So, What Happened to 'Routine,' That Promising Space Horror Game From 2013?


#1

Ever have one of those games you look up on Google every once and awhile, wondering what happened? You’ve given up on playing the thing, but still, you’re curious.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/mb5qpx/routine-release-date-space-horror-alien

#2

I followed the development of Overgrowth, the sequel to Lugaru, for 7 of the nine years it was in development before falling off. Googled it last month to find out it actually released in October. Don’t think my PC can even run it at this point!


#3

One game I always think of is Eitr. I don’t remember when I first saw footage (I think it was an indie showcase during Sony’s E3 conference in 2015?), but it immediately jumped out at me. The art style, the combat, the animations – everything looked awesome. I don’t think it ever got a release date, and I haven’t heard it referenced since that E3, but man, I hope it gets released.


#4

The game that comes to mind fastest for me is the MUGEN project, Card Sagas Wars. MUGEN is basically an open fighting game engine, in which people construct their own fighting games, often with existing fighting game characters. It’s where videos of fights between Peter Griffin versus Homer Simpson are made. Typically, people create MUGEN builds that are just massive super-rosters of every fighting game character from every fighting game, and pit Sub-Zero against Dark Ryu and shit like that.

Card Sagas Wars was one of a few MUGEN builds that was going to have entirely new character sprites and movesets unique to them; basically, a new fighting game. The roster was a who’s-who of copyright infringement: Chun Li, Donkey Kong, Cloud, Samus, etc. The sprite work was incredibly impressive, each character uniquely rendered in a 16-bit chibi style, and the combat looked fast and deep without overreaching into the unblockable chaos that MUGEN builds typically favor. Here’s a video:

It had been in development from what seems like 2007/2008, but around the early 2010s, the devs stopped posting updates. I looked around recently, and read somewhere that a fan had contacted one of the few people responsible for the build and found out that he had started working in the games industry proper, hence the project’s cancellation. So, good for him!

I’m not sure I would want this game any longer, but it sure as hell was a compelling and impressive fan project.


#5

I remember Nintendo Power used to have a list of upcoming titles, and sometimes there’d be no info about them other than a name and what system it was coming out on, and every month I’d check them and sometimes would notice titles would just Disappear after being on there forever without a single word. That was my earliest introduction to the unstable nature of game development and how sometimes things just Get Cancelled. Following movie rumors online around that same age reinforced it. Now I don’t believe any game’s coming out until I see a 2nd or 3rd trailer and get a Specific Release Date and even then the past few years I’ve shrugged and said “Yeah they’ll probably push it back.”


#6

I think people have become a bit more aware of how often video games are cancelled or just fail as projects in the indie/kickstarter era than previously before. I’ve backed several video games on Kickstarter, and most of them were at the very least substantially late, and a few will probably never see the light of day. Some are three or four years overdue at this point.

Indie games seem more likely to fail to come out in general. Small teams mean brittle teams, and of course people can always run out of money. Take a three-person team and have somebody get seriously ill and it can torpedo a whole project, to say nothing of the human cost of such a thing.


#7

This is a very good series that I hope to see more of. I know that there are a ton of games that just kind of poof away and it’s disappointing. Or other games just come out and people do not notice it at all. I can’t wait to see what other games Patrick dives into!


#8

I don’t really have a game like this in development limbo that I’ve kept an eye on for years (although recently I learned of Heart Forth, Alicia, a game that looks right up my alley, and it appears to be in that sort of place at the moment). I do have games that I want a sequel for that I know are never going to get one, though. Kingdoms of Amalur…Sleeping Dogs…KOTOR…

Goddamn, imagine a current-gen KOTOR with good writing.


#9

I actually have a list in my Google Keep for a whole bunch of these! It’s a fairly long list so I won’t post it directly, but if anyone’s curious here’s a copy. The format is Title (Developer). I have it set up to remind me every other month and I comb through the Internet finding out the latest on each and, if they’ve been added to Steam, wishlisting them there and removing them from this list.


