical documents that laid the foundations for the game. We were pleasantly surprised to see that we didn’t have to hold back in any aspect. We pushed the boundaries and set high standards for ourselves, considering the size of our team. From underwater gameplay in a semi-open 3D world to side quests and motion capture, we poured our hearts into this project. It’s a sincere and generous endeavor.”
A Game of Immersive Exploration
Under The Waves revolves around the story of Stan, a contemplative diver who finds solace in the depths of the sea. Ronan explains, “The game is divided into chapters, offering players the freedom to explore and discover this world. However, to progress, they must follow the main quest. This approach allowed us to effectively convey our desired narrative and provide room for exploration. Players will not only explore the wonders of nature but also delve into their own human condition and relationships with others.”
Childhood Memories and Environmental Themes
The inspiration for Under The Waves originates from Ronan’s childhood experiences. As the son of a marine in the French Navy, Ronan traveled the world, witnessing the clashes between warships, oil rigs, and environmental activists. He recalls, “During my adolescence, I envisioned a video game that would encapsulate these memories. I sketched game designs, drew environments, and created characters. While gameplay remains central, my ultimate goal was always to convey intense human emotions through storytelling.”
The game began as a simple 2D prototype centered around a diver and his mission to clean up underwater pollution. Ronan’s vision was to bring light to the darkness and inspire hope. From 2020 to 2023, Ronan and Parallel Studio dedicated their energy to this emotionally charged project, with each team member contributing their unique talents. Ronan emphasizes the strength of a small studio, saying, “While compromises were made, we never compromised our vision. Parallel Studio, with the support of Quantic Dream, provided the perfect environment for bringing this game to life. I am truly proud of what we have accomplished.”
An Oceanic Escape with a Message
Under The Waves offers players a moment of escape beneath the waves, inviting them to reconsider their perspectives on personal actions and their impact on others and the planet. Ronan shares, “Ecology is ingrained in our studio’s DNA. We have analyzed our carbon footprint, utilize recycled furniture, and have even ‘adopted’ a whale to support scientific efforts. In the game, the whale is a central element that holds deep significance. Additionally, our partnership with Surfrider Foundation Europe adds real-world context to the marine facts presented throughout the game.”
As the release day approaches, excitement continues to build for Under The Waves. Ronan leaves us with a smile, saying, “Before we conclude, there’s one burning question to address. What operating system does Mercury, the retro-futuristic on-board computer, run on? It’s MS-DOS, of course! Although the game is set in 1979, so it’s more like a beta version. Our graphic designer actually referenced MS DOS when creating the sleek interface on Stan’s computer. We even have a bot named Mercury on our Discord, which has become our trusty companion at Parallel Studio!”
The Journey Begins
Under The Waves promises to take players on a surreal voyage into the depths of Stan’s mind as he navigates the challenges of grief and self-discovery. With stunning visuals, a captivating narrative, and a focus on environmental themes, this game offers a unique and immersive gaming experience. So dive in and embark on the journey to save Stan’s life and uncover the secrets hidden beneath the waves.
- A surreal voyage under the waves – Dive into a poetic underwater adventure where you’ll join Stan on his quest to overcome his traumatic past and find his way back to the surface.
- Explore the depths of the sea – Take control of Stan’s submarine and explore captivating caves, wrecks, and underwater plants. Discover backstory pieces, salvageable waste, and collectibles. Craft equipment to aid your exploration.
- Witness the beauty of the ocean – Immerse yourself in a stunning underwater world filled with breathtaking marine life. Explore the wonders of the deep sea while keeping Stan company in his solitude.