Hello, thalassophobes. King Tide is an upcoming battle royale about being launched into the ocean via torpedo, along with 99 other divers and going on a rampage while defending yourself from bloodthirsty sharks. Got it? Got it. It’s by the studio who made Depth, the multiplayer shooter of shark vs humanity. So, they were always well-placed to come up with “Plunkbat but subaquatic”. Sub-bat? Shark royale? We'll work on the nomenclature. For now, you can see a trailer of it below.
Unlike Depth, the sharks are AI-controlled baddies that patrol the sea, essentially big environmental hazards with fins. “Prepare to be stalked by a variety of the deadliest shark species,” says the Steam page, “forcing you to stay on the move or come face-to-face with their razor-sharp teeth.” There will also be explosive depth charges falling through the water at some points.
You’ll be able to play alone or in a squad, and the environment will be made up of seaweed, sunken ships, coral reefs, and derelict sea labs, which will contain various underwater firearms and weapons. “Challenge yourself to win against the odds by playing solo or with the artifact,” says one bit of marketing chat. Though it’s not clear what the “artifact” is.
At first I thought this was a case of infinite game designers at infinite keyboards. Someone was bound to make a game about shooting a hundred people in the sea. But it turns out the combination of seawater and a century of reprobates came about in a roundabout way. Developers Digital Confectioners came up with a prototype for a non-underwater battle royale back in 2015, they say, after being “excited by the potential we saw in emerging 'Battle Royale' mods.” But then they shelved it to work some more on Depth. A couple of years later both The Culling and H1Z1 convinced them that it’d be worth doing after all. But theirs had to be a little different. Luckily, they had all these sharks lying around. They added salty water and oceanic apex predators to the mix, and there it is: battle royale but with great whites.
King Tide comes out on early access in August this year for $14.99. But if you don't like getting shot by other people while swimming, you could always wait for Maneater, the RPG about being a shark that was announced at E3 this year. That is also made by the creative director of Depth, who left his previous studio and now heads Blindside Interactive.
A king tide is a term for those freakishly high tides that happen a couple of times a year. I didn’t know that, so I’m sharing it with you so I remember.