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Routine - Space Based Horror Title


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Apologies if there is already a topic on this.

Synopsis: Routine is a first person horror exploration game set on an abandoned Moon base. Your job is to find enough data to uncover the truth behind the strange disappearance of everyone stationed on the Lunar Research Station.

A non linear experience lets you explore any part of the fully open Moon base and find out secrets that other players may not!

Be immersed with Full body awareness, Deadzone aiming, no HUD, no health bars or points system... you must run, hide and survive the best you can against what lurks in the base.

There are no health packs or multiple lives, in Routine there is a Perma death system that will keep you on the edge!


I'm guessing this is a PC only title. It is hard to judge based on the teaser but the location is good and it could be atmospheric.

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  • 10 months later...

Some of the best graphics and sound work i've ever seen. Getting a strong Dead Space 1 vibe (System Shock 2 as well) particularly with the quality of the sound space.

You know what's conspicuous by it's absence? Music.

It looks stunning.

Edited by Smitty
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My favorite works of horror are all built upon the foundation of three solid principles: a strong sense of place, clearly defined consequences, and an ability to create expectations while simultaneously defying them. It doesn't matter if it's Halloween, The Colour Out of Space, or Silent Hill -- the medium makes no difference. These three elements are at the core of every work I consider to be truly horrifying, so it's with that in mind that the upcoming PC title Routine has piqued my interest.

Unveiled at last year's Gamescom, Routine is the first work from the UK-based Lunar Software. It's a survival horror game set in an abandoned lunar base. Yep, that's a pretty strong sense of place. And there are no extra lives in the game -- permadeath means that one wrong move, and you're starting over. Well, those are some clearly defined consequences. And just take one look at the trailer, and you'll see that Routine is filled with the unexpected. It's this last element that left me searching for answers, and who better to turn to than Lead Artist and Designer Aaron Foster.

It's easy to see that Routine is rooted in the themes and aesthetics of '80s science-fiction horror. Think Blade Runner, Alien, and The Thing. I asked Foster what the appeal of this very specific era of genre fiction was, and he replied, "I think in the '80s Sci-Fi was still very relatable, there are buttons you can feel, there is dirt in the corner of objects, the whole world was still very lived in. Today's Sci-Fi is more about minimalism and keeping things very sleek...I feel that this is very hard to relate to and for me personally is a lot less interesting if I couldn't imagine myself interacting with things in the world."

While Routine draws much inspiration for those films, as well as Stanley Kubrick works like The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey, its roots are also planted in the world of video games. Foster's favorite space-based games include System Shock 2, Doom 3, Zone of Enders, and cites all three as inspirations for Routine. While the former two are early staples of the horror genre, I asked him what he thought of recent series like Resident Evil and Dead Space, which have certainly shied away from their frightening roots in favor of giving a more action-orientated experience.

"I think that in most cases this is purely down to broadening their user base, but I also feel that it isn't wrong to do this sometimes. For instance, in the story of Dead Space, Isaac has really been through it all and by DS3 he is a different man, hardened and a lot more determined to fight back, so I feel that keeping in mind the progression of story it can kind of make sense if done right."

While few would argue that these AAA series have morphed into something far different than their original installments, smaller titles have stepped in to pick up the torch. We've seen a real horror revival from PC games like Slender and Amnesia. I asked Foster if working at Lunar Software, a team of three people that includes himself, Jemma Hughes, and Pete Dissler, gives them the freedom to explore certain themes and mechanics that a AAA game simply can't. "Amnesia and Slender have inspired a lot of indie devs to try and tackle the horror genre and it's great! But this will happen whenever great Indie titles appear for any genre, I mean we are still feeling the impact Braid had on the indie community. And of course Indie teams are able to be more experimental in their design choices for sure."

Though much of Routine is being kept close to the vest, we do know that it's going to be a non-linear experience that opens up the entire moon base for you to explore. Though that freedom sounds fantastic, horror tends to be something that must be immaculately calculated.

I asked Foster how difficult it is to create tension and horror in an open-ended world, to which he replied, "Extremely hard! I think that with a linear horror game it comes down to level design to really create those tense moments, in Routine it feels more like we are making sure that the AI is the key factor to creating something really scary, how they react to your actions and develop as you progress in the game. Routine is also 50% an exploration game with an eerie atmosphere and really tense encounters with the enemy, so the game isn't relying solely on making sure it's scary but also making sure the world is really interesting to explore."

From what little we know about the game, it's clear that Routine embraces those three pillars that comprise the core of my favorite works of horror. The last question I asked Foster was in regards to any one thing about Routine that he hasn't told anybody else yet. He responded by saying, "The vents in Routine are a safe zone...honest."

I love the fact that, for some reason, I just can't bring myself to believe that.


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I'm glad to hear it's quite short. I'm probably opening myself up to getting a twenty negaton bomb dropped on my face, but permadeath holds absolutely no appeal at all to me. Losing hours of progress in one quick moment just sounds like an exercise in frustration.

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I'm glad to hear it's quite short. I'm probably opening myself up to getting a twenty negaton bomb dropped on my face, but permadeath holds absolutely no appeal at all to me. Losing hours of progress in one quick moment just sounds like an exercise in frustration.

I think some of the coverage so far said it's rogue-like? So presumably buttons stay pressed, info stays available, doors stay open etc. I imagine this might mean you respawn as a 'new' character at one point on the station but because the enemies and situations are emergent, it's a different experience each 'existence' but the world remains constant.

I'm totally just making this up from snippets of info. Is it obvious?

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