Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Feature Article

Arise Is A Beautiful Collision Of Music And Emotion

Arise: A Simple Story mixes the beauty of Disney's Fantasia and the emotion of Studio Ghibli films with a sprinkling of platforming.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Piccolo Studio in Barcelona, Spain was founded by three partners who've known each other for 20 years, and in 2019, they're releasing their first video game, ever, Arise: A Simple Story. For two decades, the partners ran successful interactive ad campaigns for global brands like Coca-Cola--but that corporate lifestyle grew stale.

As the team puts it on their website, "We were making money and winning awards, but it wasn't fulfilling. Making video games [has] always been a childhood dream, so we went for it. Starting from scratch in a risky industry was a leap of faith, but we were looking for that missing spark in our lives. If you fail, at least fail doing what you like."

Narrative designer Alexis Corominas says he wants to be able to look back, remember, and be proud of the work he's done. That mentality is reflected in Arise--the game begins with the death of an old man, who reawakens in limbo. From here, you'll explore 10 different memories from the man's past.

"Every level of the game is dedicated to a single feeling," Corominas explains. "If you connect all the feelings in the game, it's like a roller coaster of emotions. These are universal feelings. The goal of the game is to touch people."

Levels play out without any dialogue--music swells as you platform through various setpieces, but characters from the old man's past don't speak to one another. Arise focuses on emotions rather than story.

Of course, Arise is still a game you play. The old man can run, jump, and use his grappling hook to swing from various points. But Arise's central mechanic is the ability to scrub through time. Some levels let you move between morning and night, while others stretch out across full seasons. In all cases, moving forward or backward in time changes the level around you, as animals, objects, and platforms shift over the course of minutes, hours, and days.

One stage (seen in the gameplay above) had us leaping across giant sunflowers. The flowers follow the sun across the sky and tilt as the day progresses, allowing us to change the angle of the flowers as we leaped across gaps. The same stage had a handful of snails that would slowly move throughout the day, letting us hop aboard their shells to reach higher platforms.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8

The goal of the sunflower level is to chase down a kite that belonged to a friend from the old man's childhood, representing a happier time in his life. The following level (also seen in our gameplay video) is not so joyful: a mountain range slowly ripped apart from the center, forcing us to rewind and bring cliffs back together as we make our way to the summit. In the end, the reason for the schism was made clear: that same childhood friend was going away, leaving the old man on one side of the divide as his friend was pulled away, both literally and figuratively.

This reflexive level design is accompanied by an art style reminiscent of Tequila Works' Rime. That checks out, as Rime's art director Jose Luis Vaello is also the art director for Arise. Vaello's work is inspired by Disney's Fantasia and the "Disney of Japan," Studio Ghibli. It's a good match for the game, as it's levels are focused on emotional moments rather than plot points.

Arise: A Simple Story releases on December 3. It's headed to PS4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

tonywilson

Tony Wilson

Tony makes videos for GameSpot and occasionally writes a word or two for things like this. Yes, he will be your friend.
Arise: A Simple Story

Arise: A Simple Story

Follow
Back To Top
5 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for ChrisAnetkaC
ChrisAnetkaC

676

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 130

User Lists: 0

Best of luck to this company on their new road. I can imagine that advertising that rust removal fluid called coke takes a heavy toll. May they bring us and themselves some creative happiness.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for grub
Grub

1

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Looks like a pleasant game, but I didn’t get a feeling of Fantasia or Ghibli...at all. The description is off...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for doa2169
DOA2169

180

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Why would you think that I want feels? I don't want feels.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for jsprunk
JSprunk

1089

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 5

@doa2169: Ok robot

Upvote • 
Avatar image for xantufrog
xantufrog

11833

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

xantufrog  Moderator

looks nice - i like that things like this exist and can complement the more gritty and/or bombastic stuff big companies focus on

Upvote •