You’re going to want to see this. An indie dev, character artist and new buddy of mine named Aaron Whaley is creating a game called Sol Diver, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a big budget, up-and-coming mainline series. In fact, Aaron was laid off back in 2020 from his job at the height of the pandemic, and instead of sitting around, decided to take his destiny into his own hands.
Turning to creativity in times of need
By refocusing his career on his passion for game art and design, honing his skills, and sleeping what I imagine is probably very little, he’s created what I think will be one of the most highly anticipated 3D indie games of the next few years!
Embark on an android’s journey towards self discovery. Through loss and the friendships she makes along the way, she’ll find what it truly means to have a soul.
Sol Diver is a sci-fi anime D&D inspired journey currently in solo development. (not all work is final)Itch.io
What is Sol Diver about?
The game is set on a planet that’s “tidally locked” to its star (that causes constant darkness), where both humans and androids co-exist instead of one being subservient to the other as with our real, modern society. The story takes place when Seraphina, a combat android who wakes up with corrupted memories must traverse harsh environments, overcome Nox, a corporation that’s destroying the planet with pollution via an industrial revolution.
It features immersive, solarpunk slash cyberpunk storytelling, environments (The world is divided into three zones – Sol, Twilight, and Nox), items, skills, upgrades, magic and more. As you meet new characters and team up with them, you’ll use ARPG mechanics for combat, and interact with Seraphina’s integrated HUD AI system named Gabriel. Think Tony Stark’s Jarvis or Sword Art Online’s menu system for context on how this works. Actually, the HUD will appear in front of you as a hologram, and it looks freaking sick.
Bringing in some help
Sol Diver’s PitchYaGame 2022 trailer, which can be seen above, goes a long way to sell what seems to be a touching narrative penned by Jenna Oliver over nothing but a beautiful score by Ricardo Chiesa. As someone who plays games almost exclusively for their story, I’m roped in hard right now. Up until recently, Aaron worked solo on this project, and in addition to bringing Jenna and Ricardo in to strengthen the ambience of the game, he’s also asked Luca Xavier to help on creative direction! At this point, the game is being paid for entirely out of pocket, and looks to release on PC first with consoles down the line so long as funding permits. A gameplay demo is planned for later this year.
How to support Sol Diver
If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest with Sol Diver’s development, Aaron is most active both on his Twitter and the game’s official Discord community. One of the best ways to help the game come to life is by joining his Patreon or by subscribing to the YouTube channel.
Sol Diver has been “Sol”ely responsible for helping Aaron get through the isolation and struggle of the pandemic, and I’m excited to see what it eventually becomes when it’s finished. There’s currently no release date, but that’s okay – games that focus on something deeper like finding meaning and purpose in a corrupt world and that mirror our own human experience should be developed with intentionality.
In many ways, I see this project and Seraphina’s journey as something that reflects its creator’s desire to realign with his own purpose and to break free from what society says he must be – instead, doing what lights a burning fire within him, and I think that’s something we can all get on board with, right?
While you wait for more Sol Diver news (which we’ll certainly be reporting on!), be sure to check out our coverage of the indie games shown off at the latest ID@Xbox Fall event, and don’t miss these 7 awesome indies that were shown off at PAX West this year, including Mina the Hollower, a game that is being created by Yacht Club of Shovel Knight fame to emulate old Game Boy games!