Supermassive Games has released another pair of developer diaries, giving players a deep dive into the process of bringing Man of Medan to life. In December, the first pair of diaries focused on the development of the ghost ship itself. The second set takes turns the same eye onto the environments of the sea. From a smooth start aboard a shiny new vessel, gliding through a bright and breezy day, to the dark, sullen seabed below, every pixel is filled with intent.
One of the aspects discussed in the videos is the choice to change camera and lighting styles in the game when it suddenly gets real. The characters start on a casual trip with friends. The camera is smooth, the lighting is natural, and the feel is relaxed. When a storm begins to roll in and the ghost ship appears, the lighting changes to a green tint and the camera begins to sway with the boat. With changes most players won’t notice unless pointed out, the developers say “nothing here is safe.”
Everything about this game gets the same amount of thoughtful design. Motion capture was done on a moving floor meant to mimic a boat in churning seas. Microphones taken onto choppy waters gathered sounds for each angle of the boat and water. Volumetric lighting and clouds of plankton kicked up from the ocean floor bring underwater scenes to life, while the small but common movements among divers the team observed ground characters in reality. There is no way for us to know whether the story of the game will live up to the care put into its world. Given the past games from Supermassive and the diaries coming out of development, though, I have high hopes for The first entry in The Dark Pictures Anthology, Man of Medan.