Look Beneath the Waves: when the creators of Detroit Become Human and White Night meet, sparks fly!

Preview Beneath the Waves: when the creators of Detroit Become Human and White Night meet, it shines!

Not really in the vacuum of the wave, Quantic Dream is – again – the publisher and finance the new game from Parallel Studio. A title that answers the name of Under the Waves and which, let’s say, was one of our favorites from Gamescom.

With Under the Waves, Quantic Dreams and Parallel Studio seem to have found each other well. The narrative game specialist has actually teamed up with a developer who loves “atmospheric” games and to whom we owe the amazing White Night in 2015, a true tribute to the roots of survival -horror. This new project is very different, both in terms of universe and gameplay. Exit the haunted house, welcome to the deep sea…. And loneliness.

Located in the 70s, somewhere in the North Sea, Under The Waves bets on an alternative history, with a slightly different past, where technology is a little more advanced and robots are more developed. However, the “retro” aesthetic is still present, with a pronounced taste for cathode-ray screens, rusty tubes and “beep-beeps” on a green background.

An open, story-driven underwater world

In this context we play Stan, a professional diver who works for an oil company and has to join an underwater base. So we start by reaching for a bathyscaphe before plunging into the depths of the North Sea, while staying in constant contact with a colleague named Tim. This is how we discover the gameplay of Under the Waves, based on diving exploration, but also on foot. Parallell Studio thus creates a “small” open world that can be explored at leisure, which will allow you to dig a little more into the universe and the narrative, but without the shortcomings of the genre (no additional activity based mini games) .

It may be possible, once underwater, to walk on land, but at any time, the player can press a button to switch to “swim” mode and thus move more freely. It allows a free and very vertical exploration, with in addition a pleasant and intuitive management, which is ultimately unique in the context of scuba diving. The half-hour demo we tested asked us to join an underwater base, which would serve as our base for the entire adventure. We walked through the rather shabby and dark underwater installations, opened some doors through large valves, all with an absolutely beautiful soundscape to our ears. The underwater noises are very detailed and the atmospheric soundtrack, although not loud, perfectly accompanies the action.

Beneath the Waves: when the creators of Detroit Become Human and White Night meet, it shines!

More Firewatch than Subnautica

In terms of scenario, Parallel Studio seems to want to explore multiple tracks, usually with an underlying message. First of all, there is an ecological aspect and we feel that working in an oil company is not small. However, the developers want to keep this aspect in the background – but still in the background – with, for example, the possibility of collecting, or not, the used oxygen cartridges to recycle them.

Beneath the Waves: when the creators of Detroit Become Human and White Night meet, it shines!

Another point emphasized in Under the Waves is the hero’s loneliness and his relationship with others. During our demo, we saw the complicated relationship between Stan and his wife, where the first left a message full of unspoken words to the second. We feel a deep wound to the diver and the desire for the studio to deepen the human relationship, like the excellent Firewatch.

Beneath the Waves: when the creators of Detroit Become Human and White Night meet, it shines!

And the last point, which probably follows from the second, is the “psychological thriller” aspect of the adventure, which is emphasized by the unique final plan of the demo. The development of Under the Waves is divided into days, so each day ends with Stan sleeping. The end of the demo shows us that the protagonist falls asleep, but wakes up somewhere along the way, underwater and facing a giant whale. Maybe a dream, we think, but the fact that Stan doesn’t understand what he’s doing there casts doubt on the character’s intelligence.

Beneath the Waves: when the creators of Detroit Become Human and White Night meet, it shines!

In short, this first contact with Under the Waves managed to seduce us with some powerful shots, accurate dialogues and a very successful atmosphere. A game to watch if you like diving, taciturn marines and red caps.

Our impressions

Under the Waves is a title still full of mysteries, but the atmosphere shown in this 30-minute demo is enough to elevate it among our biggest expectations for the coming months. The game of underwater exploration in a semi-open world, the title of Parallel Studio and Quantic Dreams however has nothing to do with Subnautica or Abzu, but seems to be looking at the side of Firewatch in terms of narration. His universe in spite of himself, which took place in the uchronic 70s is full of an obvious retrofuturist charm. We now hope to be caught when the game is released next year, on PC, PS5, Xbox Series, PS4 and Xbox One.

Editorial review

promises

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