Suspension of trust is a phrase we often hear today. The movie we are watching or the video game we are playing provides us with a set of rules that we must accept in order to immerse ourselves in the world it has created. Immersion is very important for media, especially video games, to make us players invest not only in the world and environment but also the characters and lives. of them that we are about to witness. Harold Halibut accomplishes this better with realistic characters and clay animations than many AAA titles we’ve seen in recent years.
I got a chance to sit down with a preview of Harold Halibut for the Tribeca Film Festival. I had over twenty minutes with the game to see some of the characters as well as the city in which the game takes place.
The circle of truth
For an overview: 250 years before the game begins, a group of people decide to leave the planet to avoid the potential devastation of the escalating Cold War. After traveling quite a distance, they arrived at what they thought was a heavenly planet. Unfortunately, there is no land above the ocean, and the atmosphere is toxic to human lungs. So they are forced to stay underwater and use their ship as the foundation for a new city to live in. You play as Harold, a janitor in this small city who goes around helping people solve their problems and unlock the mysteries of this planet.
If you watch any of the trailers for Harold Halibut, I guarantee you will be instantly drawn to the game based solely on the power of the animation. This game uses real-life crafts to create the world and the characters in it. Each character in the game is hand sculpted with clay and digitized for animation. The result is the appearance of stop-motion but the controllability and motion spectrum we expect from games today.
I have experienced some games that Harold Halibut demanding, and it’s like an old-fashioned point-and-click adventure game in many ways. You walk around the underwater city and talk to the inhabitants, who give you quests to perform. For example, you may have to assist a scientist with a 3D printer available on fritz or help resolve a dispute with a child being punished by an authority figure. The game preview didn’t tease any of the underlying mysteries in the game; it just showed me what life in the city is like.
Honestly, that’s all I needed to fully invest in this underwater world.
Suspending skepticism is actually a conversation we have with means we use. Usually, there are claims, commitments and circles of truth. So a game might ask you to believe in a world filled with giant robots that act as animals that you can hunt. It then pledges that the high-fidelity graphics and thrilling action will keep the world hooked. Ultimately, the circle of truth is when you, the player, enter the world and accept it.
Harold Halibut requires the player to enter a world where an entire civilization lives in an underwater city and still wears 70s style clothes 250 years into the future. It commits a mystery to be discovered so that the player can enter the circle of truth without hesitation. In my preview, however, I don’t see a big mystery to uncover; I saw a postman and a model running around the streets of the city because they were in a running club together. I listened to the general store owner when he confided in me that he was worried that his wife might be more interested in said model than he was. Every moment and interaction showcases personality and character that I can’t help but feel invested in. I don’t need overly detailed facial expressions or realistic photo environments. The handcrafted characters and backgrounds are more than enough to keep me hooked.
Harold Halibut is a game that will be in the sights of many people. Given the notion of a craft world, it’s hard not to notice such a yard. However, this is only a small aspect of the game. It’s a very engaging game of course, but the characters I’ve met and the lives I’ve witnessed are more than enough for me to keep following this game, no matter if it’s mysterious or animated .
Harold Halibut There’s currently no release date, but it’s expected to launch on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.