Give humanity a second and last chance. Meet Gaia, the white and radiant nymph, Guardian of the animal souls, and Spirit of Life. Let her soul shine, let her heart guide you, safeguard her lifeblood, and channel her purity into benevolent energy to restore and heal the Earth.
While Piccolo Studio and Private Division prepare for the highly anticipated launch of After Us on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, let’s delve into more intriguing details about the main character, Gaia.
In this up-close and intimate encounter with the protagonist, we will offer a deeper exploration of Gaia, delving beyond her physical attributes, properties, and in-game abilities. Our focus will extend to her inner consciousness, analyzing her intricate and contrasting emotions and empathizing with the profound experiences that have shaped her.
Why does the Earth desperately need her assistance? Who is Gaia, and what role does she play? Is she a savior, a guardian, or a benevolent spirit?
Learn how Piccolo Studio infused the emotional and poetic elements of Gaia’s essence into the gameplay mechanics. Join us to uncover these and other intriguing details about After Us.
Who is Gaia?
Gaia is a graceful little nymph who resides in the Ark. Her tale of hope intertwines with the tragic fate befalling the Earth.
The loss of the last living animals has drained and darkened the once-thriving Earth. In a final, desperate attempt, the Mother harnessed all her Life Force to protect and safeguard the souls of the last animals, now trapped within their vessels.
It will be Gaia’s duty to rescue each of their souls and bring them back to the Mother’s Ark.
Gaia: Life, Nature, and Spirituality
There are countless epithets by which we could describe Gaia: Guardian of the animals, Savior, Protector of the Ecosystem… However, the only one that truly encapsulates her essence is undeniably “Spirit of Life.” A poignant reminder of vitality, infusing hope into anyone who succumbs to fear.
Gaia personifies purity, splendor, and inviolability. She carries an unwavering, radiant hope to heal humanity and guide it into a new era. However, she is not immune to the catastrophe befalling the world of After Us.
Oil poses a persistent threat to Earth, as it has the unique ability to deprive Gaia of her life energy. By assimilating and engulfing humans with her essence, oil exerts control and manipulation over them, stripping away their souls.
Humans, now completely turned into oil-covered Devourers, emerge as apocalyptic, soulless entities driven by insatiable hunger, ready to pursue and hunt down the few remaining life forms on Earth. This grim reality foreshadows the planet’s grim and catastrophic fate: a mass extinction.
Gaia is vulnerable to oil, appearing weakened and exhausted as it spreads. As the embodiment of Life on Earth in its purest form, she must halt the expansion of oil. In After Us, if we imagine a nemesis capable of defeating this evil, it is the spiritual union between Gaia and Nature.
Naturally, the little nymph is inherently connected to nature. Imagine the connection between these two as an unbreakable bond that not even oil can sever. It is through regenerating nature and vegetation that Gaia can heal the Earth from the affliction it has suffered. This is a very interesting aspect that we can observe not only in terms of narrative and plot development but also in gameplay, exploration, and the protagonist’s unique abilities.
The boundary between the physical and spiritual worlds is much thinner than we can imagine. And, as you may have guessed, the concept of spirituality is one of the sensitive core themes that Piccolo Studio’s work aims to address. Gaia plays a central role in all of this. Her empathy, emotions, sensations, and introspection will be at the heart of our cognitive, sensitive, and personal experience with the world of After Us.
It is also extremely interesting to note how the relationship between Gaia and the player is reciprocal. Because while it is true that the protagonist will be our guide within the game, our unquenchable light that illuminates the world and dispels the darkness, it is equally true to say that we are sort of companions on Gaia’s journey. Our purpose is to ensure that she never loses hope and that her radiant light never fades away.
As emphasized by Piccolo Studio, despite her ethereal and celestial appearance, Gaia possesses a deeply “human” sensitivity. Her personality is replete with nuances and vibrant hues. She experiences pain, joy, sadness, love, and empathy.
