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Harold Halibut, the stop-motion-style story about life at the bottom of an alien ocean, gets a big new trailer and an April release date

 Harold Halibut screenshot - Harold and an alien sneaking past an open doorway.
Harold Halibut screenshot - Harold and an alien sneaking past an open doorway.

Harold Halibut finally has a release date: Announced today at the Future Games Show, the stop-motion-style story of life in a stranded spaceship at the bottom of an alien ocean will be out on April 16.

Naturally, the news comes alongside a new trailer that reveals more of Harold's undersea world than we've seen previously. That "handcrafted" look is what's immediately appealing about it (and everything else we've seen so far) but what I find more interesting is the way it leans more into the narrative aspect of the game—not with details, but with a vibe: Harold is by all appearances very much a regular guy, but he aspires to more and it looks very much like he's suddenly been given the opportunity to bring those aspirations to life.

He may be a bit of a loner in that regard: Harold Halibut takes place on an "ark-like spaceship" that wound up submerged in an alien ocean 250 years ago. Most of its inhabitants have settled into their walled-in lives, but scientist Jeanne Mareaux continues to search for a way to leave the planet and find a better place for humanity's future. Harold, her assistant, is kept busy with that quest until, as the Steam page puts it, "one fateful encounter plunges Harold into a world no one could have imagined."

Developer Slow Bros told PC Gamer in November 2023 that the story isn't inspired by anything in particular, but emerged from "foundational concepts" the studio found interesting. "[Being] underwater was a big theme, an encapsulated/isolated society, relationships," art director Ole Tillman said at the time. "I would guess that we landed on friendship and [the concept of] 'where’s home' because we were writing this in our early to mid twenties and I think that was an innate theme for the time."

We've been waiting for this one for a long time—our reaction to our first look at Harold Halibut was, literally, "hot damn"—but it's been an even longer road for Slow Bros. Harold Halibut has been in development for 10 years, a period that includes a failed Kickstarter campaign in 2017, usually the kiss of death for small indie games. But the studio pushed on, and seven years later, here we are—less than a month from release.

You don't have to wait until April 16 to see what Harold Halibut is all about, though: A demo offering more than an hour of gameplay (possibly quite a bit more) is available on Steam.