Intel Aids Immersion auf Still Wakes the Deep 

von Intel Gaming |

First-person horror game Still Wakes the Deep is the brainchild of The Chinese Room, a rising studio based in Brighton, UK. The team is already responsible for the lauded Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and Little Orpheus. Their rich and emotional stories have scooped up prestigious gaming awards across the world, including BAFTA, Apple Design, DICE, GDC Choice, and more.

Still Wakes the Deep looks set to continue that winning trend. Set in December 1975 on an offshore oil rig, players take on the role of Caz McLeary, a former boxer who accepts a job on the rig known as the Biera D. Deep under the surface, the drilling pierces a layer which unleashes an unspeakable horror. All communication with the mainland is severed. All exits are gone. Caz is locked into a seemingly impossible battle to survive. 

Executive producer Bruno Julien says the game is for players that want “well-written stories, realistic and human characters, and intricate mysteries.” The team wanted players to experience a scary and original setting, far from comforting civilization (or cell phones, as it’s the 1970s). “[The rig is] a great setup for the story we wanted to tell,” Julien affirmed. “Our inspiration pitch is Annihilation meets The Poseidon Adventure.” In other words, they sought the “beautiful horror” aspect of online shooter Annihilation, where the goal is to be the last player standing. Added to that is the dramatic human versus ocean aspect of the famed disaster movie.

“The game should provide a rollercoaster of emotions,” Julien continued. “We want the player to feel connected to the story and its characters, and feel fully immersed as Caz experiences the extraordinary. Our goal is that when they finish the game, a little bit of Caz will remain with them.” 

To achieve this connection, the team has the environment evolve visually and auditorily as players progress. The rig and the sea feel like actual characters; even the “weight” of the water was a consideration. The team knew that, as a true antagonist, the water should feel slow and dreadful to swim around in. However, if it’s too heavy, the players’ experience is too frustrating. A balance was found. “We realized that it was scarier to be chased rather than being killed. [So] we finely-tuned its speed to give the player the feeling that they almost got caught and barely survived.”

To create a world that players feel themselves becoming a part of requires smooth and immersive visual quality. Julien attests that the team’s use of Intel® Xe Super Sampling (XeSS) integration and CPU optimization was of vital importance with this. XeSS uses AI-enhanced upscaling, enabling better performance with high image fidelity, and offers ultra-high-definition visuals powered by hardware acceleration and an AI-based algorithm. Designed with all gamers in mind, XeSS ist freigeschaltet, so dass es auf weit verbreiteter Hardware funktioniert.

Intel provided Julien’s team of developers with an XeSS plugin for Unreal Engine. Straightforward to integrate, the plugin gives players more setup options, so all can witness the image quality and performance benefits from AI upscaling. “We want players to have the best experience possible,” Julien confirms, “regardless of what platform they play the game on.”

With the game’s release imminent, Julien is already looking to the future. “We are going to build upon the learnings of this game to keep on creating stories and experiences with better gameplay, more immersion, and more intense emotions. We will always try to surprise people with our next endeavour.” Stay tuned for more chills, challenges and … surprises.