This E3, EA debuted a new Star Wars game, some Madden, Bioware’s newest adventure and yet, it was a game from Berlin-based studio Jo-Mei games that I am most excited for: Sea of Solitude. Developed by Cornelia Geppert, the focus of the game is to explore the protagonist’s emotions: heartache, loneliness, anger, fear, and more. As the second EA Originals title, the choice of EA to bring forth unique games from small developers is highlighted by the emotional exploration the game will call for the player to undergo.
In Sea of Solitude, you will play as Kay, a girl consumed by loneliness to the point that she has become a monster. Coated in black feathers, she isn’t the human she once was. In this exploration-based game, you will travel through an abandoned and submerged city, encountering giant creatures, coated in the same feathers as our protagonist.
As Kay, you must find out how this changed happened and find her way back to who she was before. As the game’s website explains: “On her search to change, she soon finds out that her biggest enemies are not the huge monsters that she meets on her way through the Sea of Solitude, but something way more dangerous.”
Geppert’s presentation of the game came was heartfelt, she explained that she began writing this game when she was at one of the darkest points in her life. “At times it is very challenging to dig that deep into your own feelings like core fears, longing and anger, but at the same time it is the most fulfilling thing to express those very feelings by putting it to people through art.” Much like Hellblade’s release last year, Sea of Solitude seems to be a game aimed at exploring mental health and by this exploration normalizing the depression, loneliness, and darkness that many feel. By using empathy to find a way back to her former self, I believe Kay’s journey will resonate with many.
At its heart, Sea of Solitude speaks to the importance of games and the narrative power they can have to bring a player through an exploration of their own mental health. As the game puts you on a journey of self-understanding, I am hopeful that it can be utilized to reach out to those struggling with loneliness and depression or serve as a tool to help people a way out of their own darkness.
Sea of Solitude releases early next year.