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Dustborn is the latest addition to the nascent misfits-on-a-road-trip genre

It's published by Quantic Dream, though

The band of misfits from Dustborn standing in a row with their semi-futuristic instruments and clothes
Image credit: Quantic Dream

The misfits-on-a-road-trip genre arguably began bloody ages ago, it's true, but I think it's really been building momentum over the last few years with stuff like Signs Of The Sojourner, Hitchhiker, and even Road 96. Red Thread Games, who made Draugen (a horror game I liked quite a bit), are adding to the list with Dustborn, a single-player action-adventure with a heavy lean towards story, which was revealed at this year's Gamescom Opening Night Live.

You play Pax, a pregnant con-artist on the run transporting an important package across the Northern border of what appears to be an authoritarian, dystopian USA. And you tell me this is in no way related to Road 96? Well, alright. Dustborn is being published by Quantic Dream, so I feel dutybound to make fun of it. No. Must... resist...

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I do actually like this kind of game, so I'm, broadly speaking, on board. I'd normally say that the description "use the power of words to shape relationships with your crew, get out of trouble and reach your final destination" from the Steam page feels a bit like it's giving itself airs - except, no! They can literally be used as a weapon. So I guess I give that a pass. Of perhaps some concern is that trailer has a section at the end for things the game is about, and it basically includes everything, which always makes me a bit nervous about a game's focus.

When you look at it, though, the focus does seems to be quite a lot on music. Pax has an ever-present pair of headphones, and several screens show her and her companions playing music. You are, in fact, journeying on a tour bus (driven by robots), because you're undercover as a punk band. It seems pretty musical to me. On the course of this roadtrip you need to untangle yourself from tanglings with the authoritarian government and other interested factions, which may involve molotov cocktails or may involve talking your way out. You never know. I do really like the art style, which is that sort of luxury cel shading look, and your crew themselves seem cool. Although they do not look like they'd all be in the same band...

Dusborn is currently only coming soon, so keep your ear to the ground (or check back here, I guess). Bit on the nose that the main character is literally called Peace though, isn't it?

For more of the latest news and previews from Gamescom 2023, head to our Gamescom 2023 hub. You can also find everything announced at Opening Night Live right here.

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