We were hoping Sony would reveal a new title from ThatGameCompany at this years E3 expo. Having announced in May that $7 million had been secured for their next project we thought it likely we’d be seeing a new game from the company that previously brought us the hit PSN games, Journey, and Flower.
For those unfamiliar with the titles above they are both games that are innovative in their approach to gameplay. Completely devoid of a vocal narrative you are immersed in a visually explorative experience backed by some beautiful soundtracks. In an almost therapeutic way these games offer an antidote to the frenzied action and hustle and bustle of multiplayer common to your big AAAs, whilst still delivering rewarding challenges with some strong emotive force.
For these reasons we were particularly excited to see Sony reveal Abzu at E3. Abzu is the first creation from Giant Squid a company formed by ex-Journey and Flower art director Matt Nava. While there’s little known about the gameplay the initial media we’ve seen points to a similar experience to the likes of Journey and Flower.
In Abzu you explore the ocean depths as a diver encountering sea life in an experience that is quite literally immersive! Looking at the visuals there’s a beautiful style to the game and accompanying the experience will be music from Austin Wintory who’s interlacing sound track for Journey won him a Grammy award nomination for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, the first soundtrack from a video game to be nominated in that category.
Setting the scene for Abzu, Nava notes on the PlayStation blog,
“The game draws inspiration from a deep, innate story that we all carry in our collective subconscious, a universal origin myth that resonates across cultures. As such, the name ABZÛ references a concept from the oldest Mesopotamian mythology: it is the combination of two ancient words Ab, meaning ocean, and Zû, meaning to know. Essentially, ABZÛ is the ocean of wisdom.”
Check out the trailer below for a tease of how Abzu is going to play. With the pedigree of the people onboard this project there’s every reason to expect greatness. This is definitely one to watch.
If you’re on PS4 and haven’t yet experienced previous games from ThatGameCompany you can now get your hands on their Flower and flOw titles to get an idea of what’s to come. Those on PS3 who haven't yet tried Journey we highly recommend trying it, even if explorative games aren’t your thing, this is a great example of how games can still be innovative. The section when you walk uphill in Journey stands for us as one of the most epic moments in recent games history and one that stays with you long afterwards.
Abzu is currently in development for PS4. If you have any comments about any of the games we’ve mentioned do let us know your thoughts.