Sep 20 2013 2:15pm

Gaming Roundup: In Which The Cancelled Turok 2 Leaves Us Pining for New Dinosaur Games

Happy GTA V week, everybody! As it turns out, we managed to wrest ourselves away from Los Santos just long enough to bring you the week in gaming, but surprisingly enough, the story that most caught our eye this week wasn’t the launch of one of the most anticipated games of all time—rather, it has to do with a game that never was. A few days ago, leaked concept art and some early footage of Turok 2—a game cancelled before it was even announced back in 2009—emerged, leaving us wistfully thinking of what might have been, and reflecting on the present fate of dinosaurs in video games.

Many N64 gamers remember the original Turok: Dinosaur Hunter fondly, and the game was a surprise hit for the console—after all, the game had a laser-wielding T-Rex, and gaming doesn’t get much better than that, folks. While Turok received an official sequel in 1998 (and a few more games to boot), the series underwent a modern-day reset with the launch of Turok in 2008 on current-gen consoles and PCs. While the 2008 edition was met with a lukewarm reception, now-defunct Vancouver-based game studio Propaganda Games was initially tasked with creating a sequel until Disney stepped in to quash its development. The short clip above—probably representative of the game in an alpha or pre-alpha stage—depicts a T-Rex encounter, and the awakening of Turok.

The question that always comes to mind, then, is why have there not been more dinosaur-based video games in the modern era? There are a few exceptions to this rule, sure (Primal Carnage comes to mind), but really, since the days of Turok, Dino Crisis, and Jurassic Park (the Genesis version, not the incredibly lame SNES version), dinosaurs in gaming have become virtually extinct.

Some pin this phenomenon on the vast ambition and subsequent spectacular failure of Jurassic Park: Trespasser back in 1998. The concept of Trespasser was brilliant—an open-world survival-horror game (with the emphasis on survival) in which the entire world was constructed to appropriately represent dinosaurs within it, with a sole survivor scratching and clawing to salvage and survive in the wild. Unfortunately, the execution left a lot to be desired, and after all the anticipation, the game’s ruin seemed to scare developers off of dinosaurs for good.

An unfortunate happenstance, as given current-gen tech enhancements, the timing is perfect today for a game like Trespasser, done right. On a selfish aside, we’d love to see a dinosaur game based on the various dino hunt safaris available from Time Safari, Inc., the notorious time travel agency situated in the Ray Bradbury classic “A Sound of Thunder.” Or perhaps a current-gen action-focused Jurassic Park game (a void left unfulfilled by Telltale’s flawed Jurassic Park).

What games, current or past, have sated your thirst for dinosaurs, Dear Reader? And how would you like to see this particular genre develop? Let us know below!

In other gaming news this week, a League of Legends player acquaints himself with a ghost pepper, Blizzard kills Diablo III’s auction houses, GTA V makes a crapload of money, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD instantly becomes the Wii U’s best game. Read on!

  • What better way to enhance your League of Legends experience than by accompanying it with one of the world’s hottest peppers: the ghost pepper? (warning: NSFW language.)

  • In the most unsurprising PS4 news ever, GameStop Germany has apparently outed plans for a next-gen Uncharted game on Sony’s upcoming console.
  • If you’re into mobile gaming at all, you should probably check out Infinity Blade III, which just launched this week. In case you’re wondering, yes, this series is still the pinnacle of iOS gaming.
  • In welcome news to ARPG fans, Blizzard is finally killing Diablo III’s auction houses next March. This change affects both the real money and gold auction houses, and has been a long time coming. In explaining the change, Blizzard stated: “ became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo’s core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot”—a fact that was clear to everyone in the gaming universe upon the game’s launch except, apparently, Blizzard themselves. Oh well. Better a year-and-a-half late than never, we suppose.
  • Last week, we told you that GTA V was the most expensive video game ever developed. This week, we tell you not to worry for Rockstar’s pocketbook: GTA V raked in $800 million in the first 24 hours of its release.
  • In related news, what was your reaction to GTA V’s most controversial scene (so far)? In case you haven’t heard, the scene involves the extreme and graphic torture of a man suspected of harboring crucial information relating to terrorism. It’s tricky to judge these issues without context, so the link included attempts to provide it, for those who have yet to play the game.
  • Humble Indie Bundle 9 has become, unbelievably, an even better deal via the addition of four more games to their pay-what-you-want package, including modern gaming classic, Limbo. Some or all proceeds of the Humble Bundle go to charity, depending on how you wish to allocate your payment.
  • Do you love dying over and over again? If so, mark your calendar - Dark Souls 2 launches on March 11, 2014.
  • Finally, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is pretty much the best Wii U game ever, thus far. Fans of the original are already aware of the pure quality of this game, but for the uninitiated: if you have a Wii U, get this game. If you don’t own a Wii U, this is the game that should have you thinking about getting one.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or blogs you think we should be following for more news, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.

