The last time we saw Turok... In fact, let's just leave that alone. The latest stab at dino-shooting comes from Vancouver-based Propaganda Games and publisher Disney Interactive, and transplants the action to a far-away world where dinosaurs are only half the trouble. With the game nearing the end of development, we caught up with Propaganda co-founder and studio manager Josh Holmes and game director Joel Manners to talk about their plans.
Eurogamer: Why bring Turok back now? What does he have to offer fans of the FPS genre waiting for games like Halo 3 and Crysis?
Josh Holmes: Turok is a classic FPS franchise that remains well-loved despite some of the shortcomings of the later games in the original series. We were able to acquire the rights for Turok and have made a game that pays homage to the elements that made the first games on N64 so special. Turok drops you into a dangerous living jungle and forces you to face off against terrifying predatory dinosaurs as you struggle to survive. The game offers a truly unique experience, blending elements of action and stealth in a prehistoric world.
We were able to acquire the rights for Turok to make an entirely new game based on the Turok licence but with an entirely reworking of the series. This game is not a sequel or an updated version of past Turok games. This is an entirely new Turok set in a futuristic world with dinosaurs and other dangerous creatures. The only elements that carry over from the original series are a main character named Turok - Joseph Turok in our game - and dinosaurs. Everything is brand new.
Eurogamer: The series has obviously been through highs and lows. What would you say were its defining characteristics and what have you been able to harness for this next-generation offering?
Joel Manners: When I look back on the first N64 Turok I remember it for a couple of things. First, it was the first time I ever played an FPS on a console and felt that it was really a first-class experience. A lot of people remember GoldenEye as the first real console shooter, but for me it was Turok, and that establishes the franchise as a premier FPS experience - something that we must uphold and take to this new generation of consoles. Second, of course, is that incredible feeling of being stalked in a dense jungle by the ferocious dinosaurs. It really felt mysterious and terrifying. To me, that's the heart of the franchise above and beyond what any other shooter has done, and that's something that we have made the heart and soul of the game experience. Of course, we've done it a little differently this time around.
Eurogamer: What sort of gameplay styles are we going to experience? Will you change things up regularly like Half-Life? Concentrate variety into a certain mechanic like Gears? What's the plan?
Joel Manners: There's a ton of different ways that you can be successful playing through Turok. One of the things we spent a lot of effort on was making the environments really respond realistically to the life and action that is taking place within them, so the player is free to use that to his advantage.
A player could take a more stealthy approach, staying concealed in the dense jungle foliage, using silent weapons to pick off his opponents one by one. Or he can unlimber the heavy weapons in his arsenal and blast his way through even the toughest opponents.
The more tactically minded players will soon realise that it's not just him against the world, too. Patrolling enemy soldiers are perpetually on guard against the ferocious predators of the Turok world, and they should be! If you can lure a pack of hungry raptors down onto the patrol, you can easily sneak past in the carnage that follows, or stick around to mop up the survivors. Players should look for those opportunities. A predator might be content to eat his fresh kill for a while, but if you could sting him or attract his attention and then slip away, he might just focus on the more obvious targets just around the corner or down the hill. It's a dangerous game, but very rewarding when you can pull it off.