Maneater Is the Shark-PG You Never Knew You Wanted in Your Life
Get into the water with your new best friend.
Who would’ve thought that 13 years after Jaws Unleashed developer Tripwire Interactive would be reviving what they call the “Shark-PG.” Now, they mentioned to me that most of the development team actually isn’t familiar with Jaws Unleashed at all, despite some similarities between both titles. Believe it or not, Maneater is a tremendously different game with ideas that are brimming with ridiculous creativity.
While I didn’t get the chance to go hands-on with the game at E3 2019, I was shown an extended demo where I was really able to get a good idea as to what the team is going for at Tripwire. You play as a baby shark born in the waters of a very polluted city. From there, just about everything and anything is food. Eating acts as the main component that allows you to get stronger and evolve. Sure, you’ll start as a little baby and grow into an adult shark, but there is even more progression as you can become an absolute beast due to the toxic environment you’re eating in.
Funnily enough, there is a story revolving around the baby bull shark you play as. After being pulled from your mother’s belly, you’re out for revenge against the man Scaly Pete, who is hellbent on revenge after his father was killed by a particularly nasty beast, after he leaves a nice scar on the side of your snout. Also, there’s a reality television show called “Shark Hunters vs. Maneaters.” The show and its scenes are narrated by actor Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live, Rick and Morty, Archer). There’s definitely a keen sense of self-awareness from the get go but it totally works in a game where you play as a shark.
Maneater is set in an open ocean filled with swamps, rivers, and mutated sea animals that’ll act as some of the game’s bosses. Each region will contain them and from the handful that I saw, they look insanely cool. The water sits underneath a huge sprawling city unbeknownst to the toxic predators living feet away. While I didn’t get to see any boss battles, I sure saw a lot of humans getting picked off in a very Jaws-like fashion. This is a pretty graphic game as people cry out in terror while you’re eating them alive.
I can usually handle gratuitous violence in video games but even I cringed a little bit. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too much Shark Week and think being eaten alive is one of the worst ways anybody can go. Interestingly enough, I kind of found myself looking at the shark as a hero of sorts though as the humans are completely destroying the environment around their futuristic high-tech city. Sounds weirdly familiar but maybe I’m going crazy. With all of the toxic waste spread throughout the water, I got a sort of nature fights back vibe from the game.
On top of underwater bosses, the game also has human foes who sort of act as a Grand Theft Auto police force. The more humans you consume, the higher your wanted level will become, meaning deadlier hunters will quickly roll out onto the waters. If you’re not fitted to take them on you’ll be killed pretty quickly it seems. It’s definitely cool to be an unstoppable force through as you literally tear through boats and hunters. Right now I can only imagine how much chaos will ensue once you’re fully upgraded.
Speaking of which, I mentioned growth before, but the development team did show off some concept art of what your shark can look like in the later game. Upgrades include an exoskeleton that can grow around your body for instance, or an electric snout. These are just a few of the concepts I saw and they totally come across as some wild b-movie sci-fi concepts. However, it definitely works in the game more than it does in the movies.
I’m super excited to see what else the development team adds once we get closer to the release of Maneater. As of right now, there’s no release date for the game but I don’t expect it’s too far off so perhaps we’ll see it sometime next year. Maneater will launch exclusively on the Epic Games Store, followed by a release on all other PC platforms one year after launch..