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How Did This PlayStation Showcase Trailer Manage To Make Me Cry in Only Two Minutes?

Screenshot from the trailer for Neva

Yesterday’s 2023 PlayStation Showcase was impressive. It just, over all, wasn’t for me. The Spider-Man 2 gameplay demo was incredible, I’m excited to punch some “legends” in Street Fighter 6, and my curiosity about Final Fantasy XVI remains high, but to me, as someone who doesn’t love shooters, the indie game announcements were the most exciting. In that category, there was one trailer that really stood out. For several reasons, I’d argue the reveal trailer for Neva was the highlight of the entire presentation.

Neva is the newest game from Nomada Studio, the Spanish indie game studio behind the beloved platformer GRIS. Neva’s art style was a gigantic, refreshing breath of air from the rest of the presentation. This trailer is beautiful. The art style is almost Steven Universe-adjacent, but with more of a Studio Ghibli edge. And to that end, the story the trailer sets up seems deeply reminiscent of Princess Mononoke: A warrior woman lives among wolves and fights to save the realm of nature.

Maybe it’s because my familiarity with that story, or because its plea to save the planet is feeling ever-more present and terrifying, or because I spent part of my morning writing an article that made me feel the full lengths to which I’d go for my cat, but this trailer made me cry—and it’s only one minute and 59 seconds long.

I watched it again before writing this article, and I cried again. Harder, even!

There are legitimately spoilers for this trailer below, so you should watch it before we go further.

There’s actually quite a few ways this trailer breaks your heart. The way the bird weakly cries as the flowers take over its body (Hell’s Paradise style) is already brutal and breaks me a bit, but then absolutely everything about the reveal that the big wolf died is decimating. You see the woman’s reaction before you see the body. You’re coming to terms with her grief (and, hell, your own) … and then the puppy comes in from off-screen.

Nooooooooo!! THE PUPPY!! This is where I can no longer ignore the tears. I will play this game purely because I want to protect this sweet puppy. He shall not be suffering the same fate on my watch, dammit!

The rest of the trailer is spent with the woman gingerly picking up the puppy, and the two staring into each other’s eyes with determination. Neva won’t come out until 2024 (and will be available on Switch and such), but I will absolutely play this game. I might just need to have a box of tissues nearby when I do.

(featured image: Nomada Studio)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.