A few weeks ago we caught our first glimpse of Routine, the upcoming horror title from indie studio Lunar Software. We were taken aback by the sharp presentation we saw in that trailer, so we decided to catch up with the studio and see what they are all about.
From left to right in this photo we have Peter Dissler, Jemma Hughes and Aaron Foster, while Melbournite Mick Gordon is not pictured. Here's what they had to say about their upcoming adventure.
Give us the elevator pitch for Routine - what is it all about?
Aaron: Routine is a first Person Horror set in a 80's vision of the future on an Moon Base! You must uncover the reasons behind the strange disappearance behind the workers stationed there!
What is your role in the development?
Aaron: Lead Artist/Designer
Mick: Audio Director
What is the major user experience you are trying to create with Routine?
Aaron: We really want to make a Horror game that is more open ended, creates a lot of tension and that also feels very different to what is currently out there!
Mick: I'm trying to scare the crap out of people! Not in a horrific way, or in a violent/disturbing way, but in a terrifying way. It's giving the player the illusion that they've got just enough control over a terrifying situation that is exciting me at the moment!
What is the biggest hurdle you will have to overcome to achieve that experience?
Mick: Fear is like musical taste - it's often a personal thing. What creeps one person out, might be another's idea of a great night out! The beauty of this project is the team's control over design. This allows us to make some pretty drastic game design decisions that traditional publishers often shy away from. Permanent death is one great example - we want to make the player really think about their decisions. There's no health packs, and if you're hurt you can't simply hide behind a crate waiting for your heath to recharge. Think about it - if you've only got one life, you're going to be really careful about how you do things in the game. If you're the only man in this abandoned Moon base...and you hear footsteps in the next room...you're really going to think twice before investigating!
What other games have inspired the development?
Aaron: Movies inspired this project far more than games but I would have to say Dark Souls, System Shock 2, Thief and Whiteday
Mick: Movies are definitely more of an encouragement for this project, but some of my favourite horror games are The Suffering, Doom, Fatal Frame and Resident Evil.
Will Routine borrow heavily from sci-fi novels and movies? If so, which ones?
Aaron: I wouldn't say we borrow heavily from anything in particular! but we are hugely inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, The Shining, The Thing and Alien!
Mick: I've been on a massive Sci-Fi novel kick lately. I've read through Enders Game, 1984, Stranger in a Strange Land, 2001, The Foundation and I've just started Starship Troopers. There's so many wonderful stories out there - one can never be bored!
If you could give some advice to aspiring indie developers, what would it be?
- Have a useful skill set that contributes directly to development!
- Don't be the ideas guy!
- Get involved in a online community that is related to your chosen role, post work and get feedback!
- Work your arse off!
- But honestly have passion in Game Development, you need to enjoy the process, not just the start and the end of starting a project!
When can we expect to see the game?
Aaron: We are aiming for an Early 2013 release, on PC and Mac!
What is the one thing you want a player to walk away with after finishing your game?
Aaron: I want them to either Love or Hate the game, we don't want to be in the middle of the road and have people say "it's okay" or "that game wasn't bad"... I would honestly feel sad if it just blended in with the majority of games! So yeah, love or hate it! :)
By Stephen Heller