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  • Road 96: Development And Inspirations

    - Jesus Fabre

  • How has the creative process been in the world and story of Road 96?

    The creative process behind Road 96 In DigixArt has been very open to the participation of the different members of the team. For more than one year everybody could participate, I wanted them to bring their ideas, characters and situations into the game. After that period, we close the creative / "new ideas" phase, and I love how we organically try to find the connections between the characters and their stories that will bind them together in the same world.

    We had many different ideas about what the story could be. One day I was invited to Poland to visit my awesome friends at 11 Bit Studios (the ones behind This War of Mine and Frostpunk). We were talking about potential partnerships, and we started to brainstorm on the game. There were a lot of people coming into the room that wanted to participate in the process. Then after a while, we thought the concept and the structure were good enough, but what was missing is what we wanted to tell. I had several ideas in mind, and among them, the story of teenagers that wanted to leave their country to escape from an authoritarian regime was the most interesting for them, as they lived in a communist system during the URSS period, under the Iron Curtain. They started to tell me stories about that period, when some people had to flee the country, and if they got arrested their families and kids were in danger, etc. That drama stuck in my head, the emigration from a country that could be the worst in the world, as it mixes the worst part of communism and capitalism. Some of the ideas the team from 11 Bit Studios told us about their Iron Curtain period stories have inspired the ways you try to leave the country. Also we used some real questions that people in North Korea are asked when they try to leave the country to work offshore. They can do that, but five years later they have to come back, and they have to send all the money they earned back to the country. If they don't do that, the country threatens them to hurt their families!

    Regarding inspirations for the game characters, they have been taken from 80s and 90s movies, and culture, for example, Alex has a lot of influence from Data, the gadget / inventor kid from The Goonies. I love this character. The two burglars, Stan and Mitch, are inspired by the air pirates in Porco Rosso. More in general, movies like Into the Wild had also a significant influence in the game.

    What can you tell about the structure of the game?

    Regarding the format of a game run, playing through it usually takes between 30 to 50 minutes, which is approximately the time a series episode lasts. That was our goal, to have a series of different episodes, so the player can play a whole season and live a different story in each one, in the shoes of each one of the teenagers the game randomly gives him to select. That way the game won't take tons of your time without you to get at least a partial conclusion to one of the episodes in the season (full game). 

    At the beginning we were afraid that a player would not be interested in keeping on playing with the next teenagers after the first one. That is why we added the completion percentages in the game menu, below each character, they give you the idea of how much story you have unveiled from each character run. 

    Which is your favorite character in the adventure?

    My favorite one is Alex, because he is the youngest character, he pretends to be strong but in fact is still a young kid who misses his family, so you kind of have some moments with him when the teenager shares with you his vision of the World, that makes him different. Also he has a lot of innocence and is very smart at the same time.

    If you are curious to know more about Road 96 or even feel like buying or wishlisting it, I invite you to check out the game's store page on Steam and the eShop.


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