Steam, PS3 Hydrophobia Prophecy revealed

"We've got there in the end."

Downloadable action game Hydrophobia is coming to Steam and the PlayStation 3, Eurogamer can exclusively reveal.

Hydrophobia Prophecy is described as version 1.5 of the game that began life on the Xbox 360 last year.

It also follows the December 2010 release of Hydrophobia Pure on Xbox Live Arcade.

The game includes new levels around 70 per cent of the game is new - and existing levels have been reworked.

The cover system has been improved, and combat is now possible from climbing points. The game is said to have a "proper, dramatic new ending", with an expanded storyline. There are new voice actors, too.

And the game has been augmented, developer Dark Energy Digital said, with feedback gathered from the Hydrophobia Listening Post.

"It's Hydrophobia 1.5, really," managing director Deborah Jones told Eurogamer.

"It's also not the original and it's also not Pure."

"The game is now hugely longer," DED boss Pete Jones added. "We've honed, refined and developed the stuff people liked, and we've added a bunch of new stuff that's gone down really well in usability tests."

The Steam version launches on 9th May, with a pre-order price of 7.64 / $10.19.

The PlayStation Network version, which launches shortly after the Steam version, supports the Move controller, and will be similarly priced.

Here, the navigation controller controls player movement, and the Move controller is used to control the camera and aiming.

Pete Jones said "the ultimate decision" on whether DED will bring Prophecy to the Xbox 360 is Microsoft's, but "it's our intention to do so".

The Steam version of Prophecy includes a developer feedback system, called Darknet, built in. It allows players to pause the game and send contextually augmented feedback to DED's servers in real-time.

Prophecy brings the Hydrophobia story arc to a close, but DED wants to expand on the concept with "other stories within the Hydrophobia universe".

"We want to be the first game and the first developer that truly has a one-to-one connection with the community," Jones said.

"We're a bit of a slow starter and we made mistakes in the beginning, but we've got there in the end. We've been committed heart and soul to this project. We believe in it completely. We've created something now we're all very proud of."

Screenshots of the Steam version are below, along with a list of Prophecy's many enhancements. These are on top of Pure's additions:

Graphics

  • Enhanced environmental lighting throughout the game
  • High resolution textures
  • Updated video texture work
  • Hugely improved particle systems throughout the game
  • Depth of field effects implemented
  • MLAA anti-aliasing
  • Improved lighting and shadowing solutions

HydroEngine Enhancements

  • Enhanced character DripMapping technology
  • Improved reflection and refraction mapping
  • Enhancement underwater visual effects
  • Underwater depth of field effect
  • Enhanced particle system and improved performance
  • New high resolution RippleMap simulation responds to characters and objects
  • Jump distance more accurate relative to movement speed
  • Added stationary jump
  • Speed of movement through vents increased and animations improved
  • Speed of movement with MAVI increased
  • Various animations refined to provide better feedback

Narrative and Backstory

  • Scoot character remodelled
  • Scoot character recast, now played by Oliver Vaquer (GTA: Liberty City Stories, The Warriors, Law & Order)
  • Characterisation improved with remastered voice acting and additional scenes
  • Mila characters role has been enhanced with compelling new scenes
  • Storyline enhanced and completed
  • Dramatic new plot points shed light on the back story and the Prophecy of Malthus
  • New in game video communications enhance the narrative without disrupting gameplay
  • Compelling new cutscenes and dramatic twists
  • New mechanics designed around the deeper narrative
  • Hydro Kinetic powers brought into the main story
  • Dramatic new ending completes the story arc

Wading and Swimming

  • Reworked Kate's bracing animation and responsiveness
  • Eliminated undesirable situations where the character was swept out of player control
  • Increased speed of recovery after being wiped out by water
  • Removed invasive reactionary animations after being wiped out by water

Art Direction

  • Improved environmental lighting
  • Re-designed locations add variety and drama
  • Spectacular new environments introduced
  • Reworked environmental assets

Audio

  • New and improved music tracks
  • Re-mastered audio and improved sound design
  • New SFX added to various feedback systems

Puzzles

  • Improved lock-on effect for electric cable puzzles
  • Added mini-puzzles to existing areas
  • Exclusive new environments introduce new physics based puzzles
  • Ability to manipulate floating objects to solve bouyancy based puzzles
  • New narrative based challenges

Combat and Cover Systems

  • Individual bone based enemy lock on feature (depending on difficult setting)
  • Improved aim assist functionality
  • Dynamic aim reticule adapts to different ammo types and combat behaviour
  • Destructable object system reworked for greater feedback and effectiveness
  • Greater variety of ammo earlier in the game
  • AI enhancements and performance improvements
  • Instant ammo collection features eliminates unneccessary button presses
  • Rebalanced Sonic Rounds for more effective combat
  • Reload times reduced for better combat flow

Cover System Enhancements

  • Blind fire functionality added
  • Turn corners while in cover and engage in flanking maneuvours
  • Cover animation improvements
  • More responsive and smooth cover transitions
  • All new Floating Cover system
  • Grab bouyant object to use as dynamic cover in water
  • Use floating cover on the surface or during underwater combat
  • New Climbing Combat system
  • Ability to shoot and engage in combat while climbing or hanging

Levels and Game Balance

  • Enhanced and redesigned levels
  • Exclusive new levels to explore throughout the game
  • All new mechanics, puzzles and combat added
  • Dramatic new end sequence using Hydro Kinetic abilities
  • Decrypting doors sequence shortened
  • Tutorial added for hack mini game
  • Improved feedback, waypoint design and tutorials
  • Better checkpoint design
  • Improved difficulty setting design
  • Rationalised waypoint system choice allows players to set their preference for how much hand holding they want independently of difficulty setting

Darknet

  • Contextual Dev Feedback System - bring up Dev Feedback from the pause menu at any time to comment on your experience
  • Your feedback is uploaded to Dark Energy augmented with contextual information about the gamestate
  • Dark Energy will continue to act upon gathered data from the playing community

GUI and Front End

  • Menus reworked
  • Front end menus re-designed
  • In game menus re-designed

Value

  • Pre-purchase the Steam version for just $10.19 / 7.64 (including 15% pre-purchase discount)
  • New locations, mechanics and narrative elements extend the lifespan of the main game massively

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