ROADWARDEN Is An Experimental RPG That Combines Text Adventures With Visual Novels

I’ve often struggled with the question, “What makes a game an RPG?” The name itself doesn’t really mean much when you think about it. Role-playing game… am I not always playing a role in my games? Is it the ability to make your own choices? To level up and spend your stat points? Why do we separate certain games and just say they have, “RPG elements?” Do I have to fight monsters? Are dating simulators RPGs?

There’s no definitive answers to these questions. Which is a good thing. Ambiguity is one of the defining characteristics of gaming as an art form. While certain genre conventions are more or less codified (shooters all shoot), games still push the limits and mix and match these elements to make things that are entirely new. With Roadwarden, developer Moral Anxiety Studio is looking to explore these boundaries once again.

Known for their previous works Tales From Windy Meadow and The Tavern, Moral Anxiety Studio is an indie studio with a clear passion for storytelling. While visual novels aren’t my personal cup of tea, I’ve always appreciated them as a narrative medium. Why should the conclusion to a rewarding story be locked behind killing 1000 orcs? Not all gamers like killing orcs. With Roadwarden, Moral Anxiety is looking to create an RPG where your interactions with the world aren’t all based on if you have a sword sharp enough to slay whatever is in front of you.

Not to say that Roadwarden won’t let you kill orcs. From what we can see, the game just lets you not. More about it from the Official Press Release:

In Roadwarden, set for a late 2020 release, you play as roaming adventurer, messenger, and general-purpose hero in a dangerous and magical world. As your story begins, a powerful merchant guild has requested your services, sending you on a journey to a mysterious peninsula in the hopes of expanding the guild’s influence. You are meant to explore this place and gather as much information as possible to reveal the secrets surrounding the area. It’s a dangerous task, but an equally respectable one. Do you have the courage to meet all the requirements that define a Roadwarden?

Stepping into the boots of one brave soul, players must be willing to put their lives in danger in order to make a difference in a grim world. While most would turn up their noses at a solitary journey through the wilder parts of the land, the Roadwarden willingly accepts the challenge in order to live up to their promise made to guard travelers, connect alienated villages, support weary merchants, and repel attacking creatures — including bandits and the undead!

  • Explore & Change the World: Discover the secrets and face the challenges of a hostile fantasy world — inevitably unveiling its uniquely sinister history
  • Grow With the Challenge: Create your own background story, personal abilities, beliefs, and personality to shape your very own future as a Roadwarden
  • Classical RPG Attitude: Prepare yourself for an epic journey, either as a warrior, mage or scholar, and define your character‘s traits; like friendly, playful or intimidating, during interactions with various NPCs
  • Mysteries Unfold: Use your savvy and wiles when investigating and drawing your conclusions to understand the true nature of this world. Immerse yourself in detailed dialogues and sidequests with dozens of NPCs to gain their trust and support.

Roadwarden is currently slated for a late 2020 release. It’s currently only slated for release on Steam, with other digital distribution platforms to be announced. No word yet on a console release. If you want to check it out, you can check out its store page and add it to your Steam wishlist.

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