About this project
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We, the Aquanox Development team, consisting of Digital Arrow and Nordic Games, want to bring back the Aquanox-series. We have a joint vision on how to re-imagine the unique underwater gameplay of Aquanox and you can help us shape that vision. With your help we can create a game unlike any other out there, and you can truly impact the development of the game early on!
Aquanox Deep Descent is a re-imagining of both the gameplay and world of the original AquaNox-series, taking into account the scientific advances made since the first game. Like its predecessors, the game will be an underwater vehicle shooter, in which players control a variety of customizable ships to engage in submarine battles in the dystopian deep sea world of Aqua.
- Fight - Action-packed vehicle shooter combat that supports a wide variety of play styles
- Co-op - 4 player drop-in co-op, with four unique pilots who are all involved in the game story
- Customize - Create your ship from an extensive range of ship pieces and various customization options
- Explore - Discover the deepest corners of the ocean
- RPG Elements - Mining, salvaging, trading and looting
- PVP - Classic multiplayer modes, including Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch Dogfighting
The Aquanox-series has its roots in the game Archimedean Dynasty, German: Schleichfahrt, released in 1996, which was followed by AquaNox in 2001 and AquaNox 2: Revelation in 2003.
We had cooperated before on several other projects and two years ago we started discussions on how to bring back Aquanox. This resulted in the early prototype, built on Unreal Technology (UE3), that we used to create all the in-game pics and videos you see on this page.
We are currently transitioning to Unreal Engine 4 on which the final game will be built, if this campaign is successful.
In addition to that, assets and research from an unreleased THQ underwater action game called Deep Six have been integrated into the pre-production of the game.
HOW CAN I BE PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS?
- To give something back right away for your support and trust in our project, you can vote about which Stretch Goals should be our priority
- Based on the votes of the backers, we will expand the game (for more info please check the Stretch Goals section below)
- Depending on the reward level you choose, there are even more ways of being part of the game development, like Alpha and Beta Testing
You can help us create the biggest Aquanox-game yet, with your pledge and your voice!
The game is set hundreds of years after a cataclysm has forced humanity to abandon the surface of the Earth and populate the oceans. The scarce remainders of the human population struggle to survive in loose settlements. Traditional countries have ceased to exist, instead powerful factions battle for supremacy and control over the resources of the deep sea.
Aquanox Deep Descent does not tie into the original series directly. Still, the foundations of its story world are derived from what made the original game world stand out:
- The deep sea, unexplored, mysterious, hazardous
- Humankind forced to live under dire circumstances, far from the world we are used to, but still faced with the most basic of human problems
- A multi-layered ecosystem, in which the political and economical balance of power is ever shifting; the struggle for survival does not grant the luxury of simple categories like good or bad
- A dystopian vision of our Earth and oceans, no alien planet, no parallel dimension
- Characters whose personal problems inform and dictate the narrative of the game
In short, a world worth exploring.
Torpedoes, mines, mortars, counter measures and more. Just like the original series, Aquanox Deep Descent's core gameplay focuses on dynamic shooter action. Due to the underwater setting, all combat elements change drastically, creating a completely new experience. The weapons, the physics, the movement and of course the deep sea flora and fauna open up a lot of possibilities for unique gameplay.
As the game will feature solely vehicle-based combat, we can focus on creating movement and combat controls that really make you feel the deep sea pressure and the impact of underwater currents. A well-timed directional boost might decide whether an enemy torpedo passes by you or sends you down to Davy Jones's Locker.
We aim to combine the action-focused combat of the AquaNox games, with the more tactical combat of its predecessor Archimedean Dynasty (German: Schleichfahrt). To offer maximum flexibility in regards to the play style choices of each player, we have implemented a free-view option that lets you look around your cockpit and interact with it.
Other key elements that change drastically due to the setting, are the level design and the range of sight. We are working and refining a system that lets us create a lot of vertical gameplay, through complex cave systems. Your range of sight will depend on how you equip your ship, as visibility in the deep sea is limited and seeing the enemy before he sees you is crucial.
