This diving game about grief seems like rather a literal metaphor

Parallel Studio has announced Under the Waves, a single-player narrative-driven game developed with the assistance of Quantic Dream and releasing on PC and other platforms next year. As one might expect from the Quantic Dream involvement, this will be a heavily narrative-driven experience and visually lush.

Under the Waves is apparently an adventure "about the engulfing power of grief." It's set in a techno-futurist 1970s and players assume the role of a submarine-assisted diver called Stan, who's "struggling to overcome a life-changing loss and embrace a new future."

If a grieving diver going deep strikes you as a rather on-the-nose metaphor, the game's blurb makes it explicit but promises that things will begin to take a more surreal turn as Stan explores further and deeper: "The isolation of the deep sea is a fitting manifestation of his state of mind, and as Stan retreads further into his self-imposed solitude, he starts to experience strange events far beneath the waves."

In terms of how this will all work in the hands, you'll be both piloting a submarine through the abyss,  as well as swimming through caves and wrecks. The crafting sounds like it will be a major element, with players salvaging waste to build new tools and explore further. 

"This is the most personal and intense work we have ever done as a studio," says Ronan Coiffec, CEO and game director of Parallel Studio. "We are an indie team of a dozen members, and everything we want to convey is poured into this game, very passionately. From art to writing, from sound design to tech, we all got a chance to leave our mark on Under The Waves. We truly hope you will like it as much as we loved creating it!”

The Quantic Dream partnership involved Parallel Studio having access to various creative tools such as motion capture, voice recording, animation, quality assurance, localization and more. Both studios are based in Paris; such a partnership is a first for Quantic Dream.

"We are thrilled to present Under The Waves to the world, a unique experience created  by a very passionate indie team here in Paris," says Guillaume de Fondaumière, co-CEO of Quantic Dream. "We’ve been able to work closely together to give them all the means they needed to create a game that lived up to their expectations, and achieve their most ambitious project to date. We are also very proud to support Surfrider Foundation  Europe, whose message and actions are core to the theme of Under The Waves."

The game's partnership with Surfrider Foundation Europe, which is a non-profit involved in marine protection, means an unspecified donation from Quantic Dream, and the studio will carry out further activities to support the organisation both before and after launch. This will apparently include an in-game element of 'activations', cross-communication and internal activities.

Catch up with our full list of Gamescom announcements from Opening Night Live and check our Gamescom schedule to find out when to watch everything else.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."