A recent update for Forbidden Horizon West (coming along with the new burning shores DLC) has something interesting hidden besides some changes of subtitles and elements: Now there is a switch for anyone who suffers from thalassophobia, or “the persistent and intense fear of deep bodies of water such as the sea, oceans or lakes”.
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As the edge report, anyone who enables this option will find that the underwater sections of the game (there’s a part of the Bay Area that can be explored under the waves, for example) will be much less stressful on the nerves. The Guerrilla developers describe it as:
This feature is intended to alleviate the symptoms of thalassophobia by improving underwater ambient visibility and allowing you to breathe indefinitely, regardless of story progression.
If that sounds stupid to you, that’s fine, don’t enable it! But how i blogged repeatedly on this website The ocean is a deep, dark, and scary place, and video games do a good job, perhaps too good, of playing on the most fundamental aspects of that fear, namely the way they restrict visibility and then put a bunch of dangers (and more). in a bombastic tone invisible) things in your neighborhood.
Throw in a super common underwater setting trope, a limited oxygen supply, and you’ve got everything you need for an experience that goes beyond challenging and into the realm of the truly stressful. As, voluntarily skipping entire sections of a game stress levels.
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So this is a switch that, for me at least, is 30 years in the making. Thanks Guerrilla, I appreciate that, and especially the fact that it’s kind of optional, because as screwed up as I am playing underwater levels in 3D, I also realize that most people don’t have those issues, so it’s good to have the option.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because a few years ago, Obsidian promised something similar, just in case for anyone afraid of spiders. Which, again, as an Australian, I have nothing but understanding.