Routine – retro-futuristic horror-adventure

Gare – Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:10 AM
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Lunar Software's first title, the retro-futuristic first person survival horror called Routine looks promising enough, so we've taken a look at the most prominent features we can expect in this upcoming -and hopefully sufficiently terrifying- adventure.

Retro atmosphere

At first glance, Routine might give the impression of a System Shock 2 successor, its story being set on a massive space station while the hero, being completely on his own, is forced to fend for himself in a seemingly abandoned, eerie environment, with only his wits to aid him. However, developer Lunar Software decided not to succumb to the current trend of sci-fi consisting of slick, sterile corridors, touchscreens and ultra hi-tech gadgetry: instead, it relies on the down-to-earth, somewhat gloomier and outright retro vision of the future as imagined by the 80s; even the Lunar Software's logo, popping up at the beginning of their official gameplay demo, brings to mind the start of an old VHS movie one used to watch as a kid. Restraint is also the key word in terms of Routine's audio effects, which were, according to the developers, heavily inspired by movies such as The Shining. If Gone Home was indeed a love letter to the world of the 90s, Routine will no doubt attempt something similar by conjuring up the atmosphere of old sci-fi movies from a famous decade.

Stealth and close escapes

As our hero steps onto the station during the demo, he is greeted not by a pleasant female AI's sing-song voice, but rather a series of gloomy hallways peppered with complete darkness, and voices that talk on in mechanical, deep buzzes. It is no coincidence that among the prime inspirations for Routine, we can find Carpenter's famous movie, The Thing, exploring themes of isolation and the level of uncertainty and primal fear that come with it. Although we aren't completely helpless against the lonesome (and definitely hostile) robots patrolling the abandoned station, our options are limited: our gun runs on two batteries and can fire only a handful of shots before it runs out of juice; as such, focus will not necessarily be on combat, but rather stealth and close escapes, much like in Frictional's Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Furthermore, the developers emphasized the presence of a “randomizer” that affects everything in the game's environment, causing each playthrough to be fairly unique and containing various elements that cannot entirely be predicted. Multiple endings are mentioned, which can be reached equally by all players – however, the journey itself might differ for many. The developers are also currently experimenting with enemy behavior patterns in order to make them more intimidating by adding into the mix the terrifyingly unpredictable, thus tapping into the basic fear of the unknown present in most people.

Although it would be early to talk of a release date just yet, Lunar Software made mentions of a potential PS4 port as well as complete Oculus Rift support for the game. Only time can tell how Routine will eventually turn out – we are nonetheless very much anticipating its eventual arrival.

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