Broke Protocol is a ‘low-poly GTA Online’

The heists and co-op consumerism of GTA Online was (and is) probably the best thing about Rockstar’s latest blockbuster. With the very notable exception of APB, few have tried to outright ape the crimes ‘n’ capers online sandbox formula. But Broke Protocol [official site] is aiming for just that. It’s a blocky criminal roleplaying game set in a persistent online world where you can grow weed, hijack cars and get shot by the police while robbing a bank. Come see it in action below.

There’s also the option to play as law enforcement or a vigilante, say developers Cylinder Studios. “You can roleplay in limitless ways to gain money, power, and influence in a diverse low-poly world,” they say. “You start with nothing and have to build your wealth, while managing your hunger, thirst, stamina, and addiction levels.”

It’s been doing a free alpha on IndieDB since October 2015, gathering some players as the map and mechanical bits get built. But it recently barged into Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter, searching for that sweet cash monies to continue the project.

Online sandboxes are always ambitious projects, and this looks no different. As well as the everyday danger of being shot or arrested on the street by NPCs, the devs say they want to ensure “meaningful player-player interactions”. But the method for doing so isn’t mentioned. Exactly how you can guarantee all players don’t simply run you over with a stolen ambulance, I’m not sure.

To be fair, GTA Online does frequently vomit up a player who doesn’t try to murder you on sight. But it just as often sees players causing carnage for the sake of carnage – and it has the benefit of a “ghost” mode in which you can’t be interfered with. There’s no sign here of exactly what Broke Protocol has planned to make their crims play in more interesting ways. But good enough co-op might make all that irrelevant. I loved going for post-heist tattoos with my fellow multiplayer cronies in GTA and enjoyed the collective bragging we did about the cars we bought with the dirty money. If it can just recreate some of that feeling, it might have something going for it.


  1. Nevard says:

    Minecraft looks the way it does because it is a building game.
    I will never understand why any other game would impersonate its ugly art style.

    • Christo4 says:

      Performance and easier to make? I mean, i never really played minecraft much, but it’s still easy to get why people do it imo.

    • Freud says:

      The man hours required to make something in this style are much fewer than to make a game with more detail.

      • April March says:

        Yeah. If you’re not going for realistic, you have to choose what style you go for so that it’s 1) readable 2) consistent with your tone 3) not even harder to make than realistic and 4) obvious that it’s deliberately not meant to be realistic. This game has at least three of those! (And Sub Rosa uses a very similar style, so it’s not even a polemic choice.)

        But my favourite thing about the style is that it makes the game seem to take place in the 90’s, since that was when cars were at their blockiest.

    • haldolium says:

      It’s straight from the Unity asset store. Sadly it’s been used in many abysmal games too.

      link to

      However using assets from the store is absolutely okay. Thats what the store is for. I would assume that a high amount of games are recycling assets from stores. Would be insane otherwise and unnecessary costly.

    • fish99 says:

      To cash-in on the popularity of Minecraft maybe?

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        phuzz says:

        This would be my guess too (with a side order of ‘it’s much easier than realistic graphics’).

    • Fnord73 says:

      Thats fairly easy to say: Because it sold gazillions of copies to the under-14s, and that whole aesthetic is deeply ingrained in a whole generation.

    • poliovaccine says:

      My own personal guess is, “because the devs like the look of it.” I know I do – it’s clean, readable, and sets the tone a few paces away from deadly-serious and more towards fun and lighthearted. Though it makes me think more immediately of Unturned than Minecraft, since its lines are smoother and the gameplay is more similar in that case.

      In any event, I’m definitely interested in this. I still enjoy good old fashiome crime games. Also, one of my favorite Arma mods was one where people would roleplay a whole town, down to assuming specific roles in it – such as cops, firefighters, and of course, robbers. Wound up being quite the thing, especially cus they screened members to only allow folks who’d take it seriously. Would be cool if this was even halfway like that.

  2. April March says:

    I also don’t know how they’ll stop it from descending into mayhem, but they’d be wise to look at ARMAlife rather than GTA Online.

    And I’m also amazed at how no one took the shot APB Online took. I was playing the The Division free weekend this weekend (God, what a repetitive sentence) and realized that the technology to do it the way it wanted to be done exists nowadays. MMO’s and MMOishes are risky endeavours, of course, so that explains a lot.

  3. racccoon says:

    This game is unnecessarily made, as there is no point to it! The reality is though in this style it brings to the attention of how crazy & bad just shooting & doing is, as it shows you the true brutalness in this style, it also gives this appearance of it being as boring as bloody hell. it questions, why do i even want to do that, or even play it?
    Where as the Real GTA, is fun, brilliantly more enjoyable to play and you stroll around like its best place ever!! We don’t want any more minecraft rips off or plastic copied handmade games like this one, as it just brings home just how subdued we are to that reality, but, in GTA we do not see it, as its just brilliant funny and exhilarating.

  4. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    Block Protocol

  5. DuncUK says:

    There are many roleplaying servers for SA-MP and MTA, mods that hacked multiplayer into GTA San Andreas. I spent the best part of a year playing on one, the experience is rather hard to describe… essentially an entirely player populated and driven multiplayer crime simulation with its own gangs, police force, news agency, politicians and even a shadowy hitman organisation. The emphasis was on roleplaying and not grinding for stats or cash and it largely worked, with a huge sprinkling of irony on top

    It was fun while I was involved (and I quit because it became too time consuming), but the most obvious drawback of this setup was the game it was all based on… at it’s heart, GTASA is still closed source, binaries only and aging badly. So something like this game however prototypical and embryonic it may be could be a godsend to communities of players like that especially if it allows easy server side scripting and asset addition.

    link to

  6. caff says:

    Tried the alpha, found it dreadful and lacking any promise. Sorry but….