Hi, I’m Yuts, a member of a small game studio called Geography of Robots. We recently released our first game Norco, a point-and-click narrative adventure set in the swamps, refineries, and suburbs of South Louisiana. The game takes 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 its writing.
The game has its roots in a Louisiana history project I was conducting 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 publisher Raw Fury found out about it. Signing with them opened up lots of opportunities that 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 her mom’s death. She soon discovers that her brother’s gone missing, leading her down a rabbit hole populated by an influencer messageboard cult, fugitive robots, drainage 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 straight adventure, though you’ll encounter puzzles and quests along the way. It borrows heavily from reality. Norco itself is a real community. It’s where I grew up. It’s a lovely town but is also wedged between two massive petrochemical facilities. It has a complicated history, as does much of the region outside New Orleans. We try to explore all these topics in our own way.
One thing I recommend while playing through the game is to listen closely to the soundscape. The sound designers worked carefully to create a convincing ambiance, collecting field recordings of wetlands, native bird species, insects, and more. We tried to be equally intentional with the artwork. We explored the locations that inspired the game on foot, taking lots of reference photographs at various times of 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 – we’ve added Spanish, French, German, Russian, Brazilian-Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese localization, gamepad support, Expert Mode, Autocombat, and countless bug fixes and quality of life improvements – all features that’ll be available to you on PS4 and PS5 when Norco releases October 20.
If any of that sounds interesting to you, then check it out. Thank you, I hope you enjoy Norco!