|Publisher(s)||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Programmer(s)||David Lee Swenson|
|Writer(s)||Evan M. Skolnick|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release||October 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, 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. How the player paints creatures and what color he/she paints them will affect their personalities. For example, red paint will grant a creature fire-breathing abilities. 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.
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. 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.
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 on 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 from his constantly arguing parents, Chuck and Janie's parents got separated, and Beatrice's father was incarcerated. 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, 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
|2019||Gamescom||Best Action/Adventure Game||Nominated|||
|Best Family Game||Won|
|Best Sony PlayStation 4 Game||Nominated|
|2019 Golden Joystick Awards||PlayStation Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|The Game Awards 2019||Games for Impact||Nominated|||
|2020||New York Game Awards||Central Park Children's Zoo Award for Best Kids Game||Nominated|||
|23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Technical Achievement||Nominated|
|NAVGTR Awards||Control Design, VR||Nominated|||
|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|||
|16th British Academy Games Awards||Artistic Achievement||Nominated|||
|18th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards||Best Cinematic Cutscene Audio||Nominated|||
|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)
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