Changing around the various parts on your ship will work similar to equipment in an RPG game. Each part will affect your vehicle in different ways, improving stats like damage output, maneuverability, speed, as well as depth reach and range of sight. Our goal is to allow you to mix parts from all factions in the game. Each faction differs in style and level of technology.
The secondary weapons allow you to diversify your play style, e.g. equipping a lot of automatic weapons to focus on salvaging, or tactical weapons like mortars (for attacks from above) and mines (if you're being chased).
The story experience has always been key in the Aquanox-series and we want to make sure that the game plays great whether you play it on your own, or with your friends in our 4 player drop-in co-op. We are planning a system that ensures that all four player characters are involved in the narrative, so that when you play with a friend, you are also part of the story.
To make sure you can also just have a few quick dogfights against your friends, we'll also have classic multiplayer modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag etc., all adapted to our underwater setting. We hope to get a lot of our backers involved at Beta stage to help us refine the multiplayer and co-op, as we believe that you can't create a great multiplayer experience without the input of the players.
The deep sea is at the heart of everything in the game and exploring it is just as important as fighting other ships. The game world of Aquanox Deep Descent will be what we call a semi-open world. It will be divided into larger zones, each zone can be explored freely, and the player can always travel back to a zone he or she came from.
To encourage the players to interact with the world of Aqua, we will implement RPG-elements like trading, looting, salvaging and mining. These will all be related to the core combat gameplay, and widen the range of options on how to improve your equipment in the game.
You can salvage the enemies that you have destroyed, and the salvage will depend on which weapon you used to destroy them. You can explore the depths to find sunken wrecks that might hold rare equipment parts. Or you mine hydrothermal vents - black and white smokers - and sell the obtained resources.
Through the stretch goals we can push the scope of the game, and add features that would otherwise be left out due to budget restraints. On top of that, we want your input on what is most important to you.
We have come up with a voting system, that will let you decide, which stretch goal out of all the goals we have come up with, should be prioritized.
Our aim was to go back to the basic idea behind Kickstarter, allowing gamers to have a true impact on the development of a game. And with the Stretch Goal Votings, backers have more influence on the game's development than ever.
Once the funding goal is reached, and subsequently every time we pass a stretch goal step ($ 45K) all Backers can vote which stretch goal should be next. As some stretch goals are bigger than others, they count as two goal steps, so if e.g. SG-B is chosen during the first voting, it will unlock at $ 165K, if SG-A is chosen it will unlock at $ 120K.
This way not only do you enable us to make a bigger game, but you help us shape it in the earliest possible stage. Out of all the extra features we've thought of, you can tell us, which are most important to you. Of course the earlier you back, the more times you can vote.
Below is a list of the possible stretch goals you will initially be able to vote for:
An additional non-combat ship class that can be used to explore very narrow cave systems, or repair stations and even your own ship.
The game will be ported to the PS4. This stretch goal counts for two goal steps.
The game will be ported to the Xbox One. This stretch goal counts for two goal steps.
The game receives extended modding possibilities, both in regards to the ships, as well as the levels (PC only).
The Reckoning System defines the reactions to the player’s interactions with the various factions in the world of Aqua. This stretch goal would allow us to create more sophisticated AI that is capable of more complex reactions to the player’s choices.
An additional game zone is added to the semi-open game world, including side-quests and bounty hunting.
The game receives additional multiplayer maps and a unique AOS PVP game mode.
We will add the option to use a Virtual Reality device for the game. Depending on the support of the respective platform, we'll decide on the best possible device for the game.
Stations become fully walkable for the player character in an isometric view, instead of being presented in a static view.
We add songs and use them in the game, in addition to the instrumental soundtrack.
Customize your own private station and upgrade it to create your own little hideout in the world of Aqua.
We will create an extended matchmaking system for all multiplayer modes, that ensures that players can easily find other players of a similar skill level to fight against.
We've put together a lot of options for you to pick from, whether you prefer to leave your mark in the game, or have some nice physical goodies to decorate your home with. Please note that all pictures of the rewards are at this point representative photos of or approximations to what the final rewards will look like.
To help you get an overview of all the funky stuff we've come up with, here are some overview pictures of all the rewards and what's included in them:
This is an overview of all the reward levels that do not include any physical components, all you'll need to redeem them is a healthy internet connection.
