How film noir in­flu­ences and a clas­sic tale of ro­mance grants the sur­real Ge­n­e­sis Noir its uni­ver­sal ap­peal


What if the Big Bang was a gun­shot, hurtling to­wards the heart of your amour? Point-and­click ad­ven­ture Ge­n­e­sis Noir casts you as a love­struck gumshoe out to un­ravel cre­ation it­self. His in­ves­ti­ga­tion is sketched in min­i­mal­ist mono­chrome. “Sim­ple graphic draw­ings en­able us to com­bine 2D and 3D as­sets, and suit the black-and-white look of film noir,” Feral Cat Den’s cre­ative lead Evan An­thony tells us. Italo Calvino’s Cos­mi­comics, and the works of Mar­cAn­toine Michel, have also guided de­sign: “We’re at­tempt­ing to utilise the kinds of lay­out and un­real space you might find in graphic nov­els to cre­ate in­ter­est­ing in­ter­ac­tive en­vi­ron­ments.”

Gen­er­a­tive art lets play­ers leave their mark on the cos­mos. “When you think about game de­vel­op­ers build­ing dy­namic sys­tems, you typ­i­cally think of pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated worlds: gi­ant moun­tains, in­fi­nite fields,” the game’s lead pro­gram­mer Jeremy Abel says. “We’re look­ing at it on a much smaller scale.” Plant­ing gar­dens, us­ing an old ro­tary phone, or ma­nip­u­lat­ing kalei­do­scopic pat­terns are all de­signed to “feel like open­ing a new toy, rather than try­ing to solve a re­ally dif­fi­cult puz­zle,” Abel says.

At the cen­tre of ev­ery­thing, how­ever, is that sim­ple love story. “Calvino writes of char­ac­ters that tran­scend space and time, yet have the same emo­tions as us on Earth,” says An­thony. “Our goal is to trans­late the poetry and hu­man­ism found in Cos­mi­comics into in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences. We’ve been in­ten­tional in us­ing clas­sic film noir to orient the player in an elu­sive set­ting: start­ing with fa­mil­iar things lets us get weirder in other ar­eas.” Ex­pect to be en­rap­tured on PC and Mac next year.

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