“Don’t Tell Your Daughters They Are Pretty,” said the headline.
“Screw you,” I thought to myself. “I’ll tell my daughter whatever I want.” I don’t need some amateur psychologist blogger telling me how to be a parent.
But then I started noticing how often my daughter was complimented on her appearance and how that had become such a big part of her identity. When she told me about the female characters she liked in books and movies, she would always begin by telling me they were pretty.
It was good that she was happy with how she looked, but I didn’t want that to be what she valued most in herself. She’s artistic, smart, kind, funny and resilient. That’s who she is. Those are the qualities I want her to appreciate in herself.
That got me thinking about games and the kind of heroines we create. Most of our female characters are sexy badasses. Now I happen to love a lot of those characters, and I have no problem with characters being sexy.
But I wondered if, like my daughter was doing, we sometimes saw the sexiness first and everything else second. At the time I was just starting to work on a new story and I wanted to make a protagonist whose heroism came only from the inside. One who was only heroic because of her character.
And that’s how Merryn came to be.
Her journey in Song of the Deep is about courage and discovery in a haunting and lonely world. It’s a journey of love and heartbreak. It’s a story about who we are and what we care about. It’s also about what it means to be heroic and how we sometimes lose sight of the best qualities about ourselves.
And if you don’t care about any of that stuff, that’s totally cool. You’ll get to pilot a submarine through a beautiful and deadly undersea world that’s full of challenging action and puzzles. There’s a deep progression of abilities and upgrades that you’ll need to master in order to survive. You’ll explore a vast Metroidvania environment, both with your submarine and free-diving.
Our first priority is always to make games that are fun. This is a game made by gamers, for gamers. It’s a game we love to play ourselves. But we also hope it’s a world that pulls you in and entices you to explore its deeper mysteries. We hope it’s a journey you will remember for a long time. And we hope that Merryn is a hero who reminds you of the best, and sometimes undervalued, qualities in yourself.
Song of the Deep launches on Xbox One in Summer of 2016.