This 1960s-style adventure about a fallen ‘AI god’ in humanity’s distant future is exactly my kind of sci-fi

There are a pile of new games announced every week—every day, really—and it’s impossible to stay on top of them all. Picking which ones to pay attention to often comes down to a question of vibes: Does it move me in any way, or do anything to snap my eyes in its direction? It’s not the most scientifically precise system, true, but it’s worked out pretty well for me so far. And one newly announced game that’s giving me some pretty good vibes is Return to Grace, a first-person narrative adventure set in a 1960s-style “retro sci-fi world.”

Return to Grace tells the story of Adie Ito, a “space archaeologist” who has discovered the final resting place of an “AI god” named Grace who once served as caretaker of the solar system. All that remains now are the fractured variations of the Grace AI, each with its own unique personality and motivations, who hold the secret of Grace’s fate and why she was ultimately shut down centuries ago.

The game is being developed by Creative Bytes, whose previous game (co-developed by Falling Squirrel) was The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, “an audio-based RPG with a genius approach to medieval combat” that came out in 2021. The unique storytelling aspects of that game, which follows the adventures of a blind princess—including combat—entirely through audio cues, sets my expectations for Return to Grace quite high. 

So does the setting and visual style on display here: I grew up reading Golden Age and New Wave sci-fi novels and short stories, and Return to Grace is right in that particular wheelhouse. Between this and The Invincible, 2023 could be a good year for pulp fans looking for an interactive fix. (Like me!)

Return to Grace also apparently a very short game, which is great news for people who are buried under a relentless tsunami of new game releases: The Steam page says it is an “evening-sized game that can be completed in one sitting and replayed for different experiences.”

Return to Grace comes out on May 30, and will be available for PC on Steam and the Epic Games Store.

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