Norco’s Deep South cyberpunk dystopia is both a dream and a nightmare

I’ve been keeping my eye on Norco for a long time now. It started with curiosity, a click of some stunning pixel art on my Twitter timeline, before expanding into a fascination. Developer Geography of Robots posted image after image of the project’s striking graphics, and before I even knew the premise—I was hooked. The team have done an amazing job of intriguing many like myself with just a handful of screenshots. Impressive.

Act one of Norco is now available on Steam and it’s brilliant so far. Ever since I played Disco Elysium I’ve been looking for something to stoke the poetic, nihilistic fire my brain craves and I think Norco does that rather well. The Steam page describes the genre as Southern Gothic, a term I’m unfamiliar with. For others like me, I would describe it as cyberpunk for the little guy: trickle-down economics hasn’t done a damn thing, and the poverty of America clashes with its topline technology. 

Norco's automated shop

(Image credit: Raw Fury / Geography of Robots)

Norco explores the stifling air of a futuristic southern Louisiana, home to fierce industrial complexes and sticky swamps. Between the suburbs, the cities, and the steel you find a curious adventure of a family torn apart by tragedy, and isolated by society. It’s one hell of a world to build in one or two hours, but it’s all there. From deep dark family history to mysterious robot disappearances. From rich asshole movie directors to suspicious street meat. It’s a lot of world in a short amount of time. 

Norco’s world is cyberpunk for the little guy

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