Ecco the Dolphin Creator Kickstarts The Big Blue

Ecco the Dolphin Creator Kickstarts The Big Blue

The producer and designer of Ecco the Dolphin is taking to Kickstarter to help fund the development of the "next generation underwater action/adventure game."

Look up Ed Annunziata on Mobygames and you'll learn two things. One, that his name is actually E. Ettore Annunziata, and two, that he is the producer and designer on the renowned Ecco the Dolphin, the 1992 underwater action adventure starring a bottlenose dolphin. Ecco was a pretty big game back in the day and now Annunziata, in collaboration with composer Spencer Nilsen, is hoping to create another undersea adventure that will be even bigger and better.

The Big Blue is intended to provide a deeply realistic simulation of ocean life, both visually and through "swarming and flocking behaviors [that] will give the ocean a hyper-realistic, living feel." Even more important than the visuals, however, will be the sound and music, which the Kickstarter claims will be "at the heart of the experience."

The game will be set a million years in the future, so it won't quite be the ocean, or the Earth, we're familiar with. Humanity is extinct, and new creatures, like Leviathans, Sea Dragons and even inorganic life called Gyneforms all inhabit the ocean alongside the "Singers" - the dolphins, whales and killer whales that make up the game's characters and NPCs.

Nilsen will be joined on the project by Bear McCreary of Battlestar Galactica and Walking Dead fame, while Jon Berg, a visual effects artist who has worked on several Star Wars films as well as The Fly, Robocop 2 and numerous others, will design many of the game's creatures. And even though it's very early days, what's on display in the Kickstarter pitch video looks pretty hot; Ecco was never my thing but The Big Blue may well be.

Which is not, for the record (and as always), an endorsement. As good as it looks, buyer beware; if The Big Blue is terrible, or if Annunziata decides to use the funds to finance an extended vacation to Maui, you'll have nobody to blame for throwing money at this thing but yourself. Rather unusually, there are not a lot of low-end tiers for shallow-pocketed supporters; backer tiers start at $10 and then go to $25, $50, $100, $250 and up. The Kickstarter goal is $665,000, of which, at the time of writing, a little over $15,000 has been raised.

Source: Kickstarter

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So this is basically Spore Under The Sea?

He seems to be a very driven guy. According to an article on Polygon, he has been trying with SEGA to greenlight a new Ecco game for a number of years now; the article mentioned he was considering Kickstarter if SEGA wouldn't take the idea.

Here's the piece, which is an interesting read anyway:
http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/1/30/3925432/fighting-the-tide-the-struggle-to-revive-ecco-the-dolphin

It is kind of interesting how his stretch goals make me NOT want to donate. "If we achieve x2 our goal, we can make it an MMO"
Oh good!

Clive Howlitzer:
It is kind of interesting how his stretch goals make me NOT want to donate. "If we achieve x2 our goal, we can make it an MMO"
Oh good!

Having the same thought here. An underwater exploration game has always been an intersting idea but put other people in my experience and I'll stop playing.

Not that I don't love and miss Ecco the Dolphin, but it's not exactly the most prestigious career to be known for.

This looks pretty interesting, though. I'll have to keep my eye on it. It'd be nice to have another Ecco-esque game.

Clive Howlitzer:
It is kind of interesting how his stretch goals make me NOT want to donate. "If we achieve x2 our goal, we can make it an MMO"
Oh good!

[begin sarcasm]
That sounds great! Back when I played the original Ecco games in the old 16-bit days, even though online multiplayer wasn't a thing, I knew what was missing was another thousand or so people to share the oceans with. [sarcasm ends]

Something like that might just be bearable though, if they went down a Journey-like route, meaning you would be restricted to using animal sounds instead of actually speaking.

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.

Yeh, this guys got drive alright. He's not going try and convince the 3 main console manufacturers. He [i]will]/i] convince them!

I really liked the Ecco games, so it's cool that something like this is on the go. It's certainly got a long way to go though to reach it's goal and not very long to do it.

I took a look because I loved Ecco. Saw MMO mentioned "i'm out".

[EDIT] Also nicely done with the reminding me Ecco existed, just made steam some more money...

tautologico:
He seems to be a very driven guy. According to an article on Polygon, he has been trying with SEGA to greenlight a new Ecco game for a number of years now; the article mentioned he was considering Kickstarter if SEGA wouldn't take the idea.

Here's the piece, which is an interesting read anyway:
http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/1/30/3925432/fighting-the-tide-the-struggle-to-revive-ecco-the-dolphin

The worst thing is, SEGA seems to have a knack on teasing the fans and ultimately, him, about it
http://blogs.sega.com/2010/04/01/on-these-high-seas-no-one-can-hear-you-scream/

It seems SEGA's just making fun of him at this point now.

Hmmm. That game actually sounds pretty fun.
Not enough to back but still.

I had Ecco on Mega Drive soo many years ago.

It was a really bad game.

The original Ecco games were great pieces of art, even if they weren't the best games. I have a particular fondness for them myself, but it's more because of the subject matter than anything else.

Quite honestly, I'd rather just pay to have Spencer Nilson record a new soundtrack, and maybe have the team do an art book. I think they might be shooting a little too high for what would be a very niche game.

For the sake of humanity, dont give him money. we certainly can do without another terrible game.

Reading those creature descriptions was like reading a really bad fanfic. Given that the original was beautiful but boring, I don't think I'd be interested in this.

Sounds awesome but cant see the MMO side being entertaining. Would be nice if it had some multiplayer though, so I could invite friends to check out my area and check out theres. That'd lend itself pretty well to the exploration aspect of it.

Ecco the Dolphin was an ass of a game.
Poorly defined, poorly designed and most of all that made the game abysmal was the too cryptic nature of the game.
It's like Castlevania II: Simons Quest times 1000 but much more half-assed.

I played the 16-bit games back in the days (I owned a Sega Mega Drive) and back then I could just not bother standing not knowing what to do in those games.

Oh, and if you thought classical Ecco was bad, try the transition to 3D - say the ones for the Sega DreamCast.
Absolute garbage and I would never pose myself as one of the lead designers and producers of that franchaise.

I know the guy has a thing for water - but seriously, this is just sad and the fact that people do not remember how utterly horrible those games where back in the days is even sadder.

It's like begging for money...pathetic.

I enjoyed all the Ecco games back in the day and thought the Dreamcast one had a great sense of mood and atmosphere. I am not a fan of kickstarter but I hope it works out and I hope we get a great game out of it. I don't think they are any less entitled to being supported than anyone else. I loved Ecco more for the ideas and story than anything else. If they capture some of that then I will be delighted. Nothing sounds better to me than chilling out under the waves.

As a guy who loved the original eccos and the dreamcast 3d version, im intrigued.

But part of what made Ecco awesome was how it had fantastical/sci fi elements (aka aliens harvesting the oceans to eat them, time travel, atlanteans) and im not sure id enjoy a realism oriented game set in the seas, even if it is in the distant future with new weird creatures.

I dunno, maybe id have bought this game were it released but im not keen on throwing money to kickstart it if im not sure il enjoy the end product.

The MMO part could be ok if as another forumite here noted, we could only communicate via animal sounds.

 

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