The Concept, Creativity, and Conservation Behind TideTurn

TideTurn is almost here. You could say “the tides are turning” if you will. Okay, we won’t. But seriously — later this year. That’s when TideTurn will be available to play and you all get to finally experience what we’ve all been working on for the past year or so.

You may be wondering by now, “What’s with the water people?” Probably not in those words but close to it. Well, we have Ian Stanion here to tell you all about TideTurn’s unique gameplay and premise. As TideTurn’s Creative Director and Lead Game Designer, Stanion has been developing this concept for over two years.

How did you come up with TideTurn’s concept and storyline? 

The ocean has always been a big part of my life. I grew up near a surfing town in California — Santa Cruz. I used to do volunteer work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and I’ve seen the horrors caused by pollution firsthand.

The destruction of our oceans is something I feel very personally connected with, so it just felt natural to address that in the art I’m making.

What made you decide that you wanted to create a video game? 

I have made much smaller games while I was in school, but nothing on this scale before! It’s always been my goal in life. I love thinking about and planning all the systems and seeing it all come together into something I can play with another person — it’s so incredible to me. In my opinion, it’s the only form of art that lets people connect with each other in such a pure and direct way.

The original Halo 3 forge mode was so formative for me. It was so magical to be a part of a community that was actively inventing new ways of playing a game, and to see the developers really be a part of that and help foster that kind of community creativity. I want my Map Maker to be able to be just as inspirational to other people just starting to realize that they love making games.

TideTurn’s concept and storyline

What is the hardest part about making a game people may not think of?

Everything always works perfectly in your head until real players come in and turn your world upside down! People will always find ways of playing your game that absolutely blow your mind, and it almost becomes a game in and of itself to keep a hold on your original way of seeing things while also taking these little revolutions and letting them help shape the game into something you could never have come up with on your own.

What has been the most exciting part of this process for you?

Watching people try the game for sure. TideTurn is really so open-ended the way it lets people play in unique ways. I’m realizing I can tell who is who between my friends just by looking at how they move, which is really exciting!

Also as the Map Maker develops, getting to see the ideas people come up with has been an absolute joy.

TideTurn’s concept and storyline

Did you feel there was a void in the gaming industry that needed to be filled?

Many! The obvious one is that there really isn’t anything like Splatoon outside of Nintendo’s consoles. Going a bit beyond that though, I think shooting games as well as many other genres are generally moving toward either making very long-form slow-paced games like battle royales, or very structured competitive experiences like Overwatch and VALORANT.

There aren’t many options anymore for shooting game fans that want something more fast-paced and free-form, where the whole object of the system is to let people explore new ideas and try new things easily.

TideTurn’s concept and storyline

What do you think people will like the most about this game?

It’s a close tie between the movement system and the Map Maker. I think the way you are allowed to interact with your environment in a game is where so much magic and creativity can be found. There’s a reason why people still play Mario64 decades later — there are always new ways you can find to get around and new tricks to invent.

I can’t wait to see how really great players end up being able to move around in TideTurn! On the other hand, there’s going to be some really incredibly talented people making things in the Mapmaker and I am excited to see that as well.


Olivia “y05h1eggz” Richman //

Stanion Studios Marketing Copyeditor

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