The next generation, underwater, action/adventure game by the original Ecco the Dolphin team.
Welcome to the Big Blue
Players will experience the ocean like never before. The look and feel of this game will be strikingly beautiful and at the same time mysterious and terrifying. The ocean, especially a million years in the future, is the perfect setting for a unique game play experience.
The Big Blue is a new aquatic action adventure game from the team that created Ecco the Dolphin.
Our goal is to create the most beautiful water and lighting effects ever seen. Our team has a lot of experience in this area and we plan to push it to the limit.
Using Artificial-life technologies, the Big Blue will be teaming with life. Swarming and flocking behaviors will give the ocean a hyper realistic, living feel. Everything in the Big Blue will be alive and reactive.
Using procedural animation system the creatures of the Big Blue will be very lifelike. The movements through the water, and even above the surface, will be perfect and super realistic.
Music & Sound
At the very heart of the concept, the Big Blue is all about sound and music. The music is not just an accompaniment to the visuals and gameplay, but is at the heart of the experience. To this end we are creating a specialized sound system, a musical engine that will run continuously as you play the game. Parameters and player's interactions will drive music and keep it fluid and in emotional context with the visuals and events that occur in the game.
Spencer Nilsen will team up with Bear McCreary (Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica) to compose the Big Blue's musical score. We couldn’t get Bear for the video but he had this to say:
"Spencer Nilsen's groundbreaking videogame scores not only changed the industry, but also my idea of what videogame music could be when I was a kid. His scores were years ahead of their time and their influence can be heard in all the most popular videogame scores of today, especially the ones I composed! I'm thrilled to collaborate with him on Ed Annunziata's exciting new project, The Big Blue, and look forward to combining our unique musical sensibilities into one cohesive musical vision."
Original sound track downloads and extended, boxed CD collections will be available to backers as a reward for helping us make this game.
The Big Blue is a massive adventure game. The basic game play involves the following:
- Collection and spawning of life forms
- Action puzzle solving
The Big Blue will be a highly unique play experience and will include these unique game play features:
- All Creatures are controllable
- Control multiple creatures at the same time (like a swarm)
- Aquascape and populate your own small sea
- Breed and multiply creatures to be used for various purposes (like quest assistance)
The world of the Big Blue is vast, alive, beautiful but at the same time alien. The deeper you go the darker it gets. The Big Blue is an immense environment to explore.
The moment-to-moment gameplay will be action oriented. Some creatures will be very fast, and can breach the surface like the dolphins. Some can swim very deep and have no need to surface for air. Choosing the right creature for the right quest will be critical.
The world of the Big Blue takes place a million years in the future. This futuristic time frame allows new creatures to evolve. A key member of the Big Blue team is Jon Berg, who designed the walkers in the Empire Strikes Back, and the chessboard creatures from the original Star Wars.
Jon will design our BIG creatures, such as the Leviathans, sea dragons, and evil Gyreforms. We are very lucky that he is interested in working on this project. Here are a few creatures that we are designing:
Singers (Sea Mammals)
These are dolphins, killer whales, and whales. These creatures are our our playable characters and Non-Playable characters.
Leviathans are massive creatures, which can only be described as sea monsters. In the world of the Big Blue nothing is bigger than a Leviathan, which make blue whales of today look like minnows.
Sea Dragons are a new species of creature. They are fast and able to fly above the surface for short distances. Sea Dragons are extremely intelligent and are able to swim to depths that no other creature can. Sea Dragons are very rare and elusive. You may play the big blue for months and never see one. If you do, beware, they could be deadly.
Gyreforms are strange malignant life forms that evolved from the accumulation of plastic trash in the pacific gyre. Since it evolved from plastic, this parasitic life form is NOT organic.
All creatures are controllable in the Big Blue, and many can be spawned as pets or helpers. The game will feature a system that allows alphanumeric codes to share creatures outside of the game.
Creature-Cards allow players to collect creatures and share and trade with their friends. Some creatures will be common, some rare, and some extremely rare. For example white dolphins will be extremely rare, because they will only be available to KS contributors.
If we exceed our goal by 50% the game will get multiplayer, cooperative game play. Players will be able to share environments, creatures, and complete quests as teams.
