Malaysia’s No Straight Roads team talks about taste, talent and world tours

12 Jul 2019 / 10:44 H.

SET IN a city where Electronic Dance Music has taken over and all other genres have been banned, action game No Straight Roads comes from a Malaysian team whose previous staff credits include Final Fantasy XV, Gravity Rush 2 and Street Fighter V.

At the Japan Expo Paris, they revealed more about this pulsating studio debut and their own world tour.

If taste was law

Everyone’s got a favorite type of music, but what would happen if all other kinds were outlawed?

That’s what’s happened in No Straight Roads, the first game from Malaysian studio Metronomik.

EDM has taken over, not just culturally but politically, so rock guitarist Mayday and her drummer Duke set out to put things right.

Senior staff from the No Straight Roads team were at Paris’s 2019 Japan Expo, along with revitalized UK publisher Sold Out, where they told Relaxnews more about their game.

Studio co-founder, CEO, and creative director Wan Hazmer, a lead game designer on Final Fantasy XV, was on site with Jarold Sng, an art lead from PlayStation’s Gravity Rush 2 and head of TenTen Studio; business and marketing assistance comes from another Square Enix alumnus, Idir Ould Braham.

Their show floor demo, running on a PlayStation 4 Pro, leads players through a two-stage mission.

The first part is pure tutorial, introducing movement, combat, and special moves leveraging musical abilities, before players face-off against a towering dance music DJ.

Notes and staves fly, orbiting planets turn into searing globes of energy, and dance floor squares pulsate as Mayday and Zuke take one giant, rhythmic step towards freeing Vinyl City from musical myopia.

Though No Straight Roads pits a rock band against an administration of EDM enemies, Wan and his team say the game isn’t about which genre is better.

In fact, Wan and his cousin Daim, Metronomik’s other co-founder, used to tease each other about their differing tastes. Instead of driving them apart, though, those jokes helped them adopt a broader point of view.

If other, deeper themes lie beneath the music-powered presentation, Metronomik aren’t going to say just what, but Wan and co. are eager to reach as many as they can.

Metronomik’s Malaysian world tour

NSR wasn’t the only South East Asian game at Japan Expo –adorable, imminent Singaporean chirp ‘em up Songbird Symphony was a few steps away; the region’s rarely so well-represented at a show this far-flung.

What’s more, Malaysia is more commonly linked with outsourcing rather than original games: Gameloft, Codemasters, and Bandai Namco have all opened outposts, while studios like Passion Republic and Streamline have contributed work to the massive Dark Souls 3, Uncharted 4 and Street Fighter V.

The talent is certainly there, Wan notes, and Metronomik hopes to prove that direction is on hand as well.

While early show floor excerpts can’t predict whether No Straight Roads will nail its launch-day audition with players, sustained publicity shouldn’t be a problem: Metronomik’s on an international tour.

Having already won awards at BitSummit, Unreal Open Day, and the Taipei Game Show, they head to ChinaJoy in Shanghai (August 2-5), Gamescom in Cologne, Germany (Aug 20-24), PAX West in Seattle, USA (Aug 30 - Sept 2), and the Tokyo Game Show (Sept 12-15), returning to France for Paris Games Week (Oct 30 - Nov 3).

No Straight Roads is confirmed for PlayStation 4 and PC in early 2020; plans for other consoles have not yet been formally announced. - AFP

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