One game studio that interests me is Insomniac Games. Insomniac has been a relatively big developer for a long time dating back to the PlayStation franchise, Spyro the Dragon. Since then, they’ve hit pay dirt with Ratchet & Clank and Resistance. They even attempted to enter the mobile arena with a Poké-like game titled Outernauts. No matter what project they are working on, their games have no shortage of character nor crazy weapons.
Additionally, I am a sucker for a good “Metroidvania” game. Super Metroid is still one of my favorite games of all time, and I love that style (I just need more time to play them!).
Of course, I was intrigued when Insomniac Games officially announced a new game last week called Song of the Deep. But, I have to be admit, once I saw the announcement trailer, I was a bit unimpressed. Don’t get me wrong, it looks like an interesting game. Let’s color this with saying that I was not necessarily jazzed about the Ori and the Blind Forest announcement, and that one went on to get some rave reviews.
On it’s face, Song of the Deep seems to ride the line between something like Metroid or Castlevania and Ecco the Dolphin. I never played Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, except for the demo, but I get a strong feeling of that game with Song of the Deep only with a more detailed artistic style. It doesn’t quite hit the same notes as the Rayman games made with the UbiArt engine, but it’s not too far off.
The gameplay seems to be more environmental than most other “Metroidvania” games with less focus on character or vehicle upgrades. If you watch the trailer, there is more towing items around the level than there is of actual shooting or combat. I’ve always enjoyed the gameplay hook that upgrade discoveries provided in this genre, but perhaps less of that can help focus on other things such as story. I also find it neat that the main character seems to get out of the sub at times for extra exploration options, which I assume is equivalent to Samus’s Morph Ball.
However, one of the most interesting aspects of this game is that it’s to be published by GameStop. Many people seem to think GameStop taking on the publisher role for this release is a way for them to stay relevant in an industry that is moving more and more toward digital distribution while relying less on physical media. In the current landscape, there is no way to sell a digital license once it has been tied to an account. This has been a big threat to GameStop’s business model, and entering the publishing game is a fascinating way for them to find a new revenue stream. Song of the Deep may end up being little more than an experiment in this regard, and it’s success could have a major impact on the future of GameStop as a company.
As the great Levarr Burton said, “Don’t take my word for it.” Take a look at the announcement trailer below and check out the game’s site for yourself. Song of the Deep releases this summer on PC, Xbox One and PS4.