Devolver Digital has just added a new game to their 2018 line up, and it’s looking a little different from the rest. Developed by Nomada Studio, Gris is, on the surface, an adventure platformer with an emphasis on light puzzle-solving and optional skill-based challenges. More than anything else though, it seems Gris is all about one person’s struggle with painful emotions.
The game follows Gris, a young girl who’s withdrawn into a world of her own creation following a painful experience. The nature of said experience has not been stated, though the death of a loved on would probably make for a good guess. Based on the marketing material released so far, it seems that “sorrow” is one of the game’s major themes, and few things inspire sorrow on the same scale as death. The girl’s dress is the symbol of her sorrow, and it will grant her new abilities as she progresses through her world and grows emotionally.
GRIS appears to be a game focused entirely on engulfing its players in a vividly-expressed experience. Players need not worry about dangers, deaths, or frustration in this one. All they need to do is sit back with controller in hand and take in the scrupulously crafted art, animation and score.
It’s tempting to immediately compare this game to 2012’s Journey, but there are some key differences to consider. Both provide ambient experiences, but where Journey puts one or more players on a nondescript trek, GRIS appears to be a strictly single-player affair with a story to tell. It’s character also seems to have the capacity to grow over the course of the game, unlike the unnamed traveler players follow in Journey. There are parallels to be sure, but one gets the feeling that it would be a mistake to look at GRIS as simply “Journey 2.”
GRIS launches for PC and Nintendo Switch this December.