Today, developer Exploding Tuba Studios announced that its sci-fi adventure game Divide — which was originally slated to release in 2016 — is finally releasing on January 31, 2017 exclusively for the PS4.
As you may know, Divide has been in development for roughly four years and was recently at PlayStation Experience 2016. The game is “about about an ordinary person being thrown into extraordinary circumstances.” In it you play as David, a father who is has been ripped away from his daughter and the security of his familiar life, and finds himself in a strange new world that challenges the foundation of what he thought was real.
Over on the PlayStation Blog Founder of Exploding Tuba Studios Chris Tilton revealed that he is often asked by gamers if Divide is a stealth action game. The answer to this is yes and no. It can be. But as Tilton notes, David isn’t some commando, he’s just some average, widowed father. According to Tilton, the team at Exploding Tuba Studios likes to consider it a “lonely sci-fi dungeon crawl.” So while there is stealth in the game, it’s far from the centerpiece.
The main focus of Divide is exploration, mystery, and uncertainty. The game also does have combat, but again it’s not paramount. In fact, at the start of the game David is rather ill-equipped against seasoned para-military agents and armed security robots. However, according to Tilton, players could prefer to deploy action and combat, or avoid it entirely.
In the game, David experiences the interactive aspect of the world through digital contact lenses that permit him to see an augmented reality veneer over the environment. This intricately ties into the game’s theme of loneliness. As Davids only tag-along, Eris, abandoned the networked world long ago and refuses to wear such lenses herself, which would in turn allow her to communicate with David through them. This choice was made in order for David to spend large portions of the game in isolation, only returning to interact with Eris in person whenever the loneliness becomes too much.
As for how progression, Tilton revealed the game progresses in a similar fashion to retro non-linear exploration games, mentioning that gamers who have played the game have said it reminded them of titles like Syndicate, Flashback, Another World, and Shadowrun. Something Tilton was happy to hear, as some of those games were certainly big influences on Divide.
All of that said, Tilton stressed that creating a game where gameplay and story don’t get in each other’s way, but rather strike a fine balance is perhaps the most important thing to the studio. He adds the following on the PlayStation Blog in regards to the experience of interacting with fans at PSX 2016:
“One of the things we couldn’t help talk with them about was tone, and its importance in telling a story. Balancing a story full of peril with moments of levity and emotion is always a challenge, but it’s especially difficult in games because the player often dictates the moment to moment action and pacing. How do we let the story persist during gameplay and react to or complement the player’s own style of play? That has always been the kind of challenges we yearn to solve.”
Divide is set to release for PS4 on January 31, 2017. A new trailer — the game’s second — accompanies the announcement. You can check it out below. If you like the song playing in the trailer — it’s original (and awesome) — you can now buy it as of today via the Divide EP, which is available on a broad range of digital music services.