A new game about saving what's left after an apocalypse from the studio behind Arise: A Simple Tale

After Us is the next game from the Arise studio, and it's about saving the souls of extinct animals

(Image credit: Piccalo)

Announced at the Game Awards, After Us is a new game from Piccolo Studios, the developer behind Arise: A Simple Tale, that sees you navigating a surreal apocalypse to rescue the souls of extinct animals. Studio co-founder Alexis Corominas explains it’s inspired by the idea of legacy and trying to find hope in the future when “it’s easy to get very negative and everything is going wrong”. Very much a game for the last few years then…

Corominas continues, “Arise was us looking back and that’s why we had an old man looking back at memories of his life and all that. We were having a middle age crisis, I had the dream of creating a video game company. Now we’re a working company, we have to do a second title, [and] we decided to look ahead. We were older, some of us had sons during the process, and so you start to see the future and… what are we leaving behind us?”

At the end of the world

In terms of gameplay, these philosophical musings play out as a surreal and abstract post-apocalyptic world where, as Gaia, ‘the Spirit of Life’, you try to salvage the souls of extinct animals after humanity has destroyed the world. That means platforming through a beautiful and symbolic environment, while dealing with oil-covered monsters called Devourers that represent “all the bad things about mankind,” according to the other Piccolo co-founder, Jordi Minstral.

After Us is the next game from the Arise studio, and it's about saving the souls of extinct animals

(Image credit: Piccalo)

What’s been revealed so far has an almost dream-like feel to it with hints of things like Journey and even Little Nightmares as Gaia leaves trails of flowers in her wake, fluidly navigating levels made up of abstract representations of various things that ruined the world – everything from TVs to industrialized cities, logging saws, whaling ships and so on. The Devourers change slightly in each area depending on its downfall and, while you technically ‘fight’ them, the combat is more about cleansing and redeeming them. The focus for After Us instead is more on “exploration, platforming and environmental puzzles” according to Minstral.   

While the overall concept is that the world is over and we ruined it, the idea is to create a positive game. “When you start thinking about the future it’s easy to get negative, trying to blame someone or something,” explains Corominas, “but we wanted to create a tale about hope and bringing hope back to the world; we want people to have an uplifting journey”. 

After Us is the next game from the Arise studio, and it's about saving the souls of extinct animals

(Image credit: Piccalo)

That might all sound like just nice things to say but when Minstral talks about the idea of “emotional rewards instead of pure mechanical rewards”, as you save the remnants of the world, it’s worth noting that Piccolo’s last game, Arise: A Simple Tale, was an incredibly emotional experience. The studio’s last title did a beautiful job of merging gameplay, music, and art to create a powerful rumination on life, death, and grief as an old man navigates the afterlife to look back at what he’s achieved. It should have been all over the 2019 GOTY lists but largely slipped through the cracks after being released in December (seriously, go play it). Based on Piccolo’s last efforts, After Us’ promise of uplift and hope maybe won’t just be press release filler. We’ll find out when the game releases in Spring 2023.

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Leon Hurley

Senior Guides Co-ordinator

I’m currently GamesRadar’s Senior Guides Co-ordinator, which means I’ve had a hand in producing or writing all of the guide and tips content on the site. I also write reviews, previews and features, and do video. Previously I worked for Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website. I’m a big fan of open world games, horror, and narrative adventures. 

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