It’s been almost 20 years since Ecco the Dolphin made a splash on the Sega Mega Drive, and that’s a long enough wait for designer and producer Ed Annunziata. He’s launched a Kickstarter campaign in partnership with long-time partners and Ecco co-developers Laszlo Szenttornyai and Spencer Nilsen to fund the development of a new, cutting-edge aquatic adventure game called The Big Blue, which will be set a million years in the future, after the extinction of humanity.
The Big Blue will be built around “exploration, quests, collection and spawning of life forms, and action puzzle solving.” All creatures in the game will be controllable, and you’ll be able to direct multiple creatures at one time through swarming behaviors. The game world will be “vast, alive, beautiful, but at the same time alien,” and it will be populated by alien creatures as well, some of which will dwarf even the mighty blue whales of the real world. Many of those creatures will be brought to life by Jon Berg, a visual effects artist whose numerous credits include the design of the chessboard creatures in Star Wars and the AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back.
Sound will be an integral part of the game, and a special “musical engine” will keep music fluid and in “emotional context with the visuals and events.” Joining Nilsen on the audio side of the coin will be composer Bear McCreary, best known for his work on Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead.
Visually, the team says its goal is to create “the most beautiful water and lighting effects ever seen,” and the combination of highly-realistic environments and lifelike procedural animation systems promises to add up to a uniquely believable deep-sea world.
The Big Blue is being developed in Unity, which means it will release initially for Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS, but once those versions out the door the team says it “will convince Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to embrace the game” and support the development of console releases. The game is scheduled to launch on Earth Day 2014 – that’s April 22 – and in the meantime, you can get a look at an early prototype of the game’s technology in action at playchemy.com.