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Procedural road trip Road 96 is getting a psychadelic rhythm prequel

Releasing this April

Road 96 was a road trip where your journey was assembled from parts and each attempt to reach the border of a fictional USA-alike played out differently. Now it's getting a prequel. Road 96: Mile 0 stars Zoe, one of the hitchhikers who could join you in the original, and her best friend Kaito, and features "psychadelic musical rides."

Here's the announcement trailer:

Watch on YouTube

Road 96 had seven different hitchhikers you could pick up, although of the set Zoe was arguably the main character. Kaito, her friend from a poor part of the same city, is an all-new character. Mile 0 seems set to explore their relationship, their "opposite backgrounds and beliefs", and to offer a reason for why Zoe leaves for the road trip she's on in Road 96.

When not making narrative choices, you'll be playing rhythm based segments in which the characters skate or skateboard through abstract courses that reflect the character's emotional journey.

This sounds like a difficult needle to thread, but Road 96 got a lot right in terms of its political complexity, character variety, and the way it allowed players to influence the story. Alice B was full of praise for it in her Road 96 review.

Suffice it to say, you quickly work out that person X is relationship Y to person Z, and the stories all form an web that you only see a few strands of at a time. The clever bit is that they can appear in any order. If you were told the tale from start to finish, all linear and neat, then it probably wouldn't be anywhere near as captivating, and you'd spot twists a mile off. But because you never know who you're going to run into next, there's always a little thrill after every load screen. "I hope," you think to yourself, "I get another Stan and Mitch scene next. I haven't seen them since we escaped on their motorbike by throwing cash they'd stolen at the windshield of the cops in hot pursuit."

Hopefully Mile 0 has the same variety and complexity and surprise even as it focuses on two characters rather than an ensemble. There's not long to wait: it's out on Steam on April 4th.

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