There has been a dearth of dinosaur games over the last decade, with the former inhabitants of Earth only being present in a handful of games over the past generation. Outside of a few notable examples, it might have seemed like a mass extinction event at times, but a new generation of games and consoles is seeing dinosaurs appearing in more and more video games.
One of those games is Instinction. In development at New Zealand studio Hashbane, and expected for release in 2022, Instinction is their first major game and aims to be the spiritual successor to the Dino Crisis series. We caught up with Richard Gold, Lead Developer at Hashbane, tackling our barrage of questions with some collated answers from the team.
TSA: Instinction is being touted as a spiritual successor to Dino Crisis. Aside from the dinosaurs, what kind of gameplay influences will be noticeable?
Richard Gold: Firstly, let me address this broad term of spiritual successor here. We obviously all loved and still appreciate what Dino Crisis was and what it meant to a segment of gamers that had the pleasure to experience it in its heyday. We just intend to recreate what we all felt back then and also instill that experience in a new generation of gamers.
Secondly, Dino Crisis is and always will retain its own identity, we like what it was and have no intention to distract from that. We just know that so many of us have waited too long, and while there have been other tribute attempts at remaking Dino Crisis, no indie developer could get away with taking over the IP. That’s one of the reasons we are offering mod support (as well as character customisation in-game), If you want to call your character ‘Regina’ and make the character resemble an early Dino Crisis character, you can!
TSA: How many species of dinosaurs are you expecting to have in the game?
Rich: We get asked this a lot, and our current list is sitting at 98. I’m remiss to say, not all of those are dinosaurs, I think you are aware of the smilodon (sabre-toothed tiger) that has been teased, but there are quite a few others, perhaps you have heard of homo floresiensis? I’m not going to mention all the others just yet. We’re expanding on what we saw in the early Dino Crisis games because, well, we have a more expansive story to tell!
TSA: Will Instinction lean more into the horror side or action side?
Rich: If you’re asking about jump scares or exploration, the game has both. There will be certain times where you feel claustrophobic and other times when you feel like the king of the world. The game is meant to tap into various emotional states and keep you wanting to know what happens next.
TSA: From a narrative perspective what kind of themes does the team want to explore in Instinction?
Rich: We’ve explored six different narratives, and it’s hard to discount the beauty of some of them, but we have to be rational and hone in on what the community wants. It’s impossible to please everyone, yet we understood it was most important to pursue the most palatable and believable story we could tell.
In terms of themes, I can’t expose too much just yet, I can say that it will make you hold your breath, be angry, be scared to walk to the bathroom and excited to wake up and continue playing. We are currently interviewing a few world class story tellers to help fine tune and develop the storyline.
TSA: With more evidence that dinosaurs had feathers will this be represented in the game?
Rich: In short, yes! We recently responded to this and should probably elaborate; fortunately Unreal Engine is now amazing at hair, which helps feather creation, not to mention some of the other advancements UE5 will include. And as is now proven, many of the once terrifying beasts we once knew, actually loved to be feathery. We are not just a group of game developers who love Dino Crisis, but we are Paleo-passionate, we love dinosaurs and also keep close attention to new developments within the paleontological world. We want our creatures to be accurate, we also want a game people can love, so within reason we will offer updates to reflect new findings.
Don’t forget this is another reason mod support will be appreciated, not just to add to the longevity of the game, but also to constantly allow for accurate representations of dinos!
TSA: How will the gameplay experience differ between single player and co-op? For example, in co-op will there be more dinosaurs or will they be tougher to take down?
Rich: Alongside skill level there are obvious benefits to co-op vs single player gameplay, it will always be a balance between the two. There are varying dependencies that don’t just rely on how many players are involved but also skill level. If you are leaning towards Gears of War gameplay, well yes, we draw heavily on the integration, but keycards and med packs are still priority, amongst other things. For those that also loved Syphon FIlter, there is a transponder to use, and way more!
TSA: There will be a mix of melee and range weapons. Will different weapons be more effective against different dinosaurs. If so, any examples?
Rich: You are quite smooth! But I can’t answer that yet… I’m sorry!
TSA: Instinction will be semi open world. How big are you planning on making the world? What kind of biomes could players expect?
Rich: With regard to biomes, we have 12 in this game, and they correspond with others close to them. So far you have seen 1 forest, 1 underwater, and one indoor area, but these are not complete examples yet.
TSA: Will there be a crafting element in Instinction?
Rich: I guess you want a survival only game? I’m hoping you don’t! Different levels require different elements and attention to detail as a player, it all interplays in Instinction, you need to lose yourself and be intertwined in mental narrative entanglement.
TSA: How often does the team crack Jurassic Park jokes?
Rich: I think we have heard them all! If we have missed some, please send them to us! Do you have one for us?
Rich asked for a joke, so we will provide (though not Jurassic Park specific)
What does a triceratops sit on?
Thanks to Rich for answering all our questions. Insinction is in development with a 2022 release target across PS4, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.