DigixArt’s Road 96 promises to take gamers on a road trip through rugged land, and the Nintendo Switch may be the perfect platform for it.
Nintendo’s April Indie Showcase revealed that DigixArt’s new game, Highway 96will hit the console later this year. The plot revolves around the player who tries to escape from a country that is tearing itself apart. Your goal will be to travel to the border, via a procedurally generated route, by any means necessary. The method of escaping is up to the player, and each choice will affect the story.
The trailer shows our character driving, hitchhiking, and walking, and highlights some of the characters you’ll meet. One of these characters, Alex, talks about the player in a way that shows some of the choices that can be made. These include the gender of the character, who they might be looking for, and how Alex views them. We also see a sequence where the main character plays an instrument for a young woman named Zoe. This shows that there is more to character interactions than just dialogue. It’s unclear if there are specific pieces for each character or something that happens naturally over the course of the journey.
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We also see some of the places the player will travel, including forests and deserts and the game’s day and night cycle. While travel and means of travel are clearly an important aspect of the game, the trailer shows some of the other activities available to the player. One section shows the player shooting at a chasing car while in the back of a truck. The persecutors are shown to be police or “bad guys”. This would indicate that the opponents the player faces are also influenced by the decisions made. Combat and the world are not relegated to the road either, as we see the player walking through the woods and into a large, well-lit fairground area.
DigixArt is no stranger to developing story-based games that take a closer look at the impacts of events on people. DigixArt Director Yoan Fanise was the Chief Content Officer for Brave hearts, a game that focused on soldiers during the First World War. Instead of action, Brave hearts it showed the loss of humanity that these men suffered during combat. The study was also behind 2018 11-11 Memories counted, which focused on two soldiers on opposite sides trapped together and Lost in harmony a game that tried to combine a runner, a rhythm and a love story in one game. DigixArt is clearly keen to try new things while telling a story that focuses on the characters and seems to aim to find that same feeling in Highway 96, with a focus on the characters and their world, albeit in a less linear way than previous titles.
Essentially, DigixArt has designed a game that revolves around a cross-country trip for the Switch, the only console that can be used as a normal console connected to a television and a handheld device. This allows the Switch to display the game in a way that no other console can and can choose to avoid. Highway 96 However, it is not the first indie game focused on walking on the console, and it has parallels with titles such as Firewatch are obvious. Firewatch focused on a man trying to escape his own sins by taking a job as a national park ranger. The player has to travel through the desert and choose his reactions to the scenarios he encounters and the relationships they will establish.
Highway 96 is a game that wants to show an open world that is constantly changing and lets the player participate in that. Sitting in a car while your character interacts with one of the many other inhabitants of this world would help the player feel more connected to the journey and the world. Playing the game while also on the road could help increase the immersion, leading to a new modern indie classic. Players will discover more when Highway 96 releases this summer.
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