Indie sci-fi horror game 'Routine' re-revealed after 10-year hiatus
Lunar Software promises that it is not vaporwareBy Cal Jeffrey
Why it matters: Summer Game Fest showcased a couple of sci-fi horror games on Thursday. One is The Callisto Protocol --- the spiritual successor to the Visceral Games classic Dead Space developed by the original title's team. The other is Routine from Lunar Software and Raw Fury.
Like The Callisto Protocol, Routine takes several cues from the Dead Space franchise. However, it has been in development hell for nearly a decade. Lunar Software initially announced it in 2012, with a 2014 release date, but the project went radio silent in 2016, leading many to think the developer canceled the game.
Lunar re-revealed the game at Summer Game Fest, but it appears quite different from the Dead Space knockoff it showed off all those years ago. Routine still has that dark vibe and paranoid-inducing environments that have you cautiously peeking around corners. You'll still feel like something is about to get the drop on you --- a reasoning that is wholly justified judging by the trailer (masthead). However, the visuals clearly show 10 years' worth of graphical advancement.
Lunar explained its hiatus on its website, saying that it almost had a finished game in 2016 but did not like the end product. So it scraped the whole thing and started over.
"We've essentially restarted production of the game. What we're sharing here today is in-game footage of Routine," the team said in an address to would-be fans. "As we were approaching what we believed to be the end of development, we were finding more and more things that we weren't happy with that negatively impacted the experience. We had worked on the project for 5 years at that point and simply couldn't release it as it was."
The small indie developers were operating on a shoestring budget and had to put the game on the back burner and work on it in their free time between other paying projects. Lunar finally partnered with Raw Fury, which provided the funds to return to Routine's full-time development. That said, the team is still reluctant to reveal a release window.
"While we won't be repeating the mistake of sharing a release date until we're entirely confident we can hit it, we didn't want to keep you waiting any longer and felt that it was time to share what we've been working on," it explained.
Whenever it does launch, it will be available on Xbox and Steam.