Daedalic Entertainment has announced the upcoming Hidden Deep, an intriguing looking puzzle-platformer that leans heavily on classic sci-fi and horror movies. The game is the first production from Cogwheel Software, aka Łukasz Kałuski, who interestingly enough made Amiga games in the 90s before using his coding skills elsewhere for the past two decades. "Since I was a kid I was dreaming of being a sci-fi movie director like James Cameron who will forever be my absolute Master," writes Kałuski, and boy does his game show it.
Hidden Deep is set in a research facility kilometres beneath the ocean's floor, and you play the classic role of the search-and-rescue team: sent in to find out why the station's crew have disappeared. It's a single-player game where you control a team, both directly and by giving orders, and the platforming is about a 'realistic' style of human movement: careful use of grappling hooks, ladders and ropes rather than bouncing around everywhere. The world has its own physics simulation and destructible terrain, and your team has heavy machinery like tunnel-borers to work through it.
Part of the game is this exploration-stroke-puzzle experience, and then there's the nasty stuff. These suboceanic caves are filled with danger but what's most interesting (and you can see this demonstrated in the trailer above) is how sneaky and unexpected the threats can be. Movie buffs will spot an obvious homage to the Thing at the end of this video, while a gadget like the flying scanner is lifted more-or-less wholesale from Prometheus. Oh, and that Half-Life barnacle vibe... brr.
There's something about Hidden Deep already: this game has an atmosphere. The considered, slow animations and movements of the human characters, the vast scale of what surrounds their tiny bodies, the swift and shocking way that bad things happen.
Hidden Deep is due on Steam in 2021, and will have a demo during the Steam Games Festival (Feb 3-9). The full game will have more than 50 narrative-driven levels, a randomised challenge mode, and doubtless many more James Cameron references to winkle-out.