The award winning sensation is finally available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
Road 96 is a crazy, beautiful road-trip where you discover exciting places, and unusual people on your own personal journey to freedom. Here’s a chat with DigixArt Entertainment CEO Yoan Fanise, about this ever-evolving story-driven adventure inspired by Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, and Bong Joon-ho, made by the award-winning creators of Valiant Hearts and Memories Retold.
Why Did You Choose This Background for an Adventure Game?
We wanted to talk about a serious subject in Road 96, about our life’s choices as teenagers but in a colourful and immersive adventure. We wanted to create a road trip that would highlight society problems but not a specific one in particular. We mixed many references, from all political systems, and we created the authoritarian nation of “Petria” from that. It could look sometimes like American deserts, like European mountains, like Korean buildings, this is intentional because the topics raised exist in many societies. Road 96 is fun to play and experience but it could make players think, beyond entertainment, what would you do?
Were You Trying to Shed Light on Current Affairs that Don’t Normally Get Tackled in Games?
Yes! We want to talk about subjects that are underrepresented in videogames (dictators, running away etc.), enlarge the scope of these subjects, try (from our side at least) to make this art evolve. We are truly happy that it’s resonating with players.
Why a Road Trip?
I personally always wanted to craft a road trip story. To create a system where your choices really change the next step of your trip, a metaphor for life’s choices. You know, these moments where you take a decision that will shape the rest of your life, and at that point in life you don’t even know it yet, I find it fabulous! Our life is full of butterfly effects when you look backwards at it. In a game you have the chance to make it, again and again, it’s a second chance, it’s magic.
Was It Difficult to Write Such an Open Pathed Game?
The system we developed with the team was very complex and the fact that we never know when and where a sequence will happen is scary. Our prototypes helped us understand any constraints it would have on the narration, But after rewriting and playtesting it intensively we embraced this framework, the impossibility to talk about time of day, about how close is the border, and all those variables: Have you met Fanny already? Was that in that ride? Does she know your character already? In the end it was a delight to master the system, to make those thousands of dialogs and situations work in any and every case.
What Was the Biggest Challenge?
It was mastering the unknown. When you have “hundreds of bricks of script” that can be combined in any order, the mathematic result of combination is so big that we have to accept there could be some weird transitions. But we did our best to limit those occurrences, and from the players‘ reactions, it seems we did a good job.
If You Had One Message to the Audience, What would It Be?
No one’s road is the same in this adventure, hit the road to discover your own path, it will be fun, it will be sad, it will be scary, it may make you think about problems you never thought of before, and we hope you’ll enjoy playing it and be proud of your ending.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, Yoan. Road 96 is now available on the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.