While TideTurn is carving a name for itself in the indie gaming world thanks to innovative movement mechanics and strategic gameplay that hasn’t been seen at quite this level, a big component of the game has always been the story and message behind the action.
TideTurn’s conservation message is powerful all on its own, with the destruction of the world’s oceans consistently making headlines. But TideTurn is bringing this urgent message directly to the gaming community with an intricate and deep storyline led by fleshed-out characters that players will meaningfully connect within the game’s campaign mode.
This campaign mode has been underway since Stanion Studios first dreamt up TideTurn. But there have been big developments over the past year and a half that point to an extensive and immersive gameplay experience like no other.
The first mission is currently in development, with gameplay designers, level designers, and Narrative Designer Matthew Miller working together to give TideTurn fans a closer look at the human side of the game’s intense conflict over the state of the world’s oceans. This first mission will be a “spark to a flame, setting off something larger,” Miller said.
Meet D.R.I. // The First Campaign Mission in TideTurn
TideTurn players will enter the first mission as a defender that’s currently not part of the multiplayer roster. This will allow players to become immersed in the world of D.R.I. naturally, narratively putting them in the position of “someone who is seeing a lot of this fresh and for the first time,” Miller explained.
This defender will learn all about D.R.I.’s stance on the ongoing war with the Atlanteans, meet fan-favorite defenders that make up the D.R.I., and see how the world and its story plays out around them. Players will see what it truly means to be a member of D.R.I., getting one of the first full glimpses at the secret facility.
Said Miller: “A lot of what we’ve been working on is building out that environment and creating visual assets or audio scripts or text-based displays all designed to build out this world. It will give you a sense of what D.R.I. is and who you are as someone working for and with them.”
This also means a closer look at some of TideTurn’s most popular human defenders, Beatrice and Doug. The first mission dives into the human perspective regarding the world-encompassing clash, providing some insights into defender relationships. For Miller, a campaign mode is a way for players to get a better understanding of these complex characters — their lore, their motivations — that can’t be as heavily discussed in the multiplayer modes.
“I’m a bit of a sucker for Doug’s character because he is fun. He’s a bit of levity to the situation. He can also be serious and show a bit of growth when necessary. On the opposite end, I look forward to bringing more Pagos into the story. He can sometimes come across as a bit of a mustachioed villain but he has a lot going on. I think he’s just fun to write for, honestly.” – Miller
The Process // The First Campaign Mission in TideTurn
As Miller continues to find ways to tell each defender’s story and slowly reveal the true depths of the issues unfolding in TideTurn’s universe, other Stanion Studios teams must collaborate with him to bring it to life.
Creating a campaign mode takes a lot of communication, Miller said, as all these different teams work together to slowly reveal D.R.I.’s world. There are an abundance of designers, artists, and programmers involved in making a campaign.
Stefan Wacker, one of Stanion Studios’ Concept Artists, has been involved in the process from the start.
Wacker’s focus has mostly been environmental art, helping to create TideTurn’s maps and campaign locations. When it comes to game environments, it’s a blend of functionality and storytelling. Each location must be designed to reflect the unfolding story but Wacker also creates things with movement and gameplay in mind, providing spots for cover that won’t disrupt the timeline.
“I would say that my favorite part was working on the initial direction of levels/rooms because there is a lot of freedom for decision-making in that process,” Wacker said.
The environment must reflect what’s being told in the story. Those elements are conceptualized and modeled out by level designers and character designers, allowing Miller and others to see D.R.I.’s facility and defenders as they imagined on paper. The gameplay itself must also create an experience that is accurate to the story TideTurn is trying to tell, with programmers creating action-packed sequences that push the story forward in a meaningful way that coincides with Miller’s timeline.
And you can’t only focus on the current mission. The teams have to make sure it seamlessly leads to the upcoming missions that will further reveal the depth of TideTurn and the mysteries behind the action.
“A lot of what we are figuring out right now is how to handle the continuous development of the campaign,” Miller revealed. “A lot of the people on the art and technical side of the project are going through and building out assets to make up the first campaign mission. I’m working together with other designers to figure out what our next few missions are going to be looking like, from location to characters that will be there. We are already thinking about what other perspectives players will get.”
For Miller, the rest of the TideTurn team, and the players waiting to get their hands on the game, the defenders are more than just playable characters with abilities. These defenders all have an interesting history to dive into and all play a part in telling the story of the world’s oceans. The campaign aims to combine action-packed fight scenes with immersive story elements that highlight the earth’s defenders, putting players right in the heart of the fight for the ocean and all of its creatures — right from the first mission.
Olivia “y05h1eggz” Richman //
Stanion Studios Marketing Copyeditor