Maneater | Interview with John Gibson of Tripwire Interactive

Shark game ooh-ha-ha!
April 17, 2020 10:00 AM by IndieObscura Staff

In our IOX broadcast aired on April 11, we shared a trailer for one of 2020’s most anticipated indie games, Maneater. Originally, we’d planned to have a full video interview segment for the game with gameplay footage attached.

Unfortunately, current global circumstances and necessary stay-at-home orders prevented this from happening. It’s a crazy time right now and we hope all of the amazing folks at Tripwire Interactive are staying safe and healthy!

To satiate our hunger for Maneater info, John Gibson, President at Tripwire Interactive, sent us written answers to all of the questions that were to be included in the video interview. Sadly, we were unable to use these written answers in the IOX broadcast itself due to time and format constraints.

Gamers grow more and more ravenous for Maneater info each day as the game’s release date of May 22 closes in, ourselves included. Wanting to share as much as we possibly can, we’re going to give you the deadliest catch on Maneater complete with some akpha gameplay footage.

Want to know what a “ShaRkPG” is? What about some of the bosses you’ll encounter in the game? We’ve got you covered! Get ready, because we’re diving deep into one of the most action-packed shark games you’ll ever play… Maneater!

Maneater - Interview with John Gibson of Tripwire Interactive

© Tripwire Interactive

What was the inspiration behind the creation of Maneater?

John: An Open-World Action RPG was something that was very appealing to Tripwire, but we knew that our first foray into the genre had to be something wholly unique. Something that people hadn’t seen before. We first caught wind of what would eventually become Maneater via our friend Alex Quick, co-owner of Blindside Interactive.

Alex and his team had been working on a single-player game that utilized some of the mechanics designed for another game he had worked on called Depth which was sharks vs. humans multiplayer. Blindside were looking for a publisher to help them make their game even better.

When we got our hands on what he had built so far, we knew this was what we were looking for. It fulfilled a power fantasy in a way that was unlike anything we had seen.

As time went on we felt that there was so much promise for this game, but it would take a larger team to achieve that promise. So we approached Blindside with the idea of Tripwire purchasing the game from them, and then working with them to make something that we would all be really proud of.

Can you talk a bit more about the story concept in Maneater of the TV show Sharkhunters vs. Maneaters and your rivalry against Scaly Pete?

John: The “Maneater” reality show idea was partially inspired by our love for shows like Deadliest Catch. It also was a great way to be able to tell the story of the game, especially from the shark’s perspective.

Since sharks don’t talk, and thoughts around having an “inner dialogue” for the shark just felt too cheesy, having a reality show narrator comment on what the shark is doing turned out to be a great way to tell her story.

The fact that the narrator is voiced by Chris Parnell also means that there will be some good lighthearted moments in there and a few laughs. On the human side, Scaly Pete is the star of the show. He’s a career shark hunter who’s on the search for a fabled “Mega” shark.

The player’s shark – and its mother – end up caught in the wake of Scaly Pete’s shark hunt. Events transpire between shark and man that really ruin Scaly Pete’s day. But it makes for great television! For spoiler reasons, I don’t want to go into great detail about Scaly Pete, but he certainly has a bone to pick with the player shark.

Where does Maneater take place, and are you free to swim around and explore different areas, or do you need to unlock areas first?

John: Maneater takes place in our fictionalized version of the American Southeastern Coast. There are 8 total regions to explore, each one with their own set of landmarks, wildlife, and of course deadly predators.

There are swampy bayous, pristine beaches, polluted backwaters, caves, rivers, sewers and more. All of the regions are interconnected, and once you reach a certain life phase early in the game, the whole game world opens up for you to explore.

In Maneater you start your journey as a baby shark. What does the process of growing into a huge, powerful shark look like and are there any special abilities you can unlock for your shark?

John: Yes, you start the game out as a baby shark that was torn out of its mother. As players continue to eat, explore, and evolve, their shark will grow in size and learn all manner of insane moves and attacks.

