You wouldn’t know it today but I was a diehard gamer for much of my life. I was too young to experience the North American video game crash of the early 1980s but developed an interest in gaming during the latter half of the decade.
I received my first console, a Nintendo Entertainment System, for my fifth birthday and by the time I turned 10, I was a self-professed expert in the field of gaming. I had subscriptions to nearly every video gaming magazine in publication at the time (this was before the modern-day Internet, mind you) and by the time I reached middle school, I knew I wanted to be a video game maker (and even knew where I wanted to go to school).
I realized at an early age that I had a particular interest in simulation-style games, specifically driving or racing genres. The realism of The Need for Speed absolutely blew my mind when it debuted in 1996. I spent countless hours just driving; I wasn’t so much interested in racing, I just liked cruising around with no goal in mind.
I was drawn to the type of experience that others might consider boring or lame: free-roaming. Regardless of the game type, if there was an open aspect to it, I was all-in. I told myself that was the type of game I was going to build when I got older and fully intended to do so (until I got to college and realized I absolutely hated programming).
I say that to say this – Submerged is the type of game I probably would have made (or a GTA clone without the storyline).
For those unfamiliar, Submerged is a third-person, combat-free game from Uppercut Games in which players explore a mysterious flooded city. There’s no combat, no health bars and no death – you simply explore the virtual sandbox as you see fit.
Submerged does have a storyline for those that wish to play through it. You assume the role of Miku, a young girl that has brought her injured brother to the city in a small fishing boat. Miku will need to traverse the city – both horizontally using the boat and vertically by climbing buildings – in search of supplies to heal her sibling. Along the way, you’ll discover how the city came to be flooded and how you ended up there.
Uppercut Games encourages players to take their time and explore the city at their own pace. Take in the sunrise, the sound of the ocean or watch the playfulness of the city’s creatures.
The game was developed using the Unreal Engine 4 which, as you can see here, looks quite remarkable. Jeff Van Dyck, a BAFTA-Award Winner, is responsible for the musical score that should complement the serene environment nicely.
Aside from the occasional time-killer, I’ve long since hung up my gamer gloves. Submerged, however, is making me reconsider that move.
Submerged lands on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (Steam) on August 4.