PAX Online 2020 Highlight – Broken Roads

Posted on September 21, 2020

Broken Roads is an upcoming party-based RPG title by Drop Bear Bytes, an Australian indie studio based in Torquay. It’s was also one of the games announced in PAX Online’s PAX Rising section, which showcases some of the best up-and-coming indie titles around.

The first time I encountered screenshots of Broken Roads online, my interest was immediately piqued. Set in post-apocalyptic Australia, Broken Roads exudes old-school RPG charm. Taking cues from franchises like Fallout and Wasteland, Broken Roads lets players assemble their own party to explore the game’s post-apocalyptic world.

Despite the post-apocalyptic setting, the game’s visuals look inviting, colourful and bright. In a recent devlog, the Drop Bear Bytes team have written about their desire to use painterly graphics to make the entire game feel ‘like a playable artwork’. This certainly comes across in the game’s teaser trailer and screenshots, and the footage I’ve seen so far looks promising.

Another aspect of Broken Roads that I’m interested to see more of is its moral compass system. Defined by four key philosophies – utilitarianism, nihilism, humanism, and machiavellianism – the compass has four different quadrants, each corresponding with one of the four philosophies. As your Broken Roads’ character develops their own worldview over time, you’ll be able to track where it falls on the game’s moral compass system. While initially a character’s worldview will be informed by a series of questions the player answers before starting the game, some subsequent in-game quests, actions, and dialogue options will be determined by your character’s worldview instead.

So how does this differ from character development systems in other games? One thing the Broken Roads developers seem passionate about is creating a framework in which characters’ actions are more consistent with their values and outlook on things, which in turn will make for a more consistent character arc in one complete playthrough. While in many RPG titles, players can have their characters flipflop between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ actions without it impacting their view on the world, Broken Roads’ moral compass enhances the roleplaying aspect of characters further by creating a more conscious connection between a player’s characters and the actions available to them.

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I’m a huge fan of roleplaying games where the characters have depth and their actions have consequences, and it seems like Broken Roads’ moral compass is shaping up to offer a fresh perspective on player and character choices. Combined with a layered story in an Australian setting, it seems like all the components are there to make Broken Roads a compelling and unique gaming experience for RPG fans. I can’t wait to test it out once it’s released.

While a demo isn’t currently available through PAX Online, the game is slated to be released sometime in 2021. If you’re keen to keep up with Drop Bear Bytes and the progress they’re making on Broken Roads, you check out their Twitter account, join the dedicated Discord server, or check out the Broken Roads website.

You can also keep up with Broken Roads through the game’s Steam page, and wishlist it today.