As a compromise, the team merged the two spellings into the game's title. [10] Wintory was first shown concept art for the project by Nava before Giant Squid Studios was founded and development began. [14] Later it was also released digitally on Xbox One through Xbox Live on December 6, 2016[15] and on Nintendo Switch through the Nintendo eShop on November 29, 2018. Despite this, the developers emulated the zones that each fish would be found in, whether it be a coral reef or the deep ocean where sunlight does not reach. [11] The title is made up of the words "Ab" (water) and "Zû" (to know), translated by the developers as "Ocean of Wisdom". [20] By removing any time limit or air gauge, the team sought to promote a relaxing sense of exploration. To achieve this, Wintory had to play the game extensively and repeatedly to get a sense for what players would experience and what would best match the mood. [10] When creating the environments, Nava drew on his experience developing Flower for Thatgamecompany, creating sporadically scattered interaction points that triggered with player exploration and triggered new life or new elements within each environment. About This Game From the art director of Journey® and Flower®, ABZÛ is a beautiful underwater adventure that evokes the dream of diving. Following the journey of a diver exploring the ocean and restoring life using sonar calls, the gameplay allows the player to freely navigate underwater environments ranging from open water and natural caverns to ancient ruins. [10] The team had "tens of thousands" of fish within the game. [31] Multiple reviewers favorably compared the artistic style and gameplay experience to Journey and the previous work of Thatgamecompany. < > Showing 1-8 of 8 comments . [7], The artistic style was meant to portray a vibrant underwater world, but the team also needed to prevent activity on-screen from overwhelming the player, so a stylized look was chosen to both maintain the game's artistic style and reduce the amount of "visual noise". [5] The diver's course through the game follows a linear path through interconnected areas filled with marine life. I personally think two hours of content is a little short for $20 game, however, it is the kind of game that is absolutely worth playing again and again. [16][17] The game also received a physical release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 31, 2017. ABZÛ only took me a little under two hours to finish the first time, and I think for a game based entirely on moving around and looking at things, that’s probably a good length for it. [14][15][17][18], The game's title stems from Sumerian mythology, particularly the myth of the ocean goddess Tiamat and the fresh water god Abzu uniting to form all life: a reason this was chosen was that myths surrounding land-based life and their supposed origins in a cosmic ocean were a recurring theme in multiple world mythologies. Abzû's creator, director and art director Matt Nava had previously worked as art director for Journey during its three-year development. The game might have the duration of a regular movie but it is a fulfilling experience due to his beautiful atmosphere and ambiance. If you approach Abzû expecting a classic video game experience in terms of gameplay, then chances are you’re going to be disappointed. I completed the first play through in just under 2 hours. [2][3] In a few areas, the diver is also able to explore land-based environments above the water. Nava's love of the ocean, which he explored through his hobby of scuba diving, also figured heavily in the design of Abzû. Released 2016. [32][33] Abzû was nominated at The Game Awards 2016 in the "Best Art Direction" category;[40] at the Golden Joystick Awards in the "Best Original Game", "Best Visual Design" and "PlayStation Game of the Year" categories;[41] and at the 2017 BAFTA Games Awards in the "Artistic Achievement" category. As with his work on Journey and Assassin's Creed Syndicate, he used a soloist alongside an ensemble orchestra: in this case, the solo instrument was an oboe. [5] Jose Otero of IGN enjoyed the continued rewards of exploration despite its minimal amount of gameplay mechanics,[30] while James Davenport of PCGamer enjoyed both the exploration and the ability to meditate and observe the environment. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners in the US and other countries. Initially released as a digital title in August 2016, a retail version for consoles was released in January 2017. The Middle Eastern influences extended to the game's architecture, and incorporated Nava's wish for structures to have meaning beyond being simple scenery or tools for player progression. Each fish species had its own unique artificial intelligence that had cascading levels of awareness and interaction with other species and objects in the environment. [9], The origins of Abzû lay in the development of Journey, an independent video game developed by Thatgamecompany and released in 2012. [21], The score's instrumental element began with using a harp as its base, with a choir being used later. NOT 2 hours if you're at all curious and explore. [10], The types of fish seen in Abzû were based on real-life creatures from the oceans of Earth, and to fit them into the game each species was distilled down to its most distinctive traits. Here: I clocked just under 3 and a half hours according to Steam. [3] Justin McElroy of Polygon felt that the gameplay, while generally enjoyable, was undermined by a lack of player interaction. Aug 2, 2016 @ 3:42pm I completed the first play through in just under 2 hours. The team were able to use both Unreal Engine 4's advanced developer tools and expand the engine's functionality to incorporate unique elements such as fish shoal behavior, vegetation animation, and underwater lighting. Harambe The Almighty. Several members, including director Matt Nava and composer Austin Wintory, had previously worked on the 2012 video game Journey—the ocean setting of Abzû was both a reaction to the desert setting of Journey and inspired by Nava's love of scuba diving. [10], The soundtrack for Abzû was composed, conducted, and produced by Austin Wintory, who had previously worked on Journey and The Banner Saga. One of the main elements Nava incorporated was his love for ancient cultures and their artwork, particularly relating to the myths surrounding the concept of Abzu. The circumflex over the letter "u" caused problems for the team as hardly anyone knew how to type it and the computer programs had trouble handling it as part of the coding. [8] The number of fish presented problems with running the game, but the programming staff developed a method of simplifying each fish's animation without compromising the game's visuals, which "multiplied the number of fish possible on screens by 10". Wondering how long this game is. [26] The soundtrack was also nominated at the 2017 BAFTA Games Awards in the "Music" category, but lost to Virginia. That energy is being forcefully harvested by pyramid-like devices, the development of which disrupted the ocean's balance and brought about the civilization's downfall. [6] Matthew Kato of Game Informer found the lack of interaction was balanced out by the sheer spectacle of environments and swimming with marine life.