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Broken Roads is a philosophical CRPG set in a post-disaster Australian outback

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(Image credit: Drop Bear Bytes)

Australia does dry wastelands well: Think Mad Max, Wake in Fright, Razorback. You can probably add Broken Roads to that list, a forthcoming CRPG focused on post-apocalyptic exploration and "meaningful philosophical choices." It's developed by Australian studio Drop Bear Bytes, made up of former devs from CCP Games, Riot and Ubisoft, among others. Oh, and the gorgeous hand drawn art is the work of Mighty Vertex, the art studio behind Shadowrun Returns. 

While you can expect tactical turn-based combat and labyrinthine conversation trees, it's the game's 'Moral Compass' system that sounds most promising. The studio describes it as "an all-new approach to role-playing game consequences," and they're not kidding. It offers four behavioural extremes—utilitarianism, nihilism, machiavellianism and existentialism—and each decision will pull you gently in one of these four directions. If you play as an existentialist, that will affect conversations and "future choices." Basically, instead of classes, you're gradually subscribing to a world look that isn't starkly polarised. 

"We believe this will enhance the game’s roleplaying realism—you can not take an evil option and then immediately follow up with the most noble option," the studio writes on its website (opens in new tab). "Decisions will not be clear cut good and bad—we want to present real moral dilemmas that players will have to carefully consider."

This image gives you a good idea:

(Image credit: Drop Bear Bytes)

The more prosaic details: The game offers up to six party members, the characters drop the words "mate" and "drongo" liberally into conversation, and the game is set to release some time in 2021. Check out the trailer below:

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.