Eurogamer: We understand that Turok's still hunting, but this time your prey's a war criminal on another planet. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what lay behind the decisions you made in that area?
Josh Holmes: The story is set roughly 200 years in the future. You play as Joseph Turok, a former black-ops soldier who has now joined his new unit, Whiskey Company. Together you are on a mission to take down Turok's former mentor, a war criminal named Roland Kane. As your ship nears the planet where Kane and his men are located, it is shot down. You crash-land in the jungle below and find yourself in a fight for survival, hunted by Kane's army in a prehistoric world filled with dangerous dinosaurs, huge insects and other creatures.
We wanted to re-imagine Turok and take everything we thought was great about the original series (the visceral FPS experience, dinosaurs, the Native American hero) and create a new story and game that lent itself to a powerful next-gen experience.
Eurogamer: Engines like Unreal 3 and Havok have levelled certain areas of the shooter playing field - physics, corridor shooter detail levels, and so on. Are you using an existing game engine or something of your own creation? What are your strengths technology-wise?
Josh Holmes: We're using a highly modified version of Unreal Engine 3. The Unreal engine is a powerful tool but it wasn't designed to create the type of experience we are delivering in Turok. Fortunately, we have a team of talented technologists who have been working on the game engine to expand its capabilities. We've put a lot of effort into developing our dynamic AI systems, building powerful animation technology and creating rendering solutions specifically for the jungle foliage and outdoor environments featured in our game. The result is a game that pushes technology to deliver a unique and innovative gameplay experience.
Eurogamer: Last we heard you were working on PS3 and Xbox 360. We're often told by developers that the 360 is more immediately gratifying to develop for but the PS3 has a tremendous amount of long-term potential to unlock. Does that hold true in your experience?
Joel Manners: Both platforms certainly have massive upside. The differences in graphics and gameplay that fans have been seeing, and will continue to see, between last generation and this generation are fantastic.
For the Turok development team it has really been more of a question that the Unreal 3 core that we are based on was more advanced on 360 than PS3 when we started, so we have spent more time developing the game on 360, and more time developing technology for PS3. In the end the game will look and play identically on both platforms.
Eurogamer: Both consoles have chosen to put online at the centre of their offerings. What sort of multiplayer options are you considering? Any plans for full-campaign co-operative ala Halo 3, Gears of War or Haze?
Joel Manners: We are definitely working on a lot of multiplayer goodness. Even though we are stressing the story-telling and drama of the single-player campaign, we know that the heart of a good FPS is in online.
The details of multiplayer aren't being released just yet, but there are a bunch of modes, including some of the most popular from recent games, and a wide variety of maps custom designed to support those modes. We are supporting 16-player matches.
Eurogamer: How will you be using Xbox Live and PlayStation Network post-release? Any plans for downloadable add-ons, either single- or multiplayer?
Joel Manners: We'll be discussing this at a later time.
Eurogamer: How far along is development and when's the game likely to come out? Are you worried about going up against games like Halo 3, Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Haze?
Joel Manners: The game is extremely close to finishing up. We are well past alpha, so most of our current effort is focused on bug fixing.
Obviously there are a ton of really good games coming out in the next few months, so as a gamer I am extremely excited. As a developer I also know that there is more to making a successful game than just having a great game. After weighing all of the options for release we've announced that the game will be in stores in the first quarter of 2008.