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An interview Under the Waves in Los Angeles

Game director Ronan Coiffec talks us about the inspirations, the metaphors, and the different things you will be able to do under the waves in this fresh narrative adventure starting next month.

Audio transcription

"We're at the Summer Game Fest Play Days and we're checking out some of the Quantic Dream Spotlight games and one of them we actually knew about it, the game was revealed last year at Gamescom and it's Under the Waves but the French studio Parallel."

"So thank you so much for joining us Ronan.
I think it's a really interesting mix of genres here, it looks like a narrative game but then it has a big exploration and a little bit of survival component, right?
How would you describe the main concept of Under the Waves?
I would say it's mainly a narrative driven game but as we said with a lot of exploration side so you will have to follow a main story with strong narrative feeling but you will be able to explore a large world so we have added a lot of exploration features like crafting, searching objects, exploration, you have a vehicle to explore a large part of the world so yeah the game offers a big area to explore but you have a strong story to follow."

"So yes this is a narrative game but a little more.
Let me compare it to, it's like Subnautica in a way and also like Observation, it actually reminded me of Observation in the way that you are alone, it's not the space right?
It's underwater but you're alone and you have this relationship with a sort of this mechanical voice, what can you tell us?
I would say you are alone but we really would like in this game to create a connection with the ocean, with the world, you know a little like in Firewatch where you are really a connection with the background around you so I would say it's more a game that is inspired by that kind of game like Firewatch, a very narrative game more than a Subnautica action game so it's mainly narrative but really connected to the world around you."

"And the world around you is of course underwater and it's inspired by the 70s and by Jacques Cousteau so what can you tell us about that?
How can players get to feel this inspiration?
Actually firstly it was a personal inspiration because I grew up with Jacques-Yves Cousteau documentary, my father was a sailor so I grew up on that kind of boat etc."

"So we also tell a story about nostalgia, about memories, so for us the look and feel with that kind of old documentary is a way to create that kind of nostalgia in the re-rendering with the grain, with that kind of cinematographic feeling.
So for us it's a way to create something touching, connected to the past and the memories."

"And speaking about connection, one thing I think is very enigmatic and very interesting is how you use the lack of oxygen as an excuse to cause strange dreams in the story.
What can you tell us about this mystery and how you guys use being alone, lack of oxygen and then having this sort of mysterious story going on?
I would say we really would like to create some metaphor in the game because you know being under the waves in the ocean alone is something really strong, Stan has some things to resolve with his own past and with the surface."

"So being in the ocean without enough oxygen etc. is a way to reduce some fear, some complicated things so Stan will have to be confronted to some things from his own past etc.
So the idea was to put Stan in a way that some things come from the deep in a new way.
So the idea was to play with that kind of realistic things but to justify some fantastic things so slowly the game will play and fall sometimes."

"I don't want to spoil too much but it's more for example inspired by that kind of movie like Abyss from James Cameron to let the magic of the fantastic come to the player and to see what will happen to Stan and what is the real story for Stan and what choice he will have to do because at the end on that kind of problematic you have to go back to the surface."

"That's a really nice metaphor.
So to be a little bit more specific about what players are going to do under the waves.
So you have this character, you have this Merc voice you talk to, I found that joke very nice, just Stan right?
And then you go out on missions because you're underwater doing that and you have a huge map and you can use a small submarine to go from one place to another and you sort of complete missions and at the same time you puzzle together the story, right?
Is that right?
Yeah."

"You can also collect things in the world to craft because we have a little craft system.
So basically we push the player to explore the world to collect for example plastics or metal or trashes to be able to craft new items to help the player explore new areas.
So you have that kind of game mechanics for sandbox games."

"You have also some puzzles, you have some part more about action, you have to take care of your submarine, you have to repair it for example, you have to find some fuel to help you going faster etc.
You can upgrade things."

"So it's mainly a narrative game once again but you have a lot of little mechanics to give you some various gameplay, various things to explore in the world.
You have also some, I would say, hostile things but I don't want to spoil too much at this point."

"So when can we expect to submerge under the waves and on which platforms?
It will be released by the end of August, 29th of August and on each platform.
So next gen, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and PC.
Thank you so much for your time, Ronan."

"Thank you for your time.
Thank you again for playing the game.
Enjoy the show.
Thank you."

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