Insomniac Games’ new game Song of the Deep is going to be an experiment, not because of its gameplay but because of its release. Instead of being released through a traditional publisher, Insomniac has teamed up with GameStop for what Ted Price, the company’s founder, calls a “non-traditional developer-publisher relationship.”
Song of the Deep is a passion project for Insomniac, having been in the works for about a year. The underwater side-scrolling exploration game follows the adventures of Merryn, a 12 year-old girl who builds herself a small submarine to search for her missing father and along the way discovers a new world and lost civilization.
GameStop has no creative control over the game, it is simply handling the promotion and marketing. When Song of the Deep is released in the second quarter of this year, it will be available for digital download on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Physical discs will be available, but only in GameStop stores.
“Insomniac owns the intellectual property. We have full creative control over what the game is and how it’s being developed, and GameStop has been incredibly collaborative and supportive of everything we’re doing,” Price said.
“We’ve all noticed a resurgence of indie titles over the years, and what’s awesome about that is that the smaller titles tend to take more creative risks and deliver something that’s very different than, say, the AAA, more realistic titles. For us as a company that thrives on creativity and loves building new worlds, that’s a place we love to be as well,” Price continued. “When Mark and I were talking about how the market’s evolving and looking ahead and bringing more to players, we started connecting on that particular topic, and we were serendipitously working on a pitch for Song of the Deep, and sparks ignited.”
Stanley explained of GameStop’s decision-making, “We have 62 million customers coming to our doors every year. How do we give more and more content and more exclusives and different kinds of games in our store, beyond just the traditional AAA, etc? We’ve worked for many years with publishers on exclusives in our stores, etc. This is a different way to bring added value to those customers. We think it’s a very good balance to maintain.”
GameStop would not reveal whether or not they are looking to create publishing partnerships to release more exclusive games. “This is the project we’re completely focused on right now. It’s the first time we’re doing this. There’s been a lot of learnings along the way, and I think there’s still a lot of learnings to be had. Based on this, we’ll obviously consider all options,” he said. “I think one of our focus points and one of the reasons why we dove into this project is part of my role is to look at different ways of expanding our business and bringing more value to our customers.”
“Once we get this project to market, we’ll look back and see should we keep doing this, what could we be doing differently,” Stanley continued. “Maybe there will be more opportunities in the future.”
Seems like GameStop has come to realize that content is king nowadays and if you don’t have exclusive content, what are you? Lucky for them, their first game looks like it could be a hit.
Watch the trailer for Song of the Deep below.