Song of the Deep is a unique project for Insomniac Games. The upcoming underwater action-adventure has a smaller, indie-like scope compared to their bigger titles like Ratchet & Clank. It’s the first game to be published by GameStop’s new publishing arm, GameTrust. And the young heroine is based on Insomniac Games’ Chief Creative Officer Brian Hasting’s 10 year old daughter.
“The original inspiration came from my desire to create a hero for my daughter to look up to,” said Hastings to Gamasutra. “She always likes the female heroes in books, movies, and games, so when we started out working on a submarine-based game I thought about modeling the main character after her.”
Hastings based much of protagonist Merryn’s qualities and design on his daughter Fiona’s feedback and personality. “The hero is brave, smart, courageous,” Hastings says in the video. “This is a hero that represents the qualities I see in Fiona, but also the kind of hero I want her to admire and emulate.”
Hastings is very aware of female representation in gaming. “In video games in particular, the heroines have trended toward the archetype of the ‘sexy badass,’ and I’ve enjoyed playing as many of those sexy badass characters,” Hastings admitted. “But I wanted the hero of this game to be something different. I wanted her to show that you didn’t need to be either sexy or badass to be a hero.”
Hastings describes the game as a Metroidvania, the popular portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania. These games are often 2D with a large explorable world, much of which is locked or gated until you acquire new abilities or tools. “Metroidvania is a perfect fit for putting you into an undiscovered world and letting you explore its secrets on your own,” says Hastings. “Song of the Deep is all about mystery and discovery. It’s about the fantasy that there are incredible things out there that lie just out of sight.”
Song of the Deep launches July 12 for PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. A children’s book called Merryn’s Journey based on the game (and written by Hastings) will also be out the same day.