So in about two weeks, one of Sony‘s smaller game studios, PixelOpus is releasing their latest game, Concrete Genie. However, there doesn’t seem to be much buzz or hype for this small, yet intriguing game. For those who don’t know PixelOpus is one of thirteen studios that Sony Interactive Entertainments owns. These include the likes of gaming juggernauts such as Naughty Dog (Uncharted & The Last of Us) and Santa Monica Studio (God of War series). It’s understandable why PixelOpus isn’t talked about as much compared to its fellow studios. But in my opinion, I think people should keep their eye on this one. After all, they did make the beautiful indie game, Entwined. But what does this have to with their next game, Concrete Genie, and why should you care about it?
1. It’s a Charming & Unique New IP
It’s so hard to find fun, unique, or interesting new IP in the entertainment industry these, days and the gaming industry is no exception. I personally have no issue with sequels, remake, or remasters these days — some of my favourite games are remakes or remasters like Shadow of the Colossus on the PS4. But SIE is well-known for creating fresh new gaming franchises like Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Order 1886, Ghost of Tsushima, and many more.
Concrete Genie looks like no exception, with a cute art style and a fun gameplay premise where you draw creatures to life with your magical paintbrush to solve puzzles. Most AAA game studios or publishers these days wouldn’t want to risk green-lighting a small, simplistic game for a niche audience. Even if the final product turns out to be mediocre at best, at least we can respect the teams for trying out something new.
2. A Relatable Story For a Younger Audience
While the game isn’t out yet, we do already have a good grasp of what Concrete Genie‘s story is. You play as a young boy named Ash who lives in a small, mostly abandoned and polluted town. Ash regularly draws in his notebook. Unfortunately one day, A group of bullies steals the book, rips out the pages and scatters them throughout the city. While on his quest, Ash discovers a paintbrush that can bring his drawings to life and help him along the way. Ash must overcome the bullies and bring life back to his hometown. The story’s premise is a greatly relatable story for many younger people these days.
This story could reflect our real-world social issues and how kids, teenagers, and young adults see the world from their perspective. Obviously, I can’t judge the story since the game isn’t out yet, but from the look of the gameplay trailers online, this could a great story for a younger audience to look at in terms of isolation and bullying, similar to how Celeste explored anxiety and depression.
3. Simplicity Is Not Always a Bad Thing
Most games these days feel like they need to bigger and better that previous entries or even compared to other games that are coming out. Personally, this can be hit or miss for me. For examples, games like Red Dead Redemption 2 has a huge world, varied gameplay, are technically impressive, and have many more features yet feels doesn’t feel empty or poor and always feel satisfying to play. However, games like Assassin Creed: Odyssey or Anthem try to be huge for the sake of being huge.
The point I’m making is that not all games need to be massive 60+hour experiences. Games like Journey or Inside take full advantage of their short playtimes by refining the game into a highly-polished experience. Concrete Genie seems like it’s going in a similar direction with its simple gameplay involving drawing and puzzle-solving, a beautifully cute art style, and a small & personal story. This could be another small and beautiful experience like Journey, Celeste, and Inside. But only time will tell how this game will turn out.
These are some of the reasons why I think you should keep your eye on Concrete Genie. Personally, it’s one of my most anticipated games this year, up there with the likes of Death Stranding and Doom Eternal.
Remember that Concrete Genie is releasing exclusively on the PlayStation 4 on October 8th, 2019 for $39.99. It’ll also be compatible with the PSVR. If you want more details about the game, you can check them out here.
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