Spanish developer Piccolo Studio announced its next project at The Game Awards tonight, a surreal adventure-platformer called After Us that sets players on a quest to save the souls of extinct animals as Gaia, the Spirit of Life.
The last of the animals on Earth are dead, and all that remains are their souls, preserved in their vessels by the last of the life force of The Mother. As Gaia, you’ll glide, jump, and dash as you explore landscapes devastated by the clash of humans and nature, evading traps, clearing the oil that consumes the world, and setting souls free.
“From dying forests to the heart of crumbling cities, through the dry seabed and polluted skies, each environment will offer new challenges for Gaia to face and will present her different versions of the Devourers’ wake of destruction as she spreads life and beauty on her path,” Piccolo Studio said. “After Us offers a somber look at a world decimated by human impact. As you guide Gaia’s light through it and discover the causes behind the destruction, you will learn the fate of the Devourers as agents of extinction, but also agents of progress, love, and hope.”
This clearly isn’t going to be the most light-hearted videogame of all time, but After Us looks very pretty—in a dark, grim, and very creepy way—and Piccolo’s previous game, Arise: A Simple Story—”an emotional journey of losing the love of one’s life”—is very well-regarded, with an aggregate score of 79 on Metacritic and “very positive” user ranking on Steam. I also feel like there’s a little bit of thematic consistency in there too—tragedy, loss, the inherent cruelty of life—but you don’t want to read too much into these things, especially across just two games.
After Us is being published by Private Division and slated to launch in spring 2023 for PC, Xbox Series X and S, and PlayStation 5.