Unveiling Under The Waves

We are proud to announce Under The Waves, created by the talented indie team of Parallel Studio and to be published by Quantic Dream. We revealed the first trailer during the Gamescom 2022 Opening Night Live, for you to enjoy – if you missed it, check it out below!

Coming next year to PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PlayStation 4 and 5, Under The Waves is a single-player narrative-driven adventure game. Set in the depths of the North Sea, in a techno-futuristic late seventies, you play as Stan, a professional diver isolated underwater for a long mission, who goes through a strange series of life-changing events.

To give some context as to why the Quantic Dream Publishing team fell in love with Under The Waves, we asked Ronan Coiffec, CEO & Game Director at Parallel Studio, a few questions, between two polishing sessions on the latest build of the game. Rewinding the whole creative process, Ronan confides the project was grounded in his own past. “It goes all the way back in my youth,” Ronan says. “My father was a Marine, in the French army. He was assigned to different locations around the world, so we used to live abroad, most of the time on islands. And I still spend a lot of time by the ocean, in Brittany, France, where my family is from. So, I always had these watery landscapes and boats around, and they feel like home.”

As for the charm of the late 70s setting, Ronan recalls another memory, which turned out to be a defining moment for Under The Waves many years later. “I had seen captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s boat when I was living in Tahiti; it nurtured my imagination, I became fascinated with his work.” For decades, Captain Cousteau would film his research and expeditions for educational purposes, making him a world-renowned adventurer. “With this game,” Ronan admits, “I wanted to call back this old imagery, hence the film grain. It’s really the ‘madeleine de Proust’ [editor’s note: a cherished childhood memory] for the people of my generation, growing up in the 70s/80s. And then, because my father would take me to visit these warships and installations, I was influenced by the industrial touch of these times.”

Imagined as a love letter to the oceans, Under The Waves invites you to experience life under the sea and to the consequences of human actions. Another crucial childhood memory. “One day, a group of environmental activists came alongside the boat my father was working on. He didn’t really get the whole point of what they were concerned about, because back then he wasn’t aware of the consequences his work was having on the ecosystem. He took some pictures of these eco-warriors and when I saw them, it struck me!” recalls Ronan. “That’s what Under The Waves is all about! The contrast between nature and the industrial impact of humanity. Nowadays, we know what our choices lead to, but in the 70s, it wasn’t so clear.”

The story itself digs somewhere else. Industry veterans and Parallel Studio co-founders Nicolas Bredin, Audio Director, and Sébastien Renard, Writer & Narrative Designer, helped Ronan bring Stan’s journey to life: a gripping story about grief and loneliness, influenced by a personal path as well. “I lost my twin brother a few years ago and it’s a matter I cover in our games. Under The Waves is the final step in my grieving process.” Ronan also garnered inspiration from his friends to make the story more universal. “Stan’s background blends life experiences from Nicolas, Sébastien and myself,” he explains.

screen from the “submarine” prototype

As for the collaboration with Quantic Dream, it all goes way back to 1999 and Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Ronan can’t help but smile when sharing the story: “Nicolas worked as a Sound Designer on Heavy Rain, but I do have my own special connection with Quantic Dream as well. Omikron: The Nomad Soul was my favourite game when I was a kid; I’d even missed the first day of a new school year just to finish it!” he laughs. “I started prototyping submarine game demos in high school, in 2D and 3D, just to learn the basics of video game design. I also created a 3D city, inspired by city in The Nomad Soul. I tried to get an internship at Quantic Dream with those prototypes, but it didn’t work out. I went to work for other studios, then missed a second opportunity at Quantic Dream because of bad timing… my dream of working with this studio kept fading away each time I was about to make it real! But in 2018, I dug out this old submarine thing, and a year later we were pitching it to David Cage. It felt like I was finally going full circle on all the things I imagined as a kid.”

We deeply thank Ronan for finding time in his busy schedule to share these precious memories with us! As you can tell, Under The Waves will take you on a self-reflecting journey filled with mysteries and adventure, and we can’t wait for you to dive in. To be sure not to miss a beat, keep in touch at UnderTheWavesGame.com.