Poisoned and plucked clean, Earth's oceans are long dead. Now humanity roams the stars looking for signs of life—and new planets to raze. Such is the bleak world of In Other Waters, a "unique exploration game" about a xenobiologist and an AI exploring an alien ocean. It's currently on Kickstarter (opens in new tab), with lead developer Gareth Damian Martin asking for $30,647 to fund the project. At the time of writing, its campaign has earned $7,310 and will run for another 26 days.
In Other Waters stars Ellery Vas, a marine researcher who moonlights as a diving instructor to make ends meet. Her partner, Minae Nomura, vanishes while exploring a new planet, named Gliese 667C, and Ellery chases after her. But you, the player, are not Ellery. You're her AI companion—her only companion in this strange turquoise sea.
As an AI, you guide Ellery on her expeditions via a "tactile interface" of sonars and gauges and panels. "Through this unique mode of interaction you will chart underwater courses, scan environments for vital clues, and navigate this unearthly ocean," the Kickstarter reads. You can sample this for yourself in the free playable demo available on Itch (opens in new tab).
With each expedition, you can search for tech and resources to upgrade your vessel and abilities, track and study local creatures to deepen your understanding of the local fauna, or search for new zones and paths which may lead you closer to Minae. Martin says In Other Waters was largely inspired by Metroid Prime, Ecco: Tides of Time and Sunless Sea, and it shows. Incidentally, lead Sunless Sea writer Alexis Kennedy will serve as a "mentor" on In Other Waters.
In Other Waters gets weirder and more interesting the closer you look. Martin says it's also an exploration of environmentalist ideology and human-AI symbiosis, and it bucks a lot of trends. For example, rather than a companion app, it has a companion book, A Study of Gliese 667Cc, written by Minae Nomura herself. Available physically and as a pdf, it serves as a visual guide to your adventures and bridges the gap between Minae's disappearance and Ellery's arrival.
Provided its Kickstarter is successful, In Other Waters is expected to release in early 2020.