Still Wakes the Deep Screenshot

How Still Wakes the Deep Makes You Care for a Doomed Crew


  • Still Wakes the Deep follows through on its cinematic inspirations as we go hands-on with the first two hours of the game.
  • Being able to develop a rapport with the Beira D oil rig crew before disaster strikes helps you connect emotionally.
  • Still Wakes the Deep is launching June 18, 2024, for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and will be available day one with Game Pass.

I never thought I’d find the open sea air more terrifying than navigating through a confined, flooded bulkhead… but here we are. I think part of that comes from the fact that as you look upon the open ocean that surrounds the Beira D oil rig – the central location of The Chinese Room’s (Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs) upcoming horror game Still Wakes the Deep it’s an ever-present and cold reminder that you’re trapped here with just a handful of crew standing between you and impending doom.

There’s no getting off this ride; the terror on board is something that you must contend with at some point, and I love that part of the game so far. This mix of tension, dread, and inevitable horror is clicking so well that it’s going to be excruciating having to wait a few more weeks to finish my tour of duty in Still Wakes the Deep when it launches June 18, 2024, for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and day one with Game Pass.

Still Wakes the Deep Screenshot

We’ve previously covered some of the many cinematic inspirations the team has brought to Still Wakes the Deep. Now having played through the first third of the game and seen many of those films, I think they’re nailing the look, feel, and inspiration for many on that list. In particular, “The Thing” and “Annihilation.”

Another that came to mind while playing — which is a different type of horror — is Craig Mazin’s excellent “Chernobyl.” That’s felt most especially in the early stages –an accident on the mammoth oil rig sets off a cascade of events, rocking the station and everyone on board, and the crew springs into action trying to make sense of what just happened. Before they know it, the situation has continued to spiral further and further beyond their control, shifting from containment to one of survival mixed with fleeting thoughts of escape.

Still Wakes the Deep Screenshot

But crucially, before that moment arrives – the calm before the storm – the game opens with the chance to explore a good chunk of Beria D and interact with what feels like every member of the crew in some capacity. Each one is given a moment with your main character, Cameron “Caz” McLeary, mixed in with a fair bit of swearing and ribbing. With the  oil rig located off the coast of Scotland, it’s well written and believable, allowing you to develop a rapport with this crew before things start to fall apart.

Time with everyone early on might be brief, but it’s immersive, and it’s handled with great effect — like how the spoken dialog leans heavily on UK English and the regional dialects (I had to play with subtitles to catch everything said accurately). In just a short amount of time we’re brought into Caz’s predicament and how that feeds through the entire crew in the lead-up to the accident. It also gives you a good sense of the crew’s bond with each other — they care a lot for one another. This makes the latter parts of the demo land particularly emotional, once many of them become distressed (and much, much worse).

Still Wakes the Deep Screenshot

As shown in the gameplay footage from last year, we’re asked to navigate through bulkheads, flooded passageways, and very dark corridors with nothing but a screwdriver and a headlamp. The design of the interior of the Beria D is very impressively modeled – you can practically feel how cold it is to walk through the station, or when placing your hands on the wheel of an airlock, as the sound of the wind rushes through you once you step outside. It’s a great contrast to the silence that comes when all the hatches are locked down tight, letting any little sound reverberate through the station.

The… let’s call it the terror here as we’ve been asked to avoid spoilers, is… well… terrifying. I’ll leave it at that. If that’s not enough, Caz finds himself at times falling into a bizarre hallucinatory state that seems connected to the events around him, which is another mystery I’m eager to explore further, and see how the story brings all these events together.

Still Wakes the Deep Screenshot

We only experienced a taste of what Still Wakes the Deep has in store for us, but it’s clear The Chinese Room appears to be firing on all cylinders here — they’re on the cusp delivering another masterpiece of gaming horror. Look for Still Wakes the Deep to launch June 18, 2024, for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and day one with Game Pass.