Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Dark Energy Digital
Release Date: Sept. 29, 2010

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'Hydrophobia' Resurfaces As Episodic Xbox Live Arcade Title

by Rainier on Oct. 1, 2009 @ 4:31 a.m. PDT

Hydrophobia is a survival adventure about conquering fear in a series of entirely dynamic flooded environments, featuring the unique technology of Blade’s HydroEngine.

Meet Kate Wilson, systems engineer. Kate is a reluctant hero who finds herself caught behind enemy lines when terrorists seize the Queen of the World, a new city-sized super ship.Kate is very much a multidimensional character. By trade she is an engineer - a systems engineer and on the Queen she is part of the security detail. Kate is a deep and intelligent character, but she has a problem.

Kate is hydrophobic, she has been since she was 13 years old. She doesn't like to talk about it, but her friends assume something terrible must have happened to her. However, Kate is a fighter and has joined the Queen of the World to confront her fears. Not knowing how apocryphal that sentiment would turn out to be.

The terrorist attack takes place on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Queen of the World. It has been a great year. The ship is a huge commercial success, most condos are sold and the venture is above target. The ship is in the Indian Ocean and a huge party has been organised in the main football stadium to commemorate the event.

Hydrophobia has been built from the ground up to take full advantage of HydroEngine, the extraordinary fluid dynamics engine developed by Blade R&D over the last 3 years. HydroEngine means that the water in Hydrophobia behaves exactly as in life; it flows, it makes surfaces and characters wet, it carries objects and bodies and interacts fully with Hydrophobia's entirely dynamic environments.

The water in Hydrophobia is therefore an intrinsic gameplay mechanic. It can be dangerous; you could get caught in a torrent of churning debris, carried away by a freak wave or trapped in a flooding room. However, it can also be your allie, since you can learn to manipulate the flow by remotely opening doors, or smashing windows to release waves which can take out your enemies, solve puzzles or carry user-designed traps and devices to there explosive destination.

HydroEngine provides truly dynamic water whose behaviour is altered by every physical action and event in the game; meaning you will never get the same behaviour twice. Survive it, manipulate it, master it; but never forget, in the world of Hydrophobia, you can never be sure what awaits you beneath the surface.

Hydrophobia is created using Blade's new Infinite Worlds system, which provides incredibly information rich environments. This information can be processed by the advanced AI systems in the game, meaning enemies and NPCs have a detailed knowledge and unique perception of the world around them. Characters know which areas are flooded, they can remember which doors they have opened and which doors are locked, they can exchange information, keep track of danger areas and constantly adapt their behaviour to the dynamic changes in the environment and the player's actions.

Players must use more than just shadows and acoustics to outwit their enemies; they must manipulate the environment using such techniques as the "trail of breadcrumbs" to lure enemies and set environmental decoys, leading them into a trap. By taking advantage of, and exploiting enemies intelligence and knowledge of their surroundings, and utilising Kate's unique engineering skills and abilities, players will discover compelling new ways of outwitting the enemy.

Says Huw Lloyd, R&D Director of Blade Interactive. “We delighted to finally show the world the incredible HydroEngine technology which powers the unique Hydrophobia experience. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s to come, but this trailer demonstrates the most advanced water technology ever seen in a game – water which quite simply behaves like the real thing.

The Malthusians are not only aware of their surroundings; they also react in different ways. Some Malthusians are fanatical idealists, while others are more like mercenaries, and while mercenaries are better trained and more experienced; idealists will fight to the death. Different motivations will provoke different behaviours, so enemies might not always react the way the player expects.

Variations in group structures also affect responses, and communication between Malthusians means that information one has gained, can quickly spread to others. This can however be used to the players advantage by changing the environment to counter the expectations of the terrorists. Hydrophobia is a game about truly outwitting your enemies, not just hiding in the shadows.

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