Road 96

How DigixArt managed to make the Road 96 piecemeal story work

We revisit our interview with Yoan Fanise, CEO of the studio behind Valiant Hearts and Road 96.

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Last month was not only about the role of the European videogame industry and its future growth strategy against other major markets. At Gamelab Tenerife there was also time to delve into the intricacies of creating stories in the medium, and the connotations and intentions that developers put into them.

This is the case of Yoan Fanise, founder of the French studio DigixArt and creator, among others, of the well-known Valiant Hearts and Road 96, with whom we had the opportunity to chat there.

As well as emphasising the advantages of developing games in Europe, Fanise also talked about the inspiration behind one of the most outstanding indie titles of 2021, Road 96 (a game that we loved at Gamereactor) and which curiously did not draw its inspiration from the specific political situation in the United States at the time, but is instead an amalgamation of ideas and perceptions from many countries and territories around the world.

"We tried to mixed in fact in our distopian world different issues that lot of countries we were seen, about politics, about evolution of de democracy, because not all democracies are evolving well. (...) We mixed it, and player all around the world already identified thing in their own country."


They had to be very meticulous with the work to create the fragmented and coherent narrative in Road 96. "We did a lot of playtesting of the game", noting that despite the challenges of telling the story procedurally, there is the importance of the characters they developed to support the adventure: "The story is sustained by them".

As well as praising his previous work on Valiant Hearts, Fanise talks about the reactions (both positive and negative) that Road 96 and its anti-authoritarian message has generated in the community, about which he said: "I'd rather players love it, or hate it, than be stuck somewhere in the middle. Que genere emociones".

Finally, the studio director left us with honey on our lips by assuring us that his next project is his most ambitious to date, although for the moment he is still testing prototypes.

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