The process of growing your shark is unique compared to your standard action RPG because the character actually grows in size! As your shark grows, you’ll start to notice that previous threats are now a piece of cake and newer, bigger threats have come along to challenge you.

Will there be a skill or progression tree? Can you change around your skills and shark evolutions later on?

John: Our “evolutions” system is what you would traditionally call a skill tree. As players defeat enemies and complete missions, they’ll gain “evolutions” that can be placed on various parts of the shark’s body; anywhere from teeth to tail.

There are three evolution types: bone, shadow, and bio-electric. Each evolution adds some really awesome modifiers to combat and can be upgraded using resources collected while exploring the map.

In addition to humans, what sort of creatures (bosses) will your shark encounter?

John: Our boss battles in Maneater come in the form of Apex Predators. Each region in the world comes with its very own one-of-a-kind ferocious Apex Predator. So far, the two we’ve officially announced are the Apex Alligator and the Apex Barracuda, and we plan to announce more in the weeks leading up to launch.

Additionally, you’ll find that the world of Maneater is teeming with sea life. All sea creatures in the game have their own specific behaviors and animations. You’ll encounter Mahi Mahi, Grouper, Muskellunge, Sea Turtles, and much more.

In the past, you’ve described Maneater as being an open-world game. Can you talk a little bit more about some of the freedoms you have in Maneater?

John: Maneater is an Open-World Action RPG, or what we like to call a “ShaRkPG”. After completing the tutorial section, you’re free to start roaming the world as a “teen” shark. But you’ll also notice that certain areas of each region are only accessible when you get even bigger, and will unlock as your shark continues to eat, explore, and evolve.

Each area of the map has its own set of fun areas and the story/side missions will most definitely have players getting up to some ridiculously bloody shenanigans.

What are some of the craziest things you can do as a shark?

John: The crazy carnage that you can inflict as the Shark is hilariously awesome, and most importantly a blast to play. My personal favorite is the whipshot. It’s a move that allows the Shark to launch small prey as a projectile, and lemme tell ya, it’s extremely fun to hurl a mahi mahi at some unsuspecting beachgoers.

How did you get Chris Parnell to be the announcer in Maneater, and how much of Chris Parnell can we expect to hear while playing Maneater?

John: We knew that this game that involved eating people alive as they scream would get pretty dark if there wasn’t something that added a bit of levity. Audio Director Mark Muraski, writer Matt Entin and I started collecting a list of ideas and actors that exemplified those ideas.

They wrote a pitch with Chris Parnell as the intended target, and sure enough he loved the pitch, the writing, and the character. The rest is glorious, hilarious history. You can be sure to expect a few thousand dry and snarky lines from Mr. Parnell over the course of your Maneater playthrough.

Out of ~3500 lines we wrote for the Narrator, just over two thousand were used in the game.

Will there be any DLC for Maneater like new shark types, multiplayer, new areas to explore?

John: So far we’ve announced one piece of awesome looking DLC that’s available with pre orders at GameStop and other select retail locations: The Tiger Shark Adaptation. It gives the shark blood-red skin and a really ferocious-looking set of stripes. No further comment on DLC plans for the future. But the base game should keep you busy for a while.

Finally, when is Maneater scheduled to release, and for what platforms?

John: Maneater will launch on May 22, 2020 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC exclusively on the Epic Games Store. We’ll also be launching the game on Nintendo Switch later this year.

We want to thank John Gibson and the entire Tripwire Interactive team for their participation in IOX, and for taking the time to send us the interview in written form.

We find ourselves even more excited for the release of Maneater on May 22, and we know that the second we start playing the game, it’s going to be impossible to stop until we’ve eaten everybody. Literally everybody. It’s a goal we’re setting for ourselves, and we’re determined to meet that goal.

For updates on Maneater, be sure to follow the game’s official Twitter page, publisher and developer Tripwire Interactive, the YouTube page for Tripwire where new Maneater gameplay videos are shared, and the game’s official website.