If the apocalypse happened tomorrow, what kind of person would you become? Would you do everything in your power to protect the people you love, even if it meant killing others? Would you run off and save your own skin? Or would you simply give up, accept the pointlessness of your fate, and wander the wastes with no purpose? These are the questions asked by Broken Roads, a new game from Drop Bear Bytes and Team17, coming to PC and consoles in 2022.
Broken Roads is a narrative-rich RPG which sees you navigating the wasteland of a post-apocalyptic Western Australia, carefully crafted to bring authentic parts of the present-day countryside to this darker, desolate future.
It's being crafted by a team with serious pedigree in the world of isometric RPGs – creative lead Colin McComb sports credits on genre-defining games like Fallout 2, Wasteland 2, and Torment: Tides of Numenera, the latter of which he worked on with Drop Bear Bytes narrative lead Leanne Taylor-Giles, who has also written for triple-A titles like Watch Dogs 2 and Rainbow Six Siege.
Scenarios in Broken Roads are designed so you can approach them any way you like, including talking your way through via extensive dialogue trees, or attempting to shoot your way out of a bad situation in tense, turn-based combat, if you think you need to. You’re free to build your character however you want – there’s no class system, so you can kit out your party with whatever tools you need at that moment. You shape your character’s future at the very beginning of the game by answering moral quandaries related to their backstory, to which there are no right or wrong answers.
Indeed, this post-apocalyptic world is almost entirely devoid of right answers. There’ll be plenty of difficult choices to make as you wend your way across Western Australia, all of which will have an effect on the relationships you have within your party and the endings you’ll be working towards. A choice that may seem trivial in the moment could well come back to haunt you later on and alter the very path you’re heading down as the non-linear story weaves your decisions – and their consequences – into the tapestry of the world.
But don’t expect the typical good-or-evil binary. In Broken Roads, your morality is represented by a literal moral compass, with four quadrants defining your character through their actions.
Perhaps you’re choosing to roleplay as a humanist, upholding the dignity of everyone in your party. Or your choices may steer you toward a nihilist attitude in your pursuit of the self, forgoing everything that doesn’t lead to achieving your own goals. Perhaps you’re a little Machiavellian, using cunning to achieve your aims but ultimately searching for the best option for everyone, inadvertently steering further into the utilitarian quadrant.
Your worldview will shift and react as the game moves on, with choices linked closely to your current moral beliefs – sometimes opening up unexpected options or encouraging you to reconsider what you thought a quadrant might stand for. Holding certain beliefs will open up specific traits suited to your morals, allowing your roleplaying to go even deeper.
But the moral compass element won’t lock you into one style of play. Major choices that go completely against type may be kept from you – you can’t expect to do a full heel turn in the last act after saving everyone you meet, after all. But small choices won’t be locked out completely. Even the most nihilistic, pessimistic people can find a reason to work with others from time to time.
It’s not all doom, gloom, and philosophy, of course. No matter where your moral compass is pointing, Broken Roads will pull you in with its gorgeous, hand-drawn artwork and accurate, authentic depiction of Australia, right down to the characters you’ll meet. You may never have been to Kokeby in real life – and you’ll certainly never have seen it like this before – but the team have ensured that these locations are brought to life in the wasteland while remaining true to reality.
If creating your own character however you please, following your own moral compass, and exploring a world oft-forgotten in games is an experience you’ve been looking for, then Broken Roads will be the game for you. Look forward to its release on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series consoles in 2022.