It’s hard to make a game about fishing exciting, but it is possible. For that, you need a team of dedicated people whose sheer enjoyment and passion for a subject matter can translate what they love about it to the mainstream folks. Luckily, Misc Games seems to have just that kind of people.
Fishing: Barents Sea is a fishing simulator set in the Norwegian Sea, where you inherit a small boat from your grandfather and set upon the waves to make your fortune. According to CEO Gøran Myrland, the studio is dedicated to providing an accurate and exciting portrayal of life at sea.
“Fishing: Barents Sea is about industrial fishing in Norway, set on an big open-world of 32x32 kilometres”, told me Myrland. “It’s a real life location around a place called Hammerfest, and we took great care to accurately represent the environment and the weather.”
Developed on Unreal Engine 4, Fishing: Barents Sea does look fabulous. Waves move around the sea, surrounded by the Nordic coast. In the distance, snow-capped mountains loom near the horizon as close-by, lots of fishes litter the waters.
“We built a really complicated system for fish”, Myrland told me. “Fish move around the area based on the temperature in the water, and some fishes move out of the map in the summer and go back in the winter, for example.”
The weather affects more than fish, as gameplay is governed by a dynamic day-night and differing season effects. Those affect your fishing opportunities, which are also subject to semi-realistic interpretations of boat steering and real life equipment such as door sensors and nets. With six playable ships, the game offers anyone with a mild interest in the area with plenty of things to do.
More than that, the game instills respect for the nature instead of just mindless profiteering -- killing fish by the dozen will come back and bite you in the ass. “When the player is fishing, he needs to take care of the habitat”, said Myrland. “If he overfishes, it will eventually be empty in the sea.”
Asked about where the passion for this project came, Gøran credited his early life experience. “My grandfather had his own fishing boat when he grew old, and my father worked on a trawler”, he told me. “I worked on one too, it for about half a year when I was 17, and that’s when I had the idea to make the game. It’s a nice area that hasn’t been explored properly.”
That is utterly true, and if there’s one studio with the passion and the enjoyment to make fishing exciting, it’s Misc Games.
Fishing: Barents Sea is out on February 7th, 2018 for the PC.