BASIC PHYSICAL EDITIONS
Our physical editions basically work like Russian matryoshka dolls: the physical Collector's Edition is included in the Kickstarter Edition. The Kickstarter Edition is included in the Limited Edition. The Kickstarter and the Limited Edition are only available now and will never be available in stores!
HIGH LEVEL PHYSICAL EDITIONS
Very limited, very special, we're looking forward to meeting you!
For a complete graphical overview of all editions, please click here.
This edition comes with a copy of the game, plus a bunch of extra content:
- Making of videos that give you extensive insight into the joys and challenges of creating Aquanox Deep Descent
- The moody Soundtrack of the game, written by composer Gareth Coker and other collaborators
- A high-quality Art Book with concept art, renderings and background info
- Extra in-game content: a pack of 10 additional symbols/decals that you can use to decorate your ships and stand out from the crowd; one unique cockpit, which like all cockpits in the game will have particular stats like range of sight and more
The physical edition of the CE, with the game on disc, a Making Of DVD, Soundtrack CD and the printed Art Book (and all the in-game content of course) is included in the following Rewards: Kickstarter Edition, Limited Edition and any Reward level that includes one of these two editions.
The Kickstarter Edition is only available now during the campaign. It includes the physical Collector's Edition, inside a shiny Metal Box, along with an Aquanox Dog Tag, with one tag and one Manta Ray Pendant.
On top of the digital content that is part of the CE, the Kickstarter Edition includes an additional three-part quest row that sends you searching for unique pieces of equipment only available through the Kickstarter Edition. Plus an alternative voice for your ship computer ("Incoming!", "Enemy movement detected", etc.) and when you join a multiplayer battle, the game will announce your arrival through a special fanfare and by displaying a highlighted version of your chosen name. You'll have Beta Access and your name will be in the credits of the game!
The Kickstarter Edition is included in the Limited Edition.
The rarest among our editions, limited to 75 boxes. It includes the Kickstarter Edition and Collector's Edition, the latter signed by the developers, along with all their in-game content. Plus physical copies of Aquanox and Aquanox 2: Revelation. And to store your complete Aquanox-collection - all 5 DVDs/CDs - you get the ultimate deep sea DVD box, shaped like an antique Diving Helmet. Just picture it in your living room. What a beauty :)
If you pledge the Limited Edition, you will also have Alpha Access and be among the first to play Aquanox Deep Descent. We are looking forward to your input!
Note: The Limited Edition does not include the game Archimedean Dynasty.
Starting with the Early Adaptor and Earliest Adaptor reward level, you can be part of the extended development team and be one of the first to play the game and give your input on the feel of the controls, the physics, the handling of the weapons, the level design and more. Most of the higher limited rewards also grant Beta or Alpha access!
Through these reward levels we wanted to give you the chance to leave your mark in the game. If you choose to be a Creator, you can name a ship part, a battleship, an outpost (medium-sized station)or help us design an achievement in the game. If you prefer to see your actual face in the game, or that of a friend, check out our Aquanaut reward levels and become an NPC in the game, named after you or a person of your choice. All names have to be approved by the development team, as we will for example not approve any derogatory terms to be used as a name of a ship part.
Want to get a glimpse into how voice actors breathe life into the game characters? Or do you simply want to join us, as we fill our sleep deprived bodies with beer and other magical beverages once the game is done? With these two reward levels you can either experience a day in a voice recording studio, or celebrate the release of the game with us at the launch party! As it makes a big difference, whether you're coming from Australia or somewhere in Europe, we have to ask you to cover the flight costs yourself, everything else is on us!
The game will feature audio logs that players can listen to, while they explore Aqua. This reward is a unique chance to lend your voice to a row of these audio logs. You'll be able to discuss them beforehand with the writer of the game, spend a day at the recording studio and celebrate your first role in a game with us at the launch party! As above, we ask you to cover your flight costs, everything else is on us!
