In the course of a preview briefing for Road 96: Mile 0, I had the chance to try out a demo and to conduct an interview with Yoan Fanise, co-founder of Digixart. We didn’t just limit ourselves to Road 96: Mile 0, we also covered Road 96, you can find our test here. The following interview was conducted in English, so as always you will have the option to choose between the English and German text.

Many thanks to Plaion for the opportunity.

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Could you please introduce yourself and your position in your team?“

Yoan (Digixart): „I’m Yoan Fanis the creative director of Road 96 and Road 96: Mile 0, the prequel. I founded Digixart 8 years ago in south france. Its our 4th game right now.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Could you please shortly describe what Road 96: Mile 0 is about?“

Yoan (Digixart): „This is the tricky question. It’s a game about two teenagers, Zoe and Kaito. There are from very different backgrounds and lifes. They try to evolve and make the other one evolve. The player is deciding what they will become. It’s about a lot of different things in life like values and believes. It’s quite deep on this side but on the other site it’s very funny and easy to play, because it’s a combination of story moments and little games with deeper sequenzes and deeper gameplay, with gameplay that is more hard to tackle. It’s kind of rhythm moments where it’s fast and speed and require some skill. It’s a combination of two different genre, I would say. It’s very special like the mix of two genre create a new game.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „How did you decide to change the genre from the gameplay of the previous game to the more rhythm based one here?“

Yoan (Digixart): „In fact we kept the original gameplay of Road 96, because it’s very cool and people love it. We added on top of this deeper gameplaysequenzes. So if people want more challenge, they can get some. It’s more an addition, it’s not removing all the Road 96 directions.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „You said in the Preview-Briefing that Mile 0 can be played without the context of Road 96, cause it’s story is set before, but do you need to know Kaito before playing Mile 0 since ist set after his game?“

Yoan (Digixart): „It’s more a good reference if people know Lost in Harmony and people know Road 96, they will be very happy, but if they don’t it’s also understandable. It’s funny because we see right know, we put the video on YouTube and people who know Kaito, they are really proud to say ‚Eh, this guy, I know this guy, he is not new, if you play Lost in Harmony, you would know more about him.‘ It’s really cool for fans of the game.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „You mentioned that there will be vastly different endings depending on your choices, but will the way tot he end vary exactly as strongly?“

Yoan (Digixart): „Yes, it all will vary. It’s good because you can replay it, if you think, the ending that you got, is too strong, you can try to play the game another way, because it’s no too long. In this game we show more of this theme as in Road 96. In Road 96 we don’t show everything. For example there is a Karma-gauge, to use your karma to change what happens. In Mile 0 we show you the two gauges. You know what the consequenzes of your doing is.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „How did you get to the idea, to fuse those two universes?“

Yoan (Digixart): „It’s a funny moment in the production. We wanted to create a male teenager to go with Zoe. We had lot of artworks and there was one with Kaito. I don’t know, who in the team said ‚Why not Kaito?‘ And we said ‚yeah it fit’s‘. The more, we worked on that, the more it was fitting. It was really cool to bring that game too, that has a strong backstory.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „The game, like Road 96 before, features like it seems mutiple music that is important to the game. Do you plan on releasing them on Vinyl or CD like the soundtrack of Road 96 before?“

Yoan (Digixart): „Yes that is the plan, because the people love the music from Road 96. Now it’s like something they expect from the new one. What will be the soundtrack? What will be the artists. Because they know that, we don’t like to repeat ourselves. They know we try to find new talent. That’s why we started to reveal the musicgroups we have.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Since your games are always story focused, do you plan the story first or do you dive into gameplay first?“

Yoan (Digixart): „What we try to do and it’s a bit challenging. We try to do both at the same time. We do a lot of prototypes of gameplay and a lot of ideas of story and then progressily we merge them. Sometimes it collides, sometimes we need to remove or add to the gameplay and sometimes it really fits. We link the ideas and let them grow.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Do you plan on expanding the Road 96 Universe even more?“

Yoan (Digixart): „We don’t know yet. For sure it’s a universe that’s worthy to explore it more. It’s a really good universe, that we know it has thousands of stories. It relates to our real world but in a way that it’s not boring or too dark. It’s entertaining but still makes you think about your real world.“

Now some questions about Road 96:

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Was it always planned to change every chapter between different teenagers?“

Yoan (Digixart): „Yes, it’s more because of the procedual structure. It was a big issue. We have to forget about the people. If you stay the same teenager, you meet all this characters and if they have to remember seeing you, then they have to remember a tons of things, so we would have tons of dialogue to make. The game was already at 9000 dialogs. If you would stay the same person, than it would be exponentional. So the solution was, you’re gonna play someone who either cross the border, is arrested or die. Then you’re forgotten after.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Is there an exact number of different teenagers, players could control?“

Yoan (Digixart): „Yes, because we had to make these small icons, we had to know the maximum. I think it was 52. In case you really want to break the system like: walking dyieng, walking, dyieng, if you do that, you’re not gonna die after a certain moment. After that you can reach the border anyway and then you get the good ending. It requires at least 50 teenagers. There’s recently someone, who put a video on YouTube, that was like ‚I’m going to break Road 96‘.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Are there scenes, besides the ones with Zoe, that always happen during a run?“

Yoan (Digixart): „No, it’s just the four sequenzes of Zoe, that we know that we gonna push you in in a percific order. The rest is really funny, because we don’t know when it’s gonna happen. We don’t even know if you’re gonna have it. It’s really good to not gonna know, what is your first sequenz and what will be your last.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Because every character has a perfect voice and musicalic theme to himself/herself, what was there first? The characters, the music or the voice actors?“

Yoan (Digixart): „It was the characters first. For example Sonya. If you see north corean documentary video, there is this moment where there is this woman. She’s the only one always on TV and a very tough person. It was weird. There was only this woman and she was wearing this strong pink colour. Than I was like, I want someone with a strong pink dress and on the lookside I wanted something more latina american kind of showrunner. She has so many money from the government, she doesn’t care. It was funny to have a mix of these two sides. They all come from different ideas that we merge. Then from the character we look what would be the perfect music to go with them. With Sonya because she’s always with the limo so she has these ‚Boom-Boom‘-music to match the limo. Or for example Alex is this young hacker, so we used small syntheziser. Even if it is cliche. I would say, we like cliches. If it is a good one I have no problem. For example John is a truckdriver and of course we put in rock’n’roll-music, because in your mind it’s sometimes something you expect.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „How important is your community to you and your work?“

Yoan (Digixart): „Now it’s really important. It’s something, we didn’t have before. Now when you go to discord and the look at the reactions, they really belong the game. It’s a really special feeling. You feel that the game is their game. It’s weird. It’s like the game belongs even more to them. They have these wikifandom and a lot of stories. It’s very interesting to feel they really own the game and the story. Now we really ask them what they liked. It doesn’t mean, we do want they want. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite. People say ‚We don’t really like Zoe‘ and we say ‚Okay, you’re gonna like Zoe‘. So it’s like a game, we can play with the community. It’s very good, because we have a nice community, there is no issue in it. It’s very nice to have a good community.“

Tobias (Game-Releases): „Do you have something to add?“

Yoan (Digixart): „You really need to play Mile 0 and go to the end, because it’s very powerful as a whole. If they don’t go to the end, they miss a lot of lore. They miss like 80%. That’s why we did it short. We want people to go to the end. “

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Hi, this is Tobias. I'm currently studying and I like to spend my free time cooking and gaming. I prefer games with a good story, long-term motivation or a couch co-op mode.

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