After three years of development, I am incredibly excited to announce that Abzu is available on PS4 today!
Abzu is an underwater adventure that evokes the dream of scuba diving. Graceful swimming controls let you guide the Diver’s movement like a fluid ballet under the waves. You will discover hundreds of unique species based on real creatures, and interact with schools of thousands of fish that procedurally respond to you, each other, and predators. There is no air gauge to worry about so you are free to linger. Casting aside the trappings of scuba simulation is how Abzu brings focus to the real heart of diving — experiencing the majesty of the ocean and the magic of discovering a surreal new world.
As you descend into the heart of the ocean on a grand and mysterious adventure, you will find yourself immersed in colorful seascapes bursting with life. You will discover sunken artifacts that give you clues to the Diver’s origin and what happened in this world. One of the most inspiring things about the ocean is the diversity of ecosystems and biomes it holds, and we put as many as we could into Abzu. You will explore swaying kelp forests, bright reefs, and deeper, darker more dangerous areas in the abyss. There are so many things we don’t understand about the ocean, and I think that we all have a place in our imaginations for what wondrous things may be down there. That surrealism was something that we also tried to capture — the game will take you to some very surprising places along your descent.
One of the powerful lessons I took away from working on the games Flower and Journey was how to use the light, color, and sound of an environment to deliver an impactful narrative to the player. The ocean turned out to be the perfect setting for this kind of storytelling, as even simply adjusting the distance you can see into the murk can have a huge effect on the player’s emotional state. Through carefully crafting all the environments in Abzu, we created an emotional curve, with lows and highs, that delivers a story without the use of any dialogue.
The Giant Squid team and I have gone scuba diving, whale watching, and taken several trips to aquariums to study fish behavior, kelp physics, and water dynamics. I’m excited that we were able to include a meditation mode in Abzu, where the player can take a break from the main game to directly observe the hundreds of species of fish. You will learn their names and be able to study all the detail of their movements and habits as they swim. It’s a very relaxing feature that turns the game into a beautiful virtual aquarium.
The development of Abzu has been a great challenge but also an extremely rewarding endeavor for us at Giant Squid. As a new studio, creating Abzu was also the process of finding our voice as developers. The game has undergone many evolutions since its beginning, and it is both fascinating and satisfying to see the concept bloom into a real experience. I think that we have managed to create a very unique and beautiful adventure that I hope will move you. Please enjoy Abzu!