Genesis Noir Genesis Noir

The video game Genesis Noir was made with modest means but conceived on a grand scale. Developed by Feral Cat Den, a small indie outfit in New York City, the game packs reflections on love, crime, religion, the origins of the universe, and saxophones into a visual world as spare as the story is dense.

A cross between a puzzler and a point-and-click adventure, Genesis Noir follows No Man, a watch maker whose attempt to thwart a murder takes him on a detour through a black hole. This metaphysical mystery looks like few other games, its mostly monochrome world inhabited by line drawings and slinky abstractions.

Genesis Noir is the brainchild of Evan Anthony and Jeremy Abel, who led the creative and technical sides respectively. The idea came to them in 2013, after a reading of Italo Calvino’s fanciful Cosmicomics stories; stated influences also include Kavin Huizenga’s comics, Sun Ra’s music, William Blake’s poetry, Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, Michael Frei’s Kids, and the animation of studios like Buck and Giant Ant.

Abel and Anthony developed the game on and off for the best part of a decade, turning to Kickstarter for funds. They started out working in Unity, but found that their characters would import oddly, hobbling the animation process. As Abel told PCGamesN:

This was around the same time when Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be available for a reasonable profit license, and you’d get full source code access to the engine. This is huge, because now if the character imports oddly, we can attempt to figure out why, and then fix the problem at the engine level. So we tried Unreal, and to our delight, our character imported just fine.

Coming from a background in commercial art, the pair faced a steep learning curve, Anthony told PCGamesN:

Since we began Genesis Noir, we’ve learned Unreal, storytelling, business, user experience, crowdfunding, physics, team building, and more. It’s a tremendously large undertaking and more than a little frightening to attempt.

Working on their own terms, they have created a genuinely distinctive game. In late 2019, we wrote about the growing number of indie games that reject naturalism and detail in favor of boldly stylized 2d visuals. Genesis Noir now joins their number.

The game is available for PC, Mac, Switch, and Xbox One.

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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