Generation Zero
Official Xbox Magazine|June 2019

Unexceptional in the ’80s

Alex Spencer

Between Stranger Things, the nostalgia of Ready Player One and roughly half of recent pop music, it feels like we spend more time today in the ’80s than anyone ever actually did at the time. And Generation Zero, a shooter set in 1989 Sweden, is no exception

The game hits a lot of familiar period tropes. Fire it up and you’re greeted with those towering John Carpenter-Esque synths, just as gorgeous here as they are in Stranger Things. The character creation screen loops through teen movie archetype like it’s quoting the speech from the end of The Breakfast Club – the rebel, the punk, the preppy kid, the nerd.

There’s not a flicker of neon to be seen, though, and Generation Zero stands out simply by virtue of being set in Sweden. Avalanche uses the period setting to highlight a side of its home country that isn’t often seen: the heavy militarisation that followed World War 2 and the beginning of the Cold War. Oh, and also there are robots. Lots of robots.

The idea here, which is mostly just hinted at, is that Sweden’s answer to the arms race was building a drone army – think the Boston Dynamics dog bot, but with machine guns strapped on top – until, one day, the robots turned on their human overlords. Who could have predicted that eh?

The game begins as your customized teen returns from a weekend of partying to find their home bloodstained and devoid of life – but helpfully packed with guns, ammo, and flares. From here, you’re sent on a path of exploration, nominally to find out where all the people have gone.

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