Recoil: Retrograd Preview

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Publisher: TBD
Developer: ZeitGuyz

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Official Site:

Retrograd is a dystopian steampunk city, mixing futuristic and Victorian technology to create a dark world dominated by an organization called Gloria Mundi. The road to Retrograd was literally paved with good intentions. Set in the year 2052, Retrograd is located in Newropa and the product of a bizarre timeline. During the 21st century, the world suffered apocalyptic wars and pandemics that left humanity struggling to survive. Then the Cardinals emerged...

The Cardinals were powerful psychics who discovered that they had the power to travel through time. The Cardinals united under one such psychic who called himself Rex Mundi. As Gloria Mundi (and the Chronology Protection Agency), these Cardinals altered history to prevent disease and nuclear Armageddon from annihilating the planet. Then they got greedy. Even the Cardinals could not resist the temptation to continue to tweak history to serve their own ends, ultimately turning themselves into the ruthless dictatorship that rules Retrograd, with Rex Mundi as their leader.

It is into this world that Davi Atman emerges. As an employee of Gloria Mundi, Atman worked as a "cleaner" on their behalf until he was caught in an explosion while trying to dismantle a bomb. That near-fatal explosion unlocked Atman's own power to glimpse the past and travel to change history. Gloria Mundi tried to commit Atman to an asylum, but after his escape, Atman sets out to put the world to rights, even if he has to travel in time to do so.

Projected Release: TBD
Kyle Ackerman

Recoil: Retrograd is in pre-production. That means that ZeitGuyz are searching for a publisher by showing off the game's design and rough play ideas. Assuming they find one, you might see Recoil: Retrograd within as little as two years. Or, things might change a lot before the game sees the light of day. This I can say: the design is tremendously cool, and something I would be excited to see released and get the opportunity to play.

ZeitGuyz "ZEO" Morten Iversen pitches Recoil: Retrograd as Blade Runner meets City of the Lost Children, and he talks gleefully about an exciting setting. Aside from the steampunk environment that has players exploring a futuristic city that runs on screaming steam pipes and gigantic clockwork contraptions, the fluid timeline of Recoil: Retrograd is its biggest appeal. Atman, the protagonist, can venture through a huge city in the present (that being the steampunk 2052), but if he finds the right trigger objects, can venture back in time as far back as the 15th century. Those "past" levels will be smaller, faster-paced and more constrained than levels set in the "present," but will allow players to make choices that will actually change the Retrograd of 2052, undoing the damage done by Gloria Mundi.

The prospect of taking Recoil: Retrograd's action through six centuries of timeline is thrilling. Atman can't bring items back with him, so the third-person action will include melee combat as well as plenty of shooting, all using technology that is appropriate to the segment of the timeline Atman is currently exploring. Since the game is in pre-production, Iversen is promising the moon, but he sounds like he means it. "There will be zeppelins, dog fights, RPG elements and lots of shooting!" he proudly crows.

Players will start off as a lone vigilante, newly escaped from an asylum, improving their skills, RPG-style, through play. More importantly, Atman will gain status with various factions in Retrograd. Depending on his actions, Atman might gain help and missions from rebel factions, an independent inventor, or even an assassin (and ex-lover) of Rex Mundi.

Not only does Atman have the ability to change the Retrograd of the present – changes that will be reflected in the environment and technology of the game – Atman will be able to awaken the collective consciousness of Retrograd's repressed masses. As Atman develops his rapport with the crowd, he will be able to turn the crowd to his own purposes and benefit from its aid. He'll be able to coax crowds into battle on his side, convince them to start a distraction or even (if he is sufficiently charismatic) to serve as a human shield.

I can only hope that the game gets made, because the premise is really exciting. Zeitguys has been percolating the idea for an entire Recoil franchise since the company was formed in 2005. If Morten Iversen's name sounds familiar, that's probably because of his work as a writer on the Hitman and Freedom Fighters games. I'd love to see what he and his team can do with Recoil: Retrograd.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on March 1, 2008 3:55 PM.

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