With a captivating, heartfelt story, a gorgeous aesthetic, and engaging mechanics, Digixart’s adventure game Road 96 impressed a lot of people when when it first launched in 2021, and has accrued quite the fan following in the time that has passed since then. Recently, the French developer announced Road 96: Mile 0, a prequel that will look to build on the original game’s world and characters and, hopefully for the fans, deliver on the same strengths just as successfully. Ahead of its launch not long from now, we recently reached out to its developers at Digixart with a few of our questions about the game and what will make it tick. You can read our full interview below.
"The idea of making a prequel was there before launch with many others, and following the incredible reception by the players, and all the questions about where those teenagers come from, we decided to focus on that aspect of the lore."
Was it always part of the plan to move on to a prequel after Road 96 had launched, or did the idea for Mile 0 only come about following the original game’s release?
The idea of making a prequel was there before launch with many others, and following the incredible reception by the players, and all the questions about where those teenagers come from, we decided to focus on that aspect of the lore.
What was behind the idea of bringing Zeo and Kaito together as the central characters for this game?
Zoe is one the most important characters of Road 96, some people love her, some people hate her, she’s very different, without spoiling the plot. So we wanted to show why she left her luxurious life for the dusty and dangerous roads of Petria. Kaito is her best friend, but he’s from a very different background, this creates a very special friendship. And this time, by switching from one point of view to another one, we could really incarnate someone with a deep backstory, that adds a lot of pressure when you make crucial choices.
Mile 0 is focusing on Zoe’s past and the events leading up to Road 96, but can someone who hasn’t played the original game jump straight in?
Yes, we paid attention by playtesting a lot that people who don’t know anything about Road 96 would understand everything, it adds of course a lot of references for those who played road before. But Mile 0 can totally be played as a first course.
What can you tell us about the game’s musical segments? How prominently will they be featured?
This is the new addition to the recipe, we keep all the fun activities and minigames, but we added some moments, very psychedelic, and frenetic and lot of action where you skate or roller over their evolving emotions. Kind of Sayonara feeling with a bit of skill required. This adds to the replayability of Mile 0.
"We paid attention by playtesting a lot that people who don’t know anything about Road 96 would understand everything, it adds of course a lot of references for those who played road before. But Mile 0 can totally be played as a first course."
Roughly how long will an average playthrough of Road 96: Mile 0 be?
Between 5 to 7 hours, it’s a short and sweet experience, I mean sweet depends on your choices and the ending you’ll get. There are really strong impacts depending on how you bend the two characters beliefs.
Can fans expect more games in the Road 96 series down the road?
I cannot say yet, but we love this dystopian universe we created, it is both crazy and fun, but also serious and impactful in a deeper layer. The fans show us every day that they love this universe, we are sensitive to that, but we love to innovate, to not repeat ourselves, so there is nothing in stone at this point.
Given that you have now worked on all the current gen consoles, I hope you don’t mind answering some questions about their hardware. Since the reveal of the PS5 and Xbox Series’ specs, a lot of comparisons have been made between the GPU speeds of the two consoles, with the PS5 at 10.28 TFLOPS and the Xbox Series X at 12 TFLOPS. How much of an impact on development do you think that difference will have?
Our games are not too heavy on the hardware side, we don’t look for realism and don’t push too much on the technical side, we used Unity URP pipeline on Mile 0 and we saw no difference between those new generation machines, I would say that it makes our life more easy, and it was a very good surprise to see the game running at 60fps, that was not our intention at the beginning. For the next games we will push more on the technicality, we love challenges, but if I compare with the PS2 and GameCube when I started, it’s a totally different world. Maybe that’s why I never complain about hardware limitations.
The PS5 features an incredibly fast SSD with 5.5GB/s raw bandwidth. How can developers take advantage of this, and how does this compare to the Xbox Series X’s 2.4GB/s raw bandwidth?
As we didn’t create a streamed open world, we didn’t experience those technical limitations, we are really happy that Mile 0 runs 60fps on this new generation. And looking at the amazing evolution of the tools such as Unity and Unreal, I think we reached a point where hardware is not anymore a limit to our imagination. This is definitely the golden age of videogames.
Super Resolution is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. How do you think this will help game developers?
For games that are very heavy in UI and menus like RPGs it can definitely bring a good evolution, though we have to always think about accessibility, this is crucial to not exclude people from gaming.
"We love this dystopian universe we created, it is both crazy and fun, but also serious and impactful in a deeper layer. The fans show us every day that they love this universe, we are sensitive to that, but we love to innovate, to not repeat ourselves, so there is nothing in stone at this point."
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the Switch in docked and undocked modes?
Docked 1920 – 1080
Handled mode, 1280×720. 30 FPS narrative parts, and 45 FPS average for the psychedelic Rides for both configurations.
What are your thoughts on the Steam Deck? Do you have plans for any specific optimizations for the device?
We love the Steam Deck in the team, we try all our games on it, it is amazing how smooth they run on it, the only issue is for games that are created for mouse/keyboard with lots of small menus, the UX would have to be adapted sometimes, the same kind of love you have to put on the Switch when undocked, make sure that every label is readable. We made a special controller setting for the Steam Deck and tested a lot on it to make sure it runs perfectly. Portable devices definitely have a bright future, we need more products in this area.
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