Did you know that every year, approximately 100 million sharks are killed by people? Inversely, five people are killed each year in shark attacks? I learned this while attending Tripwire Interactive’s demo for Maneater this weekend at PAX East. I also learned that it’s time for sharks to even the score.
Maneater tells the story of a group of sharks versus the people hunting it. But unlike Jaws and other popular shark films, we get this story from the sharks’ perspective. Players taking on the role of a hungry shark out for revenge. Surprisingly, this game is wildly chaotic and visceral but also educational. During my play through, before taking to eating people on the high seas, I swam as my shark through a lush underwater environment, learning various facts about our aquatic beast. These come up in the form of unobtrusive text overlays, which highlight the real-world contexts and uses behind the various attacks. I found out that sharks thrash their prey to stun them, and I learned how execute this move in the game.
This real-life knowledge provided interesting and helpful background for moving on to the next section of the demo, getting released into a beachside resort and wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting swimmers. Players can practice breaching the water to perform a takedown or dragging their prey down to the depths. When hunters show up, as they inevitably do, the shark will have to dodge and evade and then thwack the boat with their tail to overturn it, dumping its juicy contents into the waters below.
Speaking to the team, they told us that they drew inspiration from the various shark movies and games that came before, such as the 2006 action-adventure game Jaws Unleashed. While players experience the narrative from a mostly-realistic looking shark, they can also evolve it over time into something resembling a megalodon. Hunting people and other threats is a key part of the game, but so is exploring the large aquatic world of the game, filled with sunken wrecks and various forms of marine life.
People can chomp down on Maneater fairly soon, as the game releases on May 22 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.