Walker White
1. Walker
While it is true that the Infinity Blade series has some of the most impressive visuals of any iOS game, it is in no way, shape, or form the pinnacle of iOS gaming. The gameplay is rather trite and repetitive. You move from set-piece to set-piece performing the same vs combat over and over. While there is some strategy involved, it is not particularly deep.

There are far more innovative iOS games with deeper gameplay. Even the ports of PC games (like X-Com: Enemy Unknown) have superior gameplay.
Scott Silver
2. hihosilver28
Ugh. I absolutely adore Wind Waker, but can we please stop giving Nintendo awards for trotting out their old games on new systems. The fact that their most highly rated game is a decade old should be telling us something about the company. If you don't have a WiiU just go get a Gamecube or a Wii and play Windwaker that way. No need to support a new system that has no support from the company who produces it.

But yes, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is phenomenal and in my top 3 Zelda games.
3. Tarcanus
@2 Amen. I'd love it if the public stopped giving Nintendo accolades for basically re-skinning and 'new feature' padding their old games and re-releasing them on their various consoles. It'd also be great if they'd age their franchises to try to hold onto the fans that made them a heavyweight to begin with instead of focusing on 10-14 year olds.

That said, it's nice to hear about a new Uncharted - the series is a well done shooter, even if I likely won't have the time to play it.

I've also never realized the appeal of GTA games, so color me underwhelmed about all of the news on it, this week.

ETA: And I definitely lament the lack of quality dino-games. Turok was great back in the day. It was a damn shame that they testosterone'd up all of the character models in the reboot and made it a gore-fest like every other game that was popular at that time. It's no wonder it didn't do well.

Dino Crisis was also a cool game back in the day. Take the Resident Evil gameplay and make the enemies dinosaurs? I'm totally ok with that, haha.

I don't see why it couldn't happen again, it's just that it seems no one wants to do a dino game justice. Any game based on the new Jurassic World movie is likely to be under-funded and wind up as a typical movie-based game and therefore underwhelming. And devs have always seemed intent to make dino games as gorey and ridiculous as possible which personally turns me off.

I'd love it if we could get a well done open-world/sandbox game that takes place in a dinosaur setting with a more compelling set of quests than: go fetch this; escort this person here; go kill this; level up to be unreasonably powerful; etc. The dinosaurs should be real threats(carnivores) or amazing, interactive resources/set pieces(a herd that you can make stampede with loud noises or something or just watch them in their beautiful glory fighting off a carnivore or something) and not just something else to blow up with your OP rocket launcher.
Pritpaul Bains
4. Kickpuncher
@1 Walker - Valid point. "visual pinnacle" would have been more accurate.

@2 hihosilver28 and @3 Tarcanus - Certainly agreed re: Nintendo. As mentioned earlier in this space, the Wii U feels like a console with no real sense of progression or innovation behind it. Nintendo's hardware evolution has certainly been greater in the past, and the 2DS launch isn't doing the company many favors, either. That's not to say that Wind Waker HD isn't a great product, but Nintendo is making a habit out of coasting on past glory with their franchises, and that's dangerous ground to tread over the long haul.

Re: my ideal dino game... ah, man. I really do feel like Trespasser, if it had nailed its own intent, would have been it, and would love to see someone simply make that game as it should have been using current-gen tech. I think it would ideally be very similar to what's envisioned in the OP and by you, Tarcanus -- a living, breathing world in which you are a very small part, that exists all around you regardless of your actions, that you can explore, escape, or quickly be put at the mercy of in the blink of an eye. That would be spectacular. I just wish so hard a studio would take a risk and revisit this. I'd envision something like the feel of Far Cry 3 in a completely new environment.
Robert Dickinson
5. ChocolateRob
I've no interest in playing the Infinity Blade games..
... but the infinity Blade books by Brandon Sanderson which bridge the plots of them are awesome.
6. B.L.S
Please. Someone make an Open World Turok game.
A GOOD one for once.
With a story that makes sense and that does NOT involve Space Marines.
The best Turok game was Turok: Evolution.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment