By the time I joined Sony's uniquely positioned internal "indie" studio Pixelopus on Concrete Genie, the team had already come up with many narrative elements of their innovative game, including characters, world and story structure. They knew they had a great concept and original, entrancing game mechanics. But they also recognized they wanted their story to match the quality and unusual nature of the project as a whole.
I came onboard the production as its main writer and narrative designer in mid-2017, working with Creative Director Dominic Robilliard and his team to refine and hone the game story and all related narrative elements. One year later, in 2018, Pixelopus brought on a full-time, on-staff narrative designer, Matt Boland, with whom I had previously worked at LucasArts and Telltale.
Matt's addition to the equation allowed me to focus my time on the actual writing process, which -- between cutscenes, scripted events, lore items and VO "barks" -- had exponentially increased in scope. Matt and I collaborated closely for the final year of the game's development, continuing to craft Concrete Genie's very special story about art, bullying, and forgiveness.
As the title approached launch, I was tapped to conceptualize, storyboard and write the game's Story Trailer, seen below.
When all was said and done, I had contributed not only to the writing and narrative design of Concrete Genie, but was also involved in voice casting, VO recording, and some game design as well.
With its innovative painting mechanics and heartwarming themes, Concrete Genie performed well with reviewers. And the hard work we put into the game's narrative elements did not go unnoticed by them. Here are some pull-quotes:
"... a creative achievement in art and narrative that carries lessons which will last a lifetime." — CBR
"Full to bursting with warm, colorful memories and touching moments. It's a simple story, expertly told." —Kotaku
"The story is unique in its innocence, and you can tell that a fair amount of love has gone into it..." —Next Level Gaming
"… a touching and sweet story about bullying and self acceptance." —Newsweek
"… simple yet nuanced storytelling expertly balances the fantastical with real-world issues." —Pure PlayStation
"The characters' backstories are tragic and heartbreaking and it gives surprising gravitas to what could've been annoying teenage cliches." —Love Thy Nerd
"I had no idea how emotional and breathtaking the game would be. From the opening sequence all the way through, I was hooked into the characters and story." —Digital Chumps
"What Concrete Genie does extremely well is telling the story." —The Valkyries.uk
"... an incredibly thought-out story about bullying and forgiveness." —Crashing Game Night
Awards and Nominations
Concrete Genie stands as one of the most celebrated games released in 2019. Here are just a few of the 50+ nominations and awards it has garnered so far.