E3 2008 teaser trailer logo
|Developer(s)||Dark Energy Digital|
|Publisher(s)||Dark Energy Digital|
|Platform(s)||Xbox 360 (Xbox Live)|
|Release date(s)||Episode One:
|Rating(s)||ESRB: Rating Pending
Hydrophobia is an upcoming 2010 survival-adventure video game developed and published by Dark Energy Digital. Originally slated for release on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, the game has since been scheduled for an exclusive release in episodic form on Xbox Live. The game was originally scheduled for release in March 2009, but since it was revealed that the game would be an episodic online release initially, no release date has yet been set for the first episode of the game. The game's engine, HydroEngine, provides realistic fluid dynamics technology for flowing water, allowing it to interact with the surroundings. The levels of Hydrophobia were designed using InfiniteWorlds; a game creation system which uses bespoke procedural technology to allow significantly reduce the games filesize, making it much faster to download than would otherwise be the case
Gameplay will involve the player being able to interact with the environment, and the realistic water dynamics. Rob Hewson stated that "player versus environment is certainly a large part of the experience, the wonderful thing about water is that it is constantly affecting every area of the environment, so you get incredible amounts of emergent behaviour. The player constantly has to adapt to the environment and react quickly because doors, walls and windows are going to cave in differently each time according to the distribution of water."
Players will also be able to visit previous locations that have been submerged and are able to interact with them in various ways. Hewson stated that players are able to "fight through an area one time and there might be a foot of water flowing around and affecting the environment, another person might play through the same area and blow out walls or windows causing a great deal of water to flow into the scene, meaning perhaps the gameplay switches to floating cover. Another player might shoot fuel barrels which let even more water into the scene but also spawn floating fuel fires which are carried around with the flow and find they need to resort to underwater action."
The game is set in the mid 21st century when the world has fallen into the chaos of the Great Population Flood, and takes place aboard the Queen of the World, a luxury city-sized ocean vessel, built by a group of corporate giants known as the "Five Founding Fathers"; the group who, due to the Queen, have prospered while the rest of the world suffered. At the beginning of the game, the craft is bombed by a group of terrorists known as the Malthusians—named after political economist Thomas Malthus who predicted that population growth would one day outpace agricultural production, returning society to a subsistence level of existence.
Kate Wilson, the protagonist, is a systems engineer, who becomes a reluctant hero when terrorists attack and take over a futuristic city-sized cruise liner, the Queen of the World. On-board the ship, she serves as part of the security detail. She is eventually forced to confront her fears aboard the Queen in order to stop the terrorist attack. The terrorist attack takes place on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Queen of the World, and it's up to Kate to stop them.
The HydroEngine is a video game engine created by Dark Energy Digital for Hydrophobia. Developed over three years, the engine has a unique capability to model flowing water and other liquids with a realism unprecedented in video games. It is entirely dynamic, which means the effect is not repeated and thus allowing different effects each time. InfiniteWorlds is Dark Energy's development platform, which interfaces directly with the HydroEngine. According to the developers it is "an underlying architecture, which can interface with bespoke editors tailored to individual game projects".