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Gone Home developer talks about new project, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

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Dim Bulb Games

Johnnemann Nordhagen was the lead programmer on The Fullbright Company's Gone Home. Now he's working on a new project, that will once again seek to tell real-world stories in a gaming setting.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is about life on the road, connecting with other travelers while sharing stories and adventures. In a phone interview, Nordhagen told Polygon that the game will feature a Japanese role-playing game-style over-world, dotted with experiences inspired by America's historic relationship with traveling.

After completing the widely admired indie hit Gone Home, Nordhagen spent five months backpacking and travelling around the world, including North Africa, the Himalayas and Eastern Europe.

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"That was an experience I wanted to capture in a video game," he said. "Moving from place to place and seeing all these interesting things, crossing paths with other travelers and telling stories about exciting adventures on the road."

But Where the Water Tastes Like Wine will take a specific American tone, covering stories inspired by real and fictional travelers like Huck Finn, the Oregon Trail migrants and Jack Kerouac. Developer Dim Bulb's website said the game, which does not yet have a release date, is also taking inspiration from Woody Guthrie-style American folk and blues music.

Heroic travelers aren't the only people featured in the game. "Most of the romantic road stories out there are white males traveling and having adventures," he said. "That is a freedom only available to those people, but a lot of travelers don't have that freedom and I want to tell stories of people who have been displaced."

Gone Home covered issues that are not generally addressed in games, and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is seeking to follow its lead. "Gone Home is inspiring in a number of ways," said Nordhagen. "It talked about the real world in ways that video games don't often tackle.

"We don't see real stories that often and that is one thing that I want to look at, some of the historical stuff that has happened in the U.S., the stories of people who have been pushed to the fringes. A lot of cases people are on the road not out of choice but out of necessity. They are being crushed by the rolling wheel of American society and they are doing their best to get out of the way."