Concrete Genie

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Concrete Genie
Concrete Genie artwork.png
Publisher(s)Sony Interactive Entertainment
Director(s)Dominic Robilliard
Producer(s)Brent Gocke
Designer(s)Jing Li
Programmer(s)David Lee Swenson
Artist(s)Jeff Sangalli
Writer(s)Evan M. Skolnick
Composer(s)Samual Marshall
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)PlayStation 4
ReleaseOctober 8, 2019

Concrete Genie is an action-adventure game developed by Pixelopus, a developer part of SIE Worldwide Studios, for the PlayStation 4. The game was announced at Sony's PlayStation Media Showcase at Paris Games Week 2017 on October 30, 2017,[1] and was released on October 8, 2019.


The player controls Ash and uses the DualShock 4's motion controls to create landscapes in the town of Denska. These landscapes turn into living portraits.[2] How the player paints creatures and what color he/she paints them will affect their personalities.[3] For example, red paint will grant a creature fire-breathing abilities.[4] In addition to free-style drawing, there is a set of core puzzles in the game that the player has to solve through their artwork.[4]

The player gains more access of Denska over time, but at the start of the game, the player only has access to a single neighborhood.[4] Throughout the game, the bullies will move through the town and cause the artwork to die. They can also bully Ash, so the player must avoid the bullies as Ash traverses the town. The player can also fix the ruined artwork.

Project manager Brent Gocke says the game is between five and six hours long.[5] The developer is currently looking into a multi-player component to the game.[4]


Concrete Genie takes place in a small port town named Denska. Once thriving, it has been abandoned after an oil spill caused by a tanker, along with it being slowly taken over by a force simply called Darkness, which stems from negative emotions. The story focuses on Ash, a young teenager who spends his time drawing in his sketchbook. He is frequently targeted by a group of bullies: Zack, Beatrice, Froggie, and siblings Chuck and Janie.

One day, the bullies discover Ash's sketchbook and rip out the pages, scattering them across the town. The bullies then force Ash into a cable car that takes him to Denska's lighthouse island. Upon arriving, Ash sees one of the pages and chases it into the lighthouse. The drawing on the page, a creature called Luna, comes to life and guides Ash to a magic paint brush, which gives life to anything he paints. The brush also allows Ash to create Genies: friendly creatures based on chalk drawings that he made as a child. Luna requests that Ash remove the Darkness from Denska, to which he accepts.

Ash returns to Denska and starts bringing life back to the town and eliminating the Darkness, finding more pages and creating more Genies on the way. He sometimes crosses paths with the bullies, but when they try to take the brush, Ash experiences a vision of their past, revealing that they all had troubled childhoods: Zack ran away from home to escape his arguing and dysfunctional parents, Chuck and Janie's parents became separated, Beatrice's father was incarcerated, and Froggie is implied to hang out with them only to avoid being bullied himself. Ash begins to feel sorry for the bullies.

Ash continues with his journey, but just as he is finishing his last painting, he is interrupted by the bullies, who break the brush and ruin the painting. Ash's despair and the bullies' negativity manifest as Darkness, which corrupts the Genies, turning them into vicious monsters that attack the bullies and further spread the Darkness in Denska. Luna teleports Ash back to the lighthouse for safety, and seemingly sacrifices herself to repair and empower the brush, allowing Ash to fight the Dark Genies. He returns to the town, restoring the Genies to their original form and rescuing the bullies, all of whom apologize and assist him. The group chases the last Dark Genie into the lighthouse island, and upon its defeat, Luna is revealed to still be alive. Ash makes one final painting that completely eradicates the Darkness from Denska.

During the credits, Ash is shown to have become friends with the others, who each receive their own magic brush from Luna, and people begin returning to Denska.


Pixelopus served as the game's lead developer. Creative director Dominic Robillard says the game is heavily inspired by Sega's Jet Set Radio, while the concept of painting street arts came from one of the team members, Ashwin Kumar, who grew up in India.[6] The game would not rate any players' creations because the team did not want to judge players' creation. The game features a story mode that deals with themes like bullying.[4] The game was later delayed to late 2019, though Pixelopus confirmed that the game would be released with a mode for the PlayStation VR headset.[7]


Concrete Genie was positively received upon release; the game holds a score of 75/100 on review aggregator Metacritic based on 83 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[18] Praise was directed towards its visual style, atmosphere, thematic elements and art-based gameplay, while criticism was pointed at the game's easy difficulty level and combat.


Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 Gamescom Best Action/Adventure Game Nominated [19][20]
Best Family Game Won
Best Sony PlayStation 4 Game Nominated
2019 Golden Joystick Awards PlayStation Game of the Year Nominated [21]
The Game Awards 2019 Games for Impact Nominated [22]
2020 New York Game Awards Central Park Children's Zoo Award for Best Kids Game Nominated [23]
23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Nominated [24]
Outstanding Technical Achievement Nominated
NAVGTR Awards Control Design, VR Nominated [25]
Direction in Virtual Reality Nominated
Original Light Mix Score, New IP Nominated
Sound Mixing in Virtual Reality Nominated
SXSW Gaming Awards Excellence in Technical Achievement Nominated [26]
16th British Academy Games Awards Artistic Achievement Nominated [27]
Family Nominated
18th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards Best Cinematic Cutscene Audio Nominated [28]
Best Interactive Score Nominated
Best Audio Mix Nominated


^ Known in Japan as Ash to Mahou no Fude (アッシュと魔法の筆, lit. Ash and the Magic Brush)


  1. ^ Alex Osborn (October 30, 2017). "Concrete Genie Announced". IGN. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Dominic Robillard (October 30, 2017). "Concrete Genie, From the Team Behind Entwined, Comes to PS4 in 2018". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  3. ^ Randolph Ramsay (January 12, 2018). "How PS4 Exclusive Concrete Genie Will Make You Care About Its Strange Creatures". GameSpot. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Nick Summers (November 1, 2017). "'Concrete Genie' is a game about bullying and street art". Engadget. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  5. ^ Chris Carter (July 16, 2018). "Concrete Genie is one of Sony's most impressive games developed by one of its smallest studios". Destructoid. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Dean Takahashi (July 30, 2019). "How a small team of artists conceived Sony's Concrete Genie". VentureBeat. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  7. ^ Jon Fingas (March 25, 2019). "PS4 exclusive 'Concrete Genie' is delayed again, this time to fall 2019". Engadget. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  8. ^ "Concrete Genie for Playstation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  9. ^ "Review: Concrete Genie". Destructoid. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  10. ^ "Concrete Genie Review: A Wonderful World of Color Comes With Caveats". USgamer. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  11. ^ "Concrete Genie review". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 8 October 2019. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  12. ^ "Concrete Genie : Un jeu d'action-aventure assez bien construit à défaut d'être génial". Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  13. ^ "Concrete Genie Review - Rubs Me The Right Way". GameSpot. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  14. ^ "CONCRETE GENIE REVIEW". Computer Games Magazine. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  15. ^ "Concrete Genie - Dieses PS4-Exclusive pinselt sich mitten ins Herz". GamePro. 8 October 2019. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  17. ^ "Concrete Genie Review". IGN. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  18. ^ "Concrete Genie for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  19. ^ Mercedes Milligan (August 15, 2019). "Gamescom Award 2019 Nominees Revealed". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  20. ^ Aaron Mamiit (August 25, 2019). "PlayStation 4 exclusive Dreams takes home Best of Gamescom 2019 award". Digital Trends. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  21. ^ Stephen Tailby (September 20, 2019). "Days Gone Rides Off with Three Nominations in This Year's Golden Joystick Awards". Push Square. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  22. ^ Jeremy Winslow (November 19, 2019). "The Game Awards 2019 Nominees Full List". GameSpot. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  23. ^ Gavin Sheehan (January 2, 2020). "The New York Game Awards Announces 2020 Nominees". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  24. ^ Andy Chalk (January 13, 2020). "Control and Death Stranding get 8 nominations each for the 2020 DICE Awards". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  25. ^ "2019 Nominees". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  26. ^ Grayshadow (February 17, 2020). "2020 SXSW Gaming Awards Nominees Revealed". NoobFeed. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  27. ^ Keith Stuart (March 3, 2020). "Death Stranding and Control dominate Bafta games awards nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  28. ^ Kelly Wilson (February 13, 2020). "Game Audio Network Guild Announces 18th Annual G.A.N.G. Award Nominees". The Hype Magazine. Retrieved February 27, 2020.