Some games don't require likable characters or a compelling story arc to elicit strong emotions from players. Some games, on the other hand, simply achieve this through their atmosphere, art style, and soundtrack. Consider the game Journey from Thatgamecomany for example. The game was a huge success because it demonstrated that such a simple concept could evoke such a strong reaction from its player base. Fortunately, it won't be the last game to do so. Sword of the Sea is the newest game announced for the genre, and much like Journey, looks like it will move mountains of emotions for us as well.
A big reason is that Sword of the Sea is being developed by videogame development studio, Giant Squid. If you didn't already know, Giant Squids' founder is Matt Nava, the former art director at Thatgamecompany who was heavily involved in Journey's development. Now with his own studio in Giant Squid, Nava aims to create atmospheric and meditative games, as evidenced by their currently released titles Abzu and Pathless. The studio's newest project in development is Sword of the Sea, and it appears to be their most ambitious title yet. So, keep reading to find out what it's all about.
What is Sword of the Sea?
Announced during the 2023 May PlayStation Showcase, Sword of the Sea is the newest game in development from studio Giant Squid. Sword of the Sea, like their previous titles Abzu and Pathless, appears to be a “meditative, exhilarating, and introspective” experience that will immerse players in an immersive and atmospheric game world unlike any they've seen before. In fact, Matt Nava, founder and creative developer at Giant Squid, stated that “Sword of the Sea is our most ambitious game to date.”
So, let's look at what we know about the story and gameplay to get an idea of just how big Giant Squid's new vision truly is.
Taking place in an “abandon realm”, where the “terrain flows in constant waves”, you play as a Wraith. Resurrected in this desolate landscape, Wraith is tasked with bringing life back to this world of submerged ruins and vibrantly diverse cultures. “Surf through sinking tombs, mysterious shipwrecks, and petrified battlefields – and bring giant shoals of fish and creatures back in the process.” says Matt Nava. “But beware- this land is also home to massive leviathans that will stand in your way.”
Although that's about all that's been unveiled about the plot, it appears that our protagonist Wraith has a significant task ahead of him. One that will see him rescuing life, and taking out the massive threats that may be the reason why this world has been abandoned. But, can Wraith, a mysterious figure with a “hoversword, be that hero? Guess we'll just have to wait to find out.
The “hoversword” we see Wraith riding is the most notable gameplay highlight in Sword of the Sea. According to Matt Nava, the gameplay feature is “a brand-new movement mechanic: the Hoversword. The Hoversword controls like a snowboard, skateboard, and hoverboard all in one.” With this new gameplay mechanic, players can build massive amounts of momentum. They can then use this to explore, traverse, and tear up the wave-like terrain and “skatepark-like ruins”.
Matt Nava describes the gamplay as, “Combining the speed and flow of skating games with the emotional core and exploration you expect from a Giant Squid title,” If there's one thing Giant Squid knows, it's how to intertwine mediums to catch out attention. Are only question is how is the gameplay, specifically the hoversword, will assist us in taking down these massive leviathans? After all, it's more than just a hoverboard, skateboard, or snowboard; it's also a sword. So, it's got to have some external use other than shredding up the sand dunes. But, we'll just have to wait to find out exactly how that works.
As we've said, Sword of the Sea is being developed by the games studio Giant Squid. Whose entire goal as a studio is to have games be viewed as more of an art form than a pastime.
“We believe that video games are more than a pastime – they are an artistic medium that can deliver beautiful, meaningful, and timeless experiences to a wide range of people. Our goal is to create games that fulfill that potential. We strive to create innovative and deeply moving experiences that will inspire players, challenge convention, and push the boundaries of interactive entertainment to new exciting areas.” – Giant Squid.
They've already accomplished this with their previous titles, Abzu and Pathless. However, Sword of the Sea appears to be the game that will encompass the studio's entire body and truly showcase its true colors and potential.
Sword of the Sea - Announce Trailer | PS5 Games
Want to get a better glimpse of the landscape and see that hoversword in action? Then check out the Sword of the Sea announcement trailer shown at the 2023 May PlayStation Showcase.
Release Date, Platforms & Editions
Unfortunately, Sword of the Sea didn't get a release date alongside its announcement. So, there's no telling when it will release. However, we have high hopes it will be before the end of the year.
What we do know is that the game will release on PlayStation 5 consoles and on PC via Steam. Furthermore, the title is unlikely to have more than one edition. After all, the best art is a one-of-a-kind, priceless piece. And that seems to be the case with Sword of the Sea.