Early this morning Rachet and Clank developer Insomniac, announced their new project, an underwater Metroidvania game called Song of the Deep. Interestingly enough however, the retailer GameStop is in fact publishing the game. After the announcement was teased yesterday, we now have all the details about the upcoming title.
Speaking with IGN about the new game, Insomniac Chief Creative Officer Brian Hastings said he began with the idea of a little girl looking out over the ocean. From there, building a story inspired by his own daughter, Song of the Deep grew into the game it is now.
It follows a 12-year-old girl, Merryn, as she looses her father at sea, has a dream that he’s trapped deep in the ocean, and decides build her own submarine to go find him. What follows is a game of exploration, puzzle solving, and even a little combat.
“[Merryn’s] not a killer,” Hastings explained. “She never hurts a human over the course of the story, but if she’s just destroying things along the way, it didn’t feel like it fit the tone and the mood and who she was. She’s the hero because she’s smart, because she’s persistent and because she’s resilient. How do you get that across as a character? How do you have the player feel that? A lot of that was, you need to explore, you need to solve puzzles, you need to use your mind in order to get through.”
Though there are three main bosses and a handful of mini-bosses, the game focuses on exploration and the “innate fantasy that we all have that there’s a world just out of reach.”
Though beautiful and more than promising, the most interesting thing about Song of the Deep is likely Insomniac’s publishing partner, GameStop. This is the retailer’s first foray into game publishing.
In the same conversation with IGN, Insomniac founder Ted Price and GameStop’s Mark Stanley explained the game will release digitally on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but will release physically only in GameStop stores. That said, the retailer has no creative control over the project.
“Insomniac owns the intellectual property. We have full creative control over what the game is and how it’s being developed, and GameStop has been incredibly collaborative and supportive of everything we’re doing,” Price said.
“We’ve all noticed a resurgence of indie titles over the years, and what’s awesome about that is that the smaller titles tend to take more creative risks and deliver something that’s very different than, say, the AAA, more realistic titles. For us as a company that thrives on creativity and loves building new worlds, that’s a place we love to be as well,” he continued.
“When Mark and I were talking about how the market’s evolving and looking ahead and bringing more to players, we started connecting on that particular topic, and we were serendipitously working on a pitch for Song of the Deep, and sparks ignited.”
Explaining the decision from GameStop’s point of view, Stanley said, “We have 62 million customers coming to our doors every year. How do we give more and more content and more exclusives and different kinds of games in our store, beyond just the traditional AAA, etc? We’ve worked for many years with publishers on exclusives in our stores, etc. This is a different way to bring added value to those customers. We think it’s a very good balance to maintain.”
But a retail exclusive release is only the beginning for Song of the Deep, as the publisher is helping Insomniac turn the game’s launch into more of an “event.” Tie-in toys, PopVinyls and other merchandise will release in GameStop stores alongside the game, while a partnership with Barnes and Noble will also result in a children’s chapter book (targeted at ages 8-12) based on the game, releasing at the same time.
As for if this is just the first step in a new path for GameStop, Stanley would only say, “This is the project we’re completely focused on right now. It’s the first time we’re doing this. There’s been a lot of learnings along the way, and I think there’s still a lot of learnings to be had. Based on this, we’ll obviously consider all options… Once we get this project to market, we’ll look back and see should we keep doing this, what could we be doing differently… Maybe there will be more opportunities in the future.”
Song of the Deep is set to launch in summer of this year, for $14.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. As we learn more, you’ll find it all right here on Gamespresso. This is the third game confirmed to be in development at Insomniac, joining the PS4 Rachet and Clank game and the VR thrid-person horror title Edge of Nowhere. What do you think of the Song of the Deep and the fact GameStop is getting into publishing? Let us know in the comments.