ECOGIG Research Informs Development of Ocean-Based Video Game: Beyond Blue

A screenshot of a scene in the Beyond Blue video game. Provided by E-Line Media

A screenshot of a scene in the Beyond Blue video game. Provided by E-Line Media

There is now a novel way to reach audiences and help spark their interest in ocean science that involves the very popular world of video gaming. Launched by E-Line Media in conjunction with the BBC and researchers involved with their Blue Planet II series, the single-player narrative adventure Beyond Blue takes players deep into our ocean’s mysterious and fascinating world.

Beyond Blue video game players join a research team that uses groundbreaking technologies to see, hear, and interact with the ocean through the eyes of Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist who dives deep to learn more about the vibrant and otherworldly underwater environments. Samantha Joye, Regents Professor at the University of Georgia and Director of the ECOGIG consortium, served as a consultant during the development of this new gaming experience that explores the deep ocean.

Beyond Blue is more than a video game,” explained Joye, “It’s an immersive tour through a fascinating and magical world that will leave you wanting to know more — and to do more. The game will motivate all players to learn more about the ocean and for some, playing will inspire engagement in ocean advocacy. Surely some players will be motivated to pursue a career in ocean science.”

How popular are video games? More than 75% of Americans have a gamer in their household and 70% of American families have a child who plays video games, according to a 2019 report released by the Entertainment Software Association.

E-Line Media, who also published the game Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) that introduces players to little-known tales of native Alaskan culture, wants people to start thinking about the world beyond what they see. The company partnered with BBC Studios (developers of the acclaimed Blue Planet II), OceanX Media (world-class game makers), and some of science’s leading ocean experts to craft an experience through Beyond Blue that reflects the wonder and mystery of the deep ocean.

Beyond Blue features

  • Exploration and adventure within an untouched world;
  • A captivating and entertaining soundtrack featuring an original score and music from Miles Davis, The Flaming Lips, The Edisons, and more; and
  • Sixteen unique mini-documentaries called Ocean Insights that feature original footage and interviews with science’s leading ocean experts.

“Working with the E-Line team to ideate gaming scenarios and imagine futuristic ocean science technologies was an incredible and rewarding experience,” Joye said. “And this is only the beginning – Mirai and her team have a lot more exploring to do!”

View this trailer of the Beyond Blue video game

Listen as scientists Samantha Joye, David Gruber, and Sylvia Earle talk about their participation as consultants during the Beyond Blue development and their fascination with the ocean at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GupPSblAxzo&feature=youtu.be

Get to know Mirai and the woman behind her character at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV_0to-ww6g&feature=youtu.be

The Beyond Blue video game uses several platforms (PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Apple Arcade) and is available for purchase ($19.99 USD) at https://beyondbluegame.com/.

The ECOGIG team has also helped produced a 4-part animated series on ocean science The Adventures of Zack and Molly.

By Nilde Maggie Dannreuther. Contact maggied@ngi.msstate.edu with questions or comments.

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This research was made possible in part by a grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf-2 (ECOGIG-2).

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.

© Copyright 2010-2020 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) – All Rights Reserved. Redistribution is encouraged with acknowledgement to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). Please credit images and/or videos as done in each article. Questions? Contact web-content editor Nilde “Maggie” Dannreuther, Northern Gulf Institute, Mississippi State University (maggied@ngi.msstate.edu).