Earth Day 2014
The Big Blue will launch April 22, 2014. Our backers will get early previews, and insider information during the development of the game. This gives us just over a year for development. There will be many subsequent updates to the game. This will lead the Big Blue to support multiplayer and then finally a massively multiplayer game.
Platforms: Where you can play the Big Blue?
The Big Blue is being developed in Unity. A huge benefit of using Unity is that we can compile to different platforms. The Big Blue will run on Mac, Windows, Linux, and iOS and Android platforms.
Once we are done with the first version of the game I will convince Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to embrace the game. We want the Big Blue everywhere.
Check out the Prototype
We have a VERY early prototype that you can check out now. Click the link below to go to the Big Blue page. Remember this early stuff but its just a taste of what you can expect:
We have the best game programmers and 3D artists in the world. All our team members have years of game making experience. We know how to work together well and we know how to make games. The Big Blue will take 10 people a year to make. It's an enormous amount of work but its our dream project.
Here are the key people on the team:
Ed Annunziata (me)
I have been making games professionally for 20 years. As a game producer and designer, my title list is long and with many are original titles. My passion is to create original games with original play mechanics. This is what gets me up in the morning and pushes me through the day.
I am extremely lucky to have an excellent team. After 20 years most of the original Ecco the Dolphin team still works with me to this day.
Laszlo Szenttornyai has been my partner on more than a dozen games, including the Ecco games. Laszlo is a genius at turning my crazy ideas into implementable development plans. He decides all the technical approaches of the features and is the expert with tools and server side development. I consider Laszlo my better half in creating games and I affectionately refer to him as the Doctor House of programming.
Spencer Nilsen, (my brother of another mother), knows how to affect emotion during game play. Did you ever notice how easy it is for games to drive aggressive feelings? Spencer helps us to drive OTHER feelings such as awe, wonder, and love. Just like what he composed and produced with the Ecco games, the Big Blue will be epic with feelings that go beyond just aggression.
Jon Berg, Creature designer - His approach to creature design and animation is genius. With nature as his Master Teacher, Jon thinks about how a creature evolved, lives, moves and what it does to fulfill its function. He uses all that to inspire the design of a living creature. Jon understands the spark that fires the imagination as he did when he brought the Imperial Walkers to earthshaking life in the Empires Strikes Back. Jon will design our Leviathans and Sea-Dragons.
Proud to Kick it Forward
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Below are the risks as I see them and how I feel confident that they are mitigated.
The Big Blue will require more than 10 people working full time for a year. This is a big window of time for unforeseeable problems to occur. This is mitigated by the fact that we are a veteran team of professional game developers, with an excellent track record, we have created many games and have always been able to apply our creativity to problem solving.
Risk of No Fun
Often playing underwater games it is easy to get lost, or not know what to do next. We have to be very careful to construct the game so that this doesn't happen. The game has to fun and satisfying. We will involve many people to play test throughout development to help keep us on the path to fun. All backers will be invited to join our private community so we will have captive testers and a constant source of "real people" feedback.
An Epic Story that no one cares about
From a story telling perspective we are taking a big risk with the Big Blue. This story has almost NOTHING to do with humans. This is a story about a civilization of sea creatures, NOT about humans. 99.9999% of our human stories are about other humans. The Big Blue's story is not about us. I hope we can make the story unfold in a way that players really care about the characters and the events that happen in the game. I've been thinking about this story for almost 20 years and in my heart I believe people will care, but I have to build this game to find out for sure.
Running out of Money
It may seem like this project is expensive but it isn't. It takes a lot of time and people to make a game like the Big Blue. Since there are subjective elements involved (like fun) it is sometimes hard to predict how much funding would be required to make the game just right. Our experience in making games will help control this risk. The Big Blue will never be "done," it will continue to be developed and evolve over time. Our goal is to make the first version fun and satisfying enough for the game to start paying for itself. The money that we are asking for is to prime the pump. Once the game is born, I am confident it will live on.
I realize that I am asking for a lot of money and a lot of faith in me and my team. I've been thinking about how I can put into words that you can trust me to make this game great. All I can say is that the creation of games is my life. If I won a lottery for half a million dollars I would make this game. This is where my passion is. I promise you that every effort be made to make the Big Blue great, and it will be done with love and inspiration.
