Given the strength of Routine's premise, and the atmosphere that drips the screenshots and trailer, I also asked Foster for his take on what makes survival-horror succeed in video games, and where he feels other titles miss the mark. "Fear of the unknown, sound, music, anticipation, not too much contact with the enemy, and trying not to let the player get too comfortable," Foster replied, rattling off some key building blocks. However, he asserts--perhaps moreso than any of these factors--that a player has to be willing to invest themselves in a scary experience for it to have real teeth.
"Honestly--this may sound a bit strange--but I think the player needs to be willing to be scared," Foster said. "I've seen far too many people watch a horror movie or play a horror game but be completely disconnected from the situation: playing during the day with people all around you, talking/texting on the phones sometimes not even playing with much sound! It's crazy! Why you would start playing something like a horror game and yet be so disconnected from its experience! Give the movie or game your full attention if you want to experience it properly."
When it comes to where other developers misstep in making a horror-based experience, Foster's answer is simple: "I think most developers use horror as a theme to their action game rather than actually making a horror game."
Foster and the rest of the Lunar Software team are currently neck-deep in trying to make Routine the best (and scariest) it can be. They're working hard towards some internal milestones, and could have something new to show about the game as early as November of this year. Routine doesn't have a release date yet, but will be equipped to take both PC and Mac users on a terrifying ride to the Moon when it eventually ships.
Routine, by Lunar Software, sounds like it'll be anything but.