What would happen if nature ceased to thrive? What would happen if the ecosystem suffered irreparable damage? If we symbolically envision nature as synonymous with life and prosperity, Gaia, as a guardian spirit of these principles, cannot allow life to cease to exist, nor can she permit nature to be overwhelmed by darkness. Failure is not an option for her!
A tiny Nymph with a big Heart
Let’s briefly discuss how Piccolo Studio contributed to the development of Gaia’s character design.
From a purely aesthetic perspective, Gaia appears as a small, pure, and celestial nymph, nearly tiny in comparison to the surrounding environment. Her movements are delicate and graceful, allowing her to move freely in space and cover long distances.
This choice is influenced by multiple factors, with Piccolo Studio’s game design decisions being at the forefront. The developers aimed to portray this character with an essence of unparalleled harmony and grace, akin to that of a free-spirited and ethereal being. To achieve this, it was essential for her movements to be elegant and graceful.
As we can observe, Gaia leaves a celestial and luminous trail in her wake, infusing the Earth with light, positivity, and hope. She emits a powerful radiant aura, which stands out particularly in dark and gloomy settings, symbolizing her immense spiritual strength.
Gaia has sparkling blue eyes and long hair that cascades from her head in a blend of silvery white and platinum blonde, reaching beyond her back. Her body is nearly entirely covered by a protective organic bark.
The bark acts as a natural shield, serving as protective armor that covers every part of Gaia’s body except for her face, hands, and feet, which remain untouched. Enclosed within the bark is Gaia’s most cherished possession—the core of her being, her heart.
Gaia’s heart will not only hold deep symbolic value, but also offer an additional significance, unlocking captivating possibilities within the gameplay mechanics. However, as the saying goes, all things in due time.
In the following section, we will delve deeper into some of the protagonist’s key abilities, including her heart.
Between Mind and Spirit. Between Soul and Body
Let’s take a closer look at Gaia’s main abilities and their role within the gameplay.
Movement Abilities (high-jumping, double jumping, air dodging): Master Gaia’s agile skills to dash swiftly, leap across platforms, traverse great distances, elude the perils of biomes, and evade the attacks of the Devourers.
The Song of Nature: Gaia’s song is a symbol of hope and rebirth. As soon as she sings, the nymph generates ethereal butterflies that flutter through the air. In gameplay, the song holds great significance for Gaia, allowing her to sense signs of life in the surrounding environment.
Earth’s Purification: Gaia can channel all her energy and unleash a powerful “explosion” of light that purifies the environment, cleansing the desolate Earth and adorning it with vast natural landscapes, flowers, trees, and other elements that restore the vegetation and ecosystem of bygone times.
Gaia’s Heart: One of the many souls of the Spirit of Life, Gaia’s heart is enclosed within a resilient organic bark. Through it, Gaia can interact with the environment, release the spirits of animals, solve puzzles, and even “wield” and throw it as a defensive weapon in combat to fend off the Devourers’ sudden attacks.
Gaia’s Tears: Tears hold deep meanings and serve as a powerful vehicle of expression. As mentioned earlier, Gaia’s emotional depth and sensitivity are integral aspects of her being. Naturally, we cannot yet disclose whether Gaia’s tears will play a prominent role in the gameplay.
Every aspect of After Us, even those intimately intertwined with the gaming experience and game design, has a poetic, sentimental, and symbolic nature. Even our analysis of Gaia, in a way, reflects this aspect. Each minute fragment of the nymph’s body conceals more than initially meets the eye.
And Gaia’s tears are undoubtedly one of the aspects that have captivated me the most, prompting me to delve into the exploration of a dual meaning, something that transcends my senses.
The Earth must survive at any cost
After Us will be released tomorrow, May 23rd, for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in delving deeper into some of the unique gameplay features and exploring the world of After Us, we have two trailers that might pique your interest. One of these trailers is fully narrated by Alexis Corominas, one of the two Co-Game Directors of the game, alongside Jordi Ministral.
For more information about After Us, please visit the official websites of Piccolo Studio and Private Division.
And keep following us to stay updated on the upcoming updates and news regarding Gaia’s mission.