Check out this selection of work from our team members:
inMomentum by Digital Arrow, soundtrack by Gareth Coker
Ori and the Blind Forest and other musical pieces by Gareth Coker
This Kickstarter campaign is a joint project by the developer Digital Arrow and the production company and publisher Nordic Games. In short: We are on Kickstarter to prove that the world of Aquanox appeals to gamers all around the globe and to prove to our partner Nordic Games that Aquanox Deep Descent deserves their full support. We wanted to go back to the original idea of Kickstarter:
- Making a unique game possible that you want to see realized
- Reviving a niche-franchise that would otherwise not be continued
- Giving back the power to you, the players, to really influence the development and features of the game
- A game of the size and complexity that we envision needs to appeal to audiences world-wide to be a success
- The Aquanox-series is very popular among German fans, but less known in other territories
- Reaching our main funding goal would allow us to make this game happen
- Nordic Games will cover the rest of the development budget, which is much higher than the funding goal, if this campaign is successful
- The goal of this campaign is to prove that there is world-wide demand for a dark dystopian vehicle shooter in a unique deep sea setting
- Every Dollar pledged in this campaign will go into the game and into the production of the rewards
- If we exceed the main funding goal, we will use all additional funds to make the game bigger and better, based on the input of the backers
- We have prepared Stretch Goals in case we exceed our main funding goal, which would allow us to create an even more open and diverse deep sea reality
Risks and challenges
- Will this project come out in its promised form and within the promised time frame?
If we reach our funding goal, we will have the full support of Nordic Games. This will help us focus on the development of the game and ensure that Aquanox Deep Descent will be released on time and including all the extra content you, the backers, have made possible.
Nordic Games has previously successfully executed a Kickstarter Campaign in partnership with the developer King Art Games for the game The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, which came out in its promised form, within the promised time frame and including all extra features made possible through the Kickstarter backers.
- What if a lot of the stretch goals are funded, will this delay the project?
We of course hope that many of our stretch goal will be reached. As we work with a distributed approach, we are flexible enough to react if the scope of the game changes. However, if one of the stretch goals would unlikely be achievable within the planned time frame, we will clearly state that in its description!
- Will you be able to deliver a game that is true to the spirit of the AquaNox-series?
As we are all fans of the original games, we are confident that we can deliver a dark, immersive game with the gameplay mechanics necessary to deliver a great Aquanox game that will meet the expectations both of the fans of the original series, and newcomers to the world of Aqua.
We are fully focusing on PC Windows (Win7, 8, Win 10) - other OSes like OSX and Linux are high on our list but we cant fully confirm these platforms right now especially not for the initial launch. However we know that a lot of core gamers are on Linux and we love Linux and SteamOS as a platform for games as well. We have already done several other games on Linux therefore a Linux version is very likely.
Our goal is to make Aquanox available to as many people as possible and we aim to deliver a version that doesn't rely on platform services – so a DRM free version. However we can't promise that for sure at this stage; but if you look at the Nordic Games project history with GOG you'll see they are big supporters of DRM free versions!
To make sure that all players are involved in the story, not just the main player, we have a team of 4 pilots as the main characters of the game (think A-Team or Ninja Turtles :) ). Each pilot has a unique personality and is fully involved in the story.
If you play on your own, you can switch between the pilots and pick the character best suited for each mission, because they also have unique stats, e.g. one might be better at scout-missions, the other a better heavy bomber pilot;
If you play with friends, each picks one of the pilots; in any case, all four characters are always fully involved in the story.
We will keep you up to date on everything regarding the project via the email-address you use for PayPal.
We do not own the rights to Archimedean Dynasty (so we could not e.g. port it to new platforms). But we see it as part of the original trilogy of games and thus take a lot of inspiration from it for the reboot of the Aquanox series; especially the bigger tactical depth of the game is something we want to bring back into the combat of the game, to give players a lot of choices regarding their personal play style.
Nordic Games acquired in 2011 all assets of JoWooD. JoWooD was the owner of Schleichfahrt and Aquanox developer Massive Development and these rights were included in the transaction. After Schleichfahrt, Massive Development kept the IP and universe rights but the name Schleichfahrt and the game itself was still owned by Blue Byte. Blue Byte can make a game using the Schleichfahrt name, but they cannot use the universe and story utilized in Aquanox and Schleichfahrt.
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