#10

Every few months l’ll peak my head in and see how the fan made Mother 4 is coming along. I’ve been following that game since around 2011. I always thought it was super ballsy to go ahead and just make a sequel to a well loved Nintendo franchise so I was incredibly excited. They released some trailers (and even a release date that came and went) in 2015 and I was completely blown away. I mean they got that art style, music, and even gameplay systems spot on. The last update was September of last year basically saying they are changing the name and distancing themselves from the Mother series admist the whole Am2r thing. Can’t say that I blame them, but boy do I want to play that game sometime before I die.


#11

A lot of these suggestions are really good. Thanks. :slight_smile:


#12

Seeing Owlboy screenshots almost a decade ago was a big part of what inspired me to start making pixel art games. Then I forgot about it for a while. And hey, it eventually came out after almost 10 years of development!

I had that exact same experience! The silently-cancelled Gamecube Kirby game is probably the best example. The stacking characters idea still sounds pretty cool…

kirby-adventure-gcn-20050517040509910

Anyways, Unseen64 is a pretty good source for cancelled projects https://www.unseen64.net/2008/04/09/kirby-adventure-gamecube-unreleased/


#13

Hey, y’all should look into what happened to The Mandate, a starship management game with a strong Russian Empire flavor! It would have been extremely Austin’s shit.


#14

I would love to know what happened to the cool looking Syndicate inspired cyberpunk game called Black Annex. I think I first heard about it in 2012 or 2013. While trying to see if there have been any updates before posting this I discovered that it now has a Steam page so I guess that’s something. Looking at steamdb it seems the store page went up about 6 months ago (if I’m reading the changes right). The official website just has a logo and a link to the dev’s personal twitter account. I didn’t see any game updates on the twitter account but I admittedly only skimmed a bit.

I suppose I should mention that the reason I know about it in the first place is it got a lot of press for being a fairly complex looking game written in QBasic. QBasic is not well suited for that kind of stuff but I kind of love people just going ahead with it anyway just to prove they can.

I also followed Overgrowth for much of it’s development. I was super disappointed when I recently went to play it and found that I couldn’t get a consistently playable framerate no matter what settings I had. I guess now I have to wait until I can afford to upgrade my computer.


#15

Sounds like the 90% syndrome struck again. Project management is a bitch.


#16

oh wow, i COMPLETELY forgot about overgrowth. i was interested in it years ago but then completely forgot about it! cool that it came out, but it doesn’t look like something i’d be interested in these days…


#17

Another game whose footage looked AMAZING was the co-op FPS Marvel Avengers game, developed by THQ. I have no love for Marvel properties, but this legitimately looked fucking rad. UGH

This footage goes through each area and character, along with their movesets:


#18

Waaaay back when Magic Box was a website I’d check on all the time I was fascinated with whatever the hell King of Fighters Online was going to be. The funny thing is, they keep reviving the name for totally different projects so it’s gone from a fighting game with a weird 3D world/lobby system thing to a moba last I checked


#19

God, Routine at this point for me is kind of mythical.

I feel like this scenario of a piece that feels like it’s been in development is something that’s kind of exclusive to games, and occasionally books. Like, I can think of so many games that have a mysterious, eternal development: Owlboy, Iconoclasts, Fez, Star Citizen, Kentucky Route Zero, and countless others, but the only analogy for music I can think of is the cry “Jenny Death When?”

I like this kind of hype. While a lot of Triple-A fostered hype feels very fake and engineered, the small indie game stuck in development hell has a kind of earnest mystique I love getting into.


#20

There was a life simulator game called Academagia released in like 2009-ish where you made a student at a wizard school and lived through their first year, going on various text-based adventures. It’s not a great game but i really liked it at the time, and have gone back for a new playthrough roughly every year since. All this time, the developers have been promising DLC (and more recently, entirely new games) to continue on into the second year. The developers keep releasing DLC packs, largely community-submitted adventures, to prove they haven’t completely abandoned the game, but not anything for Year 2. It’s been “almost ready” and “coming after the next DLC pack” for almost a decade. The Steam release in 2016 (or 17, can’t remember) was supposed to be the final hurdle before finally focusing on Year 2; they promised no more DLC, no more delays, just Year 2, released ASAP. i just googled them and they just released another DLC pack, and are refusing to release screenshots or any details about Year 2 but are promising it’s “almost ready” again. I’m never going to get to be a wizard Harry.