Indie studio Open Lab Games have announced a rather interesting sounding new project, entitled Roller Drama. Focusing on the rather underexposed sport of Roller Derby, Roller Drama is a mash-up of a visual novel and a sports management game.
Roller Drama centres on a woman named Joan, who lives in a dilapidated warehouse alongside five athletes; Anne, Portia, Pippi, Cordelia and Juliet. Together they decide to form a Roller Derby team, with Joan acting as the manager and coach. The gameplay is split into two different sections; living life in a dystopian capitalist society that is well into a gradual collapse, and managing the team during their roller derby games.
The matches take inspiration, quite fittingly, from the sport of roller derby, a full contact roller skating sport set on an oval where two teams race around trying to lap each other. A very broad overview, however, Roller Drama puts a rather arcade spin on the whole thing. Joan is able to issue commands to the team to lead them to victory, all the while wielding a customisable deck of power cards that can be used to give their players the edge.
Outside of the rink, Joan takes on a mother hen role with the team, able to build relationships with the ladies and having to balance everybody's emotions as they engage in rivalries, friendships and love. On top of managing a group of contrasting personalities, the political and environmental fallout from society's collapse also impacts everyone's lives, leading to issues that must be worked around to ensure everyone is fit and healthy to win their games and conquer the league.
When discussing the game, Pietro Polsinelli, Open Labs lead designer, said “After our narrative-driven debut football drama, we wanted to take everything we’d learned and push the boat out even further. From the hand drawn visuals to the bold genre mashup, Roller Drama is hella ambitious and weird. We aim to give players a sporting triumph they wouldn’t find anywhere else!”
Roller Drama is still fairly early in development and has a projected launch for iOS and Android devices in early 2023.