The success DayZ has received so far is rather shocking for a few reasons. First of all it’s a shock to see a major mod become more popular than the game it’s based upon but it’s also shocking to see a game that is so hardcore become popular. While this generation hasn’t entirely bred a new wave of gamers who abhor challenges, it’s certainly refreshing to see the whole perma death angle actually take off and be embraced. DayZ’s core formula has proven itself and that in turn means we’re bound to see a new wave of perma death games, one of which is the FPS sci-fi experience found in Routine.
Unveiled at Gamescom this week, Routine is a game that borrows an element or two from DayZ but in the process takes a huge fork in the road to do something entirely different. Utilizing a perma death system, Routine presents an experience that I think may appeal to both players of DayZ and those who want some sci-fi gaming that doesn’t involve blowing stuff up or battling mass legions of aliens.
Taking place on an elaborate lunar base on the Moon, Routine puts players on a mission to find out where the inhabitants of the lunar base went. Yup, in a familiar sci-fi trope everyone on the base is gone and only remnants of their existence remain. So it’s up to the player to piece together what happened and in the process try to make it out alive.
Routine doesn’t appear to be a more survival horror version of Dead Space as the trailer doesn’t show an alien menace akin to the Necromorphs or even the Xenomorphs from Aliens. Such a thing may or may not be in the game, but as of now the only core threats in the game rest in the environment and some not so friendly robots that are lingering around the base.
Developer Lunar Software seems focused on instilling a different vibe in Routine as the game will have the aforementioned perma death system in addition to not having any health packs, no health bar or HUD, and somewhat rare occurrences in the FPS genre such as full body awareness (you’re not just a pair of floating hands), and deadzone aiming. If that isn’t hardcore enough for you then I don’t know what else Routine can do other than make every environment in the game completely pitch black.
As a game that came out of nowhere I have to say that I’m really impressed with the small snippet of Routine that has been shared so far. The gameplay elements sound interesting, however damning they may be, and visually it’s just nice to see a sci-fi game that isn’t complete flash and opts to do something a bit more grounded or even retro, hence the floppy disks scattered on the ground. Whether or not everything in Routine gels together is the big factor but I’m sure it’ll be adequate or at least interesting to gamers currently hooked on DayZ.
Routine will be released sometime next year for the PC and Mac.