The Kraken Wakes

the kraken wakes teaser
Jack Allin

Written by Jack Allin

April 11, 2023

Adaptation of John Wyndham’s 1950s sci-fi/horror novel features conversational AI


Artificial intelligence is taking over adventure games! Okay, not really, but Charisma Entertainment’s newly released The Kraken Wakes does feature a significant conversational AI component in its “official” adaptation of the John Wyndham 1953 sci-fi/horror novel by the same name.

Out of the blue, a torrent of massive fireballs begin hurtling through the sky one day before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. You are a rookie reporter working on another story for EBC News, but you’re in the right place at the right time on a nearby fishing boat to pursue the scoop of a lifetime, instantly thrusting you into a position of “journalistic stardom.” And so begins an epic mystery that sees you “travelling the world and delving deep into the oceans,” where it soon becomes clear that “the fireballs were only the beginning of something far more sinister … a deadly threat now lurking in the deeps.” It’s your job to “devise eye-catching headlines, deliver knock-out press conference performances, and negotiate with governments in your mission to uncover the truth about the fireballs before it’s too late.”

In keeping with Wyndham’s novel, The Kraken Wakes is a “conversational cosy apocalypse game” exploring such topics as “ecological disaster, militaristic governments and migration.” The game features a certain amount of standard keyboard-based adventuring in which you explore your surroundings in search of documents with revealing information. The bulk of the gameplay, however, lies in its AI-driven conversational system, which forsakes the usual multiple choice dialogue trees with a text parser that allows you to “talk or type to the characters in natural language, influencing their actions and emotions as you shape the narrative.” The people around you all have their own “personalities, memories, opinions and emotions,” so what choose to say impacts both their moods and their overall relationships with you, for better or for worse. Even the music is adaptive, as the soundtrack will change to reflect their feelings and best suit the circumstances you’ve produced through your choices.

If you’re up to the challenge of talking your way out of global annihilation, actions speak louder than words as The Kraken Wakes is available now on Steam for Windows PC.


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