PAX EAST 2020: Explore the Vast Ocean in ‘Beyond Blue’

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Beyond Blue mixes real life oceanography with the vast world of video games. We’ve all wanted to explore the ocean at some point in our lives. Now we have the opportunity to do so in the comfort of our own home! Developed by E-Line Media, Beyond Blue sends you on a deep dive into the ocean through the main character, Mirai, where you follow her research team and gather data on marine life.

Beyond Blue comes from the same studio that developed Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), E-Line’s BAFTA award-winning game about Alaska Native culture. E-Line Media has partnered with BBC Studios, OceanX Media, and some of science’s leading ocean experts to create a game that provides an accurate view of our vast oceans and how actual research is conducted by deep-water explorers and scientists.

Although we covered Beyond Blue at PAX West last year, we couldn’t help ourselves and wanted to jump back in during our PAX East coverage.

Explore the wonders of the ocean in Beyond Blue.

What I enjoyed most about Beyond Blue was their dedication to getting the oceanography as accurate as possible. While you explore the ocean as Mirai, you are tasked with finding marine life that your team has tagged for observation. Included in this is a pregnant whale that your team has been following for a while. As you work on these tasks, Mirai also gets side-tasks of picking up coral samples and using devices attached to buoys for echo location.

The graphics are visually stunning. I felt as if I was actually swimming through the ocean. There’s a few storylines to follow that juice up the gameplay of Beyond Blue. Mirai has a family to look after while she’s on this excursion. Each team member on your crew also has their own story.

The marine life and research tactics are accurate to how oceanographers collect their data. Anna Baker, who is a PhD student and an ocean consultant for Beyond Blue, says that this accuracy was made possible because E-Line Media consulted with herself and other oceanographers. Baker has been working on this game while she finishes up her PhD in Oceanography. She hopes that Beyond Blue will inspire others to take care of the ocean life and maybe pursue a career in protecting the ocean.

Anna Baker is working on her PhD in Oceanography and consulted on Beyond Blue. We love seeing women in science! Photo by Kristen Bates.

Beyond Blue is a great game for exploring our beautiful ocean. There’s a sense of wonder with each twist and turn. Each decision you make has its own consequences attached to it. I have a greater appreciation of the oceans that surround us after playing this game. This game is perfect for people of any age.

Along with a great narrative, Beyond Blue is stacked with a full cast – Anna Akana (Ant Man, YouTube), Mira Furlan (Lost, Babylon 5), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Black Sails, Hotel Rwanda), and Ally Maki (Toy Story 4). There are also 17 mini-documentaries called Ocean Insights that feature original footage and interviews with science’s leading ocean experts.

There’s a reason we at But Why Tho have demoed this game so many times. It’s a beautiful narrative that puts ocean life right in your own hands. E-Line Media has taken special care to make sure Beyond Blue is as factually accurate as possible. While learning about the dangers of polluting the ocean, you get to interact with the marine life in a personal way. Beyond Blue is a great reminder that the world is beautiful and we should keep it that way.

Beyond Blue will be available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch sometime soon.

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