On May 22, Maneater releases for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and it promises to deliver something that not a lot of games have ever delivered- an open world action RPG where you play as a shark, which is a combination of words most of us didn’t think we’d ever say. But it’s real- and you know what? It actually looks pretty fun. Leading up to its release, in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at some crucial pieces of information you should know about the game. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Meaneater sees players stepping into the shoes (fins?) of a young bull shark, who was injured and disfigured in an accident that also saw its mother getting killed by a man called Scaly Pete, a notorious shark hunter. Fuelled by a lust for revenge, the shark sets off on a quest to grow and evolve to the point where it can square off against Scaly Pete, and its antics catch the attention of a reality TV show called “Sharkhunters vs Maneaters”. Interestingly enough, Maneater’s story is presented through the lens of said TV show.
One of the most interesting things about Maneater is that it’s going to be set in an open world environment, which means players are going to have the freedom to wreak havoc as a shark (more on that in a bit) as and when they want. The wold itself will be divided into a total of seven unique environments, each of which will have its own unique biome and will be freely explorable.
So what can players expect out of each environment? Maneater is promising a fair amount of environmental diversity. From open oceans to swampy bayous to polluted waters of industrial areas to resort beaches, docks, golf courses and much more, players will be visiting a variety of unique locations in the game.
Maneater’s open world exploration will also be structured in interesting ways. Being an open world game, it will, of course, give you the freedom to mess about in its sandbox (waterbox?), but the developers have also suggested that there will be some metroidvania-esque gating elements. You might run into roadblocks blocking off optional areas in the world, and if you want, you’ll be able to seek out optional caves and areas in the game or take on activities to progress your shark to be able to get past those roadblocks.
Combat in Maneater promises to be interesting. According to the developers, players will have to pay attention to enemies’ attack patterns and choose their own attacks and movements accordingly. Combat will include several basic attacks, such as charging into foes, using the shark’s tail, or siloing out of the water, while players will also be able to use environmental elements to their benefit, such as using swordfish as makeshift spears.
Of course, as a shark, you will also be able to make life miserable for humans, which is kind of the main draw of Maneater. This will range from activities like straight up eating humans and terrorizing them with your antics to being a pain by destroying yachts, docks, and jet skis, and so on.
Maneater also makes use of a wanted level system of sorts. While you will, of course, be able to wreak havoc along the coast, by doing so, you will also become more notorious, and as your notoriety increases, more bounty hunters and enemies like the Coast Guard will start becoming more aware of you.
Oh, and speaking of bounty hunters…
After you’ve hit a certain level of notoriety, more high level bounty hunters will begin tracking you down- but two can play at that game, of course. If you wish, you can track down and kill these special bounty hunters yourself. There are ten main named bounty hunters in Maneater, and killing them will yield unique rewards, so seek them out if you want to grow into a veritable killing machine.
Humans won’t be the only threat in Maneater. Other than human enemies, players will also be able to fight against other aquatic wildlife, which will include giant squids, killer whales, other sharks, alligators, and more. Interestingly enough, each open world section will also have its own apex predator, which players will be able to take on in boss fights after consuming a certain number of other wildlife creatures in that specific region.
Maneater is, as we’ve mentioned, an action RPG- so what exactly are the RPG mechanics players will be engaging with? Well, there’s quite a few of those. For starters, the shark will have five attributes in total – ferocity, perception, endurance, vitality, and agility – with each attribute affects different aspects of gameplay, and players will be choosing which ones to invest in. Attributes, however, will also play into other upgrades that defines how the shark evolves, which brings us to our next point…
Upgrading shark the evolutions is going to be an important part of progression on Maneater, for which the shark will have to feed on other aquatic wildlife to get nutrients and rare mutagenics. Earning more nutrients allows the shark to unlock more upgrades, grown in size, and in turn, equip more upgrades. These upgrades can include things such as a tail whip attack, a bite attack that inflicts bleeding wounds, electromagnetic spikes, external bone plates, and more. Additionally, which attributes you have invested in will also determine which upgrades you can unlock, so it definitely seems like there will be a lot of decisions involved in how you want your shark to progress.
NO SURVIVAL MECHANICS
Though chomping on other wildlife and humans will of course be a central mechanic in Maneater, you haven’t have to worry about any survival mechanics that present hunger requirements or anything of the like. The developers have made it clear that there are no hunger mechanics at play, so while eating other wildlife to earn nutrients will be required at time for progression, you won’t have to do so to simply stay alive.
Something else that the developers have confirmed will not be featured in Maneater is a permadeath mechanic. During an interview with Wccftech, Tripwire Interactive CEO John Gibson said that though that was something the developers toyed with early in development, they ultimately didn’t feel it suited the game’s structure. Given Maneater’s focus on an open world structure and longform progression mechanics, that makes a lot of sense.
XBOX ONE X AND PS4 PRO ENHANCEMENTS
Like most games that are released these days, Maneater will be leveraging the more powerful hardware of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X to deliver enhanced visuals. While the developers have not yet confirmed all the specifics of what these enhancements will be, one thing that has been confirmed is that it will run at a 4K resolution on both consoles.