I have made games all my adult life. Ronald Reagan was president when I made my first game for the Atari 800 computer. I started out programming then grew into the role of designer and producer. I have many games to my credit, most of my own invention, like Ecco the Dolphin. I consider computer games an art form. When I dream them up and find a way to develop them, they fill my life, my thoughts, and imagination. I always, always, approach the process of making the games with inspiration, confidence, and tenacity.
Another promise I'll make is that I will share with you, the backers of the Big Blue, the entire development process. I don't want to waste any energy on a "making of" video, but I'll give you a front row seat so you can be involved along the way. If you back the Big Blue you will be a part of it's genesis, and when it is born, and lives on, you will be proud of it, like me.
I believe the Big Blue will be all that I promise it will be, if you believe.
Thanks for your support, and I'll see you in the ocean! 'V'
No. While we are the same creative and development team that created the original Ecco the Dolphin games, the Big Blue is a whole new universe. It's Bigger and more contemporary than the classic game, Ecco the Dolphin.
Yes, we are using the Unity game engine which runs on Linux systems.
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Name in the game credits as game backer, both in the game itself and on the game web site. Access to the Big Blue backer community and progress reports, art, and videos during the creation of the game. First progress will be posted, April 2013.Estimated delivery:
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Reward #1 + Full unlock of the game when completed!Estimated delivery:
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Reward #1 + Access to playable demo and prototype versions of the game during development. First download available on or before September 2013. Full unlock of the game when it is complete. 1 random Creature-Card (randomly selected.)Estimated delivery:Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
All previous rewards, + 5 Creature-Cards (randomly selected) The first track of the Big Blue musical score, pre-mastered digital download. A copy of the Big Blue Atlas, .PDF file. A copy of the Big Blue Creature guide, .PDF file. (See Rewards update for details)Estimated delivery:Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
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33 backers All gone!
Reward #2 + 5 Creature-Cards (randomly selected) The first track of the Big Blue musical score, pre-mastered digital download.Estimated delivery:Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
Reward #3 + 1 Very Rare, black dolphin Creature-Card (only available to backers.) Original Music Soundtrack by Spencer Nilsen & Bear McCreary, Pre-launch digital download. Character naming rights: Name an NPC sea creature character in the game (must follow guidelines.)Estimated delivery:Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
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Reward #4 + 1 White Orca Creature-Code Collectable Card (only available to backers.) 4 Additional White Dolphin Creature-Code Collectable Cards (5 total.) Signed and numbered creature sketches and storyboards by Jon Berg (Available October 2013.) Original Music Soundtrack by Spencer Nilsen & Bear McCreary CD (Limited Edition)Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Reward #5 + Creature-Code Collectable Card pack (10 random creatures) with at least 1 Sea-Dragon (EXTREMELY rare.) Special Edition boxed game DVD and CD sound track, (signed by ALL members of the Big Blue team)Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
Reward #5 + Creature-Code Collectable Card pack (30 random creatures) with at least 5 Sea-Dragons. Special version of the game that includes a secret, inaccessible sea (only available to backers at this level and above) Special invite to the Limited Closed Beta of the game. Available January 2014, feedback mandatory) When we achieve our long term goal of evolving the Big Blue to be an MMO, This reward includes a Lifetime subscription to the Big Blue MMO.Estimated delivery:Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
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Reward #7 + 2 Exclusive invites to the Big Blue launch party, Earth Day, 2014 (April 22, 2014.) Will be held in San Francisco. Party with members of the Big Blue Team and special guests. (Accommodations and Travel not included.)Estimated delivery:Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
Reward #8 + 1 Creature-Card of the extremely rare Glass Dolphin (only available to backers - NO others will be issued, ever.) A custom Big Blue Sea-Globe, hand made by the Big Blue artists.Estimated delivery:Add $50 USD to ship outside the US
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Reward #9 + One of two original maquettes, Jon Berg will sculpt as part of the creature design process: A 3D model of a Leviathan or Sea-Dragon, made from Polymer Clay. Jon will take a mold of it but you will own the one and only original sculpture. Which of the two creatures you get is based on a coin flip.Estimated delivery:
- (35 days)