Today is June 25th, and it marks exactly a year and a half since Christmas 2014, when Capcom’s team surprised everyone by revealing the newest batch of screenshots of its upcoming PS4 exclusive Deep Down.
That reveal was also to be the last, at least for now. Since then, a glimpse of the game appeared in a recruitment video for the studio, and it was mentioned a handful of times by developers and producers, most notably with Yoshinori Ono explaining that “a little further ahead,” we would finally see the game with a completely different forms and with a larger vision.
After a few sporadic remarks, official talk about the game ceased completely. Not a single word about the it was officially uttered since March 20th, 2015.
In the meanwhile, Capcom has continued to renew the trademark in the United States, but the last chance to do so will be this August. From then, they’ll have only six months to demonstrate that the title is being used in commerce, or the registration will be null and void.
That said, not everything is doom and gloom: the request for the trademark extension pledged that development was continuing, and as you may or may not know, it’s equivalent to a sworn statement that the company does indeed intend to use the title commercially in the future.
In the meanwhile, at least for those like me that really loved what they saw of the game, the silence remains deafening. It’s like Capcom completely forgot about a title that was presented with great fanfare together with the PS4 itself. Do you remember the video below?
Since then, the game evolved massively, and turned from a tech demo to actual gameplay. The latest full trailer appeared at Tokyo Game Show 2014, and it was spectacular. It certainly wouldn’t look bad side by side with any game released today.
So, what happened? We’re quite a bit past the scope of “a little further ahead” by now.
It’s really hard to say. Incidentally, Capcom has also stopped talking about its current generation engine Panta Rhei, of which Deep Down was to be poster boy before it expanded to other games and platforms.
Developing a game at the same time as its engine can be challenging, and has the potential to massively slow down development while the engine is optimized, tested, and overcomes all the performance hurdles that are normally associated with creating a new middleware. We have many examples of that, the latest of which being Final Fantasy XV.
During the transition between Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy XV, many also thought that the game was lost, turned into vaporware by the flames of development hell. Yet, it came back, and finally we’re going to be able to play it on September 30th.
Could Deep Down follow the same path? Are we going to suddenly see it appear on the big screen of a press conference in the not so far future (maybe at Tokyo Game Show in September), shinier than ever, and ready to impress us again?
I have hope. But in the meanwhile, all we can do is to look at that Christmas gift from eighteen months ago, and dream of the future.