How HP is Helping to Make a Video Game

Road 96 gets a boost from the hardware maker

Key Takeaways

  • The Omen team at HP is working with developer DigixArt on a new game called Road 96.
  • Road 96 will be a procedurally generated adventure game.
  • HP Omen is working with DigixArt to build a community and help bring exposure to the upcoming game.
Road 96 screenshot with Big Bear Diner on the right side of the road
DigixArt

Despite appearances that HP might be getting into the game development business, the company best known for its computers and printers said it is just lending a hand to developer DigixArt on its new game, Road 96.

DigixArt, the developer of Lost in Harmony, premiered its newest title during The Game Awards 2020. Road 96, which is being created in partnership with HP's Omen gaming PC and laptop business, looks to be an interesting narrative adventure. But while it might look like HP is getting into the game development business, things aren’t quite what they seem.

“In addition to creating great gaming hardware, like our Omen line of products, and launching new gaming experiences with Omen Gaming Hub, we decided to start working with visionary game developers to be a part of progressing the medium forward.” Judy Johnson, the director of gaming and esports at HP, wrote in an email. 

Making Connections

Police officer speaking to game character in Road 96
DigixArt

According to Johnson, Omen and HP won’t actually be playing an active part in the development process. Instead, the company will work alongside DigixArt developers to help bring the vision that studio co-founder Yoan Fanise and the team have in mind.

“We loved the vision that DigixArt and Yoan have for Road 96 and what it offers through giving every player the chance to continually progress in an ever-evolving story where each journey will be different.” Johnson wrote. “We wanted to support that vision and help bring it to market to as wide an audience as possible as well as offer ways for fans to get even more content from the world DigixArt are creating.”

The two teams have put together a calendar of activities that will help foster a community around the game leading up to its launch in 2021. These events, Johnson told us, include things like creative competitions to create an Easter egg for the game, as well as opportunities to get exclusive access to Road 96’s beta.

Johnson believes that by working together and utilizing the HP Omen Gaming Hub, which acts as a meeting place for gamers, DigixArt and HP can bring Road 96 to even more gamers.

What Is Road 96, Anyway?

Of course, connections and talks of exposure aside, most of us are probably more curious to know what Road 96 is and what to expect from it.

Road 96 is a unique adventure that blends procedural generation and narrative in a way that has almost never been seen. You start playing as a teenager that wants to escape [their] country, in the brink of turmoil, and reach the border which is thousands of miles away.” Johnson said. 

Road 96 is a unique adventure that blends procedural generation and narrative.”

She described how players will come across other characters with their own unique backgrounds as they get closer and closer to the border of the country. It sounds like a very ambitious title from what Johnson shared with us, even touting that the game will offer multiple beginnings and destinations, with the paths and even the destination being one of “hundreds of thousands of possibilities.” Other important features that DigixArt is experimenting with include an audience decision system, which allows a streamer’s viewers to choose the journey’s next destination and events through a voting system. 

There’s still a lot that we don’t know about Road 96, but from the sounds of things, it looks like DigixArt has managed to build a strong connection with HP Omen. While the hardware company itself isn’t getting that involved in the development process, DigixArt will hopefully see exposure that it might not have seen otherwise thanks to the HP partnership.

At the moment DigixArt and HP are playing their cards close to the chest, though, and Johnson assured us that the two companies are working hard to iron out plans to share more info as progress towards a 2021 release continues.

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