The Independent Gamer: Debut Puzzle Adventure Game From Spanish Studio
The Independent Gamer is a curated roundup of news from indie gaming, landing here every other Friday.
Releasing in time for Christmas, Call of the Sea is the debut game from Madrid-based studio Out of the Blue. Described as a first-person narrative adventure, the story follows a woman named Norah — voiced by Cissy Jones, known for Firewatch and The Walking Dead games — who sets off on a quest to discover the truth behind her husband's disappearance.
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The game is a throwback to classic adventures where players are tasked with exploring a faraway place or lost civilization and must find out information to piece together a mystery, explains Out of the Blue co-founder and game writer, Tatiana Delgado Yunquera, who has been in the games industry for 17 years and lists Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as one of the first adventure games that impacted her career.
"We wanted to take the stories of H.P. Lovecraft and get inspiration from there, but give it a twist and do something completely new," she says, clarifying that Call of the Sea is not a horror game.
Shedding light on the character of Norah, Yunquera says that she is a woman in her 40s who never did anything particularly special or exciting, but now her husband has disappeared — he went on an expedition to find a cure for a sickness and never returned. "Now she [has] decided, 'I need to find him, I need to find out what happened to him.'" As her journey takes form, she arrives in the middle of the Pacific and learns many things about herself.
"Love is a very important [theme]," Yunquera continues. "It's a love story between Harry and Norah. We wanted to portray a love story that is not that usual to see in a video game. They have been married for a long time, they have a more mature love, so we wanted to show that between them."
In terms of the gameplay, Call of the Sea is a mix of puzzles and story. "What you are going to do on each level is solve puzzles that are integrated into the world and have explanation and logic," shares Yunquera. Players take on a detective-like role, looking for clues and trying to figure out what happened.
She goes on to say that the team at Out of the Blue — currently comprised of ten people — take inspiration from games like Myst and its second part, Riven. "We wanted to try to bring the joy of solving puzzles to the new generation."
Striking a personal note, Yunquera says there was a moment in her life where she had lost the excitement of making games and decided it was the right time to create her own adventures — thus, Out of the Blue was born. Yunquera, in partnership with production and programming lead Manuel Fernandez-Truchaud Lorenzo, is focused on narrative-driven puzzle games that she would want to play.
"We are a really small team, and as an indie game you have to stand out somehow," Yunquera goes on to say, adding that uniqueness in a next-gen catalogue is particularly crucial. The detailed art direction for Call of the Sea, which takes inspiration from games like Firewatch, Sea of Thieves and The Witness, comes from Daniel Nombela Lopez.
Call of the Sea takes roughly six hours to play through the main story, but as Yunquera explains, there are side details and backstories to discover for those more inclined to spend longer exploring the world.
The game releases Dec. 8 on Steam, Windows 10, Xbox One and next-gen consoles Xbox Series X and S.
Couch co-op Out of Space Drops on Switch
From Brazil-based developer Behold Studios, Out of Space is a local co-op multiplayer game for 1-4 players about living together in a house... in space, amid an alien infestation.
Through short matches, everyone must work together to build a sustainable spaceship that is clean, comfortable and safe. The game drops on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Nov. 25.
Indie Games on Sale
Currently in the Nintendo store, Playdead's Inside and Limbo are $6.79 and $3.39, respectively. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is $19.99, while Supergiant's (developer of Hades) Bastion is $2.99.
Humble Bundle Announces Video Game Showcase
Digital storefront Humble Bundle announced on Tuesday that a Giving Tuesday stream will take place Dec. 1 on Twitch to raise funds for the nonprofit GameChanger charity that provides relief for young people battling serious illnesses.
The stream will feature game updates, gameplay demos and developer interviews from games including Wildfire, Ikenfell and Ring of Pain.
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