Depth to deliver sharks vs. humans multiplayer

By Jeff Mattas, Jul 09, 2011 1:00pm PDT

Since August of last year, indie developer Team Depth has been hard at work on a very intriguing new competitive multiplayer game that will pit teams of greedy, deep-sea diving treasure hunters against schools of man-eating sharks.

The first official trailer for Depth (below) was revealed at this year's Game Developers Conference, and, as you can see, the UDK-developed action game is already looking quite atmospheric. In much the same way it makes me wonder how the game is just now hitting my radar, Depth's premise is so simple and brilliant that it may make you wonder why a similar game hasn't been made yet.

In Depth, both the shark and human teams will include three playable classes. The humans must try to gather as much sunken treasure as possible, while avoiding becoming lunch for the other team of patrolling sharks. While the game does feature some light shooting mechanics, the primary focus is on stealth. The two basic "weapons" available to the human player classes–the "Tag gun" and "Speargun"–are described as "pretty much non-lethal." The "Tag Gun," for example, allows players to shoot and mark sharks so that they'll appear on friendly radar. Even the "Speargun" is mainly meant to disable sharks when trying to escape, or providing covering fire for teammates; however, each shot must be charged for maximum effect, giving it a very slow re-fire rate.

When playing as the sharks, players will be able to track their prey via sight and sound. Blood in the water, fast movements, discharged weapons, and even the elevated heartbeats of divers (which rise when danger is nearby) will help tip off the aquatic eating machines. "Foliage, rubble, tunnel systems, or crevices," will all serve as human hiding spots, but the humans are not the only ones with tricks up their sleeves. Tiger sharks, for example, can use their natural camouflage to hide near treasure spots, and as noted in an official response to a fan question on the Depth forums, the elevated heartbeat that normally alerts players to danger won't be triggered by a Tiger shark in hiding, until it reveals itself.

Though aiming to deliver a tense, stealth-driven experience, Alex of Team Depth, clarifies on the game forum that there will be plenty of action-packed moments to go around.

Stealth is a big part of this game. Definitely. But I hope I didn’t give the false impression it was all sneaking and no action. When action kicks up in Depth it’s bloody, intense, and people lose lots of arms and legs.

I just wanted to make sure people didn’t think they’d be jumping in the water with a bazooka and blowing sharks away. A huge part of the reason sharks are so frightening is that they maintain total superiority when you are in their habitat. I feel if we take that away, you might as well just be fighting terrorists or something.

Depth's "full-body dismemberment" feature supports this claim. Sharks can attack (and forcibly remove) individual limbs of human divers, and biting off a diver's head is a sort of "finishing move" available after other limbs have been consumed, as are "torso bites," which are available to the largest sharks.

Depth is currently under development as a PC-only title, but Team Depth notes that since the game is being built using UDK, versions for other platforms aren't out of the question. Depth will also be multiplayer-focused, and won't feature a single-player campaign, per se, though "you’ll most likely be able to swim around with bots." Specs for Depth on PC are also yet to be determined.

(via TIGSource)

Reposted from Indie Games Channel with permission.

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