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Keep mum: Tether is a sci-fi horror about motherhood

Lots of spaceships happening today, isn’t there? Here’s something that looks both calmer than the “murder aliens for engine parts” shtick, but also more unsettling. Tether [official site] will be a sci-fi horror about having children but then leaving those children so you can work in a spaceship and subsequently being caught up in some kind of psychologically distressing situation that means you’ll probably not be seeing those children ever again. Whoops.

It’s going to be a “first-person fiction horror game based in a dilapidated science fiction world” say developers Freesphere Entertainment. Earth is the doldrums because its best mate the Moon has been destroyed and that means all sorts of environmental havoc. As a result, you’ve left your family behind to go on a voyage to Mars as a research assistant. But judging by that domestic spat in the trailer, it looks like your husband and children might feel some sense of abandonment. We’ve all been there. Sometimes my mum would leave us in the car while she went to the butcher’s and she would be gone for entire minutes.

I like it when sci-fi games are happy to let you dander around and soak up an oppressive atmosphere. SOMA was one of my favourite games of yesteryear and the quieter moments of Alien: Isolation were both a relief and a chance to admire the artistry of your surroundings. But both of those always had some kind of real, solid horrorthing to fall back on. It’s not clear if Tether is doing the same. We are only told that the protagonist will be “forced to survive the psychological horrors of isolation in deep space.” A lack of gamey baddies might be healthy, of course. I’m sure a story about mum in space can find some other ways to frighten us. And hopefully its message isn’t as simplistic as: Mums Belong With The Children.

It’s still a while off though, and is currently going through Steam Greenlight. The developers are planning to release late in 2017.

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Brendan Caldwell

Features Editor

Brendan likes all types of games. To him there is wisdom in Crusader Kings 2, valour in Dark Souls, and tragicomedy in Nidhogg.

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