Hi, I’m Yuts, a member of a small game studio called Geography of Robots. We recently released our first Norco game, a point-and-click narrative adventure set in the swamps, refineries, and suburbs of southern Louisiana. The game draws inspiration from first-person pixel adventures like Rise of the Dragon, Snatcher, Deja Vu, and more recent titles like VA-11 HA-11 A. Some have also compared it to Kentucky Route Zero due to its surreal southern themes and the “literary” tone of his writing.
The game has its roots in a Louisiana history project I was doing with a friend in the years after Hurricane Katrina. I was learning a bit of pixel art at the time and decided to apply some of our research to a classic adventure game format. This experiment quickly took on a life of its own. It got some attention on Twitter, which is how our editor Raw Fury found out. Signing with them opened up so many opportunities I never would have imagined, like winning the first ever Tribeca Festival Games Award and being selected for the PlayStation Indie Fund.
Norco’s story follows a young woman named Kay who returns to her hometown of Norco, Louisiana following the death of her mother. She soon discovers that her brother is missing, leading her down a rabbit hole populated by a cult of influential messages, fugitive robots, sewer ditch prophets, giant sentient birds, and other colorful characters.
The game is more of a psychedelic tour of Louisiana’s River Parish region than a straightforward adventure, though you’ll encounter puzzles and quests along the way. It takes a lot from reality. Norco itself is a real community. It’s where I grew up. It’s a lovely city, but it’s also wedged between two huge petrochemical facilities. It has a complicated history, as does much of the region outside of New Orleans. We try to explore all these topics in our own way.
One thing I recommend while playing is to listen carefully to the soundscape. Sound designers worked carefully to create a compelling environment, collecting field recordings of wetlands, native bird species, insects, and more. We try to be equally intentional with the artwork. We explored the locations that inspired the game on foot, taking lots of reference shots at various times of the day, and often redrawing scenes from scratch multiple times to get it right.
Since we released Norco on PC several months ago, we’ve been hard at work polishing and improving the game: adding Spanish, French, German, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese localization, gamepad support, Expert Mode, Auto Battle, and countless bug fixes. bugs and quality of life improvements – all features that will be available to you on PS4 and PS5 when Norco launches on October 20.
If any of that sounds interesting to you, then check it out. Thanks, I hope you enjoy Norco!
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