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Resurrecting a Dinosaur

The boy who wants to save Turok.

When Disney binned a sequel to 2008 game Turok and closed developer Propaganda Games, did you really care? When Disney turned off the Turok multiplayer servers, did you really care?

The Turok Multiplayer Revival Campaign on Facebook did.

"I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one," began an email sent to Eurogamer from Bryan Shuler, a member of the TMRC, in April this year. "Turok was unlike most games. It helped build strong friendships with people all over the world of all ages.

"Unlike most co-op games, it was not just going killing everyone you saw, not caring about your team members. It built character, respect, and yes, honour among its co-op players. The teams shared, and had to work together to achieve common goals," Shuler declared, "while evading dinosaurs."

"I am a 53-year-old gamer with drawers full of video games. I was always pulled back to Turok. Turok was a brotherhood game, not just a first-person shooter game."

The Turok Multiplayer Revival Campaign needed between 1,000 and 10,000 supporters before Disney would apparently switch the multiplayer servers back on. The Turok Multiplayer Revival Campaign only managed 408 Likes on Facebook, its HQ.

But disappointment unexpectedly vanished when, in July 2011, the Xbox 360 Turok multiplayer servers were mysteriously turned back on.

"I coordinated the whole thing," Luis Walters, the 15-year-old founder of the Turok Multiplayer Revival Campaign, told Eurogamer. "I got people to write letters [to Microsoft]. I didn't send one personally, but I told them to send links to them raising awareness."

Walters learned that the Xbox 360 servers had been turned back on via a campaigner. "I had a guy come on saying, 'Guys, Turok's on!'" he recalled. "But the PS3: nothing happened. It's still deserted; there's nothing. I checked the other day and they've done nothing about it. We've written on the Sony discussion forums, trying to get people to read about it, but people have gone 'pah'.

"But the servers are pretty desolate," he admitted. "There's not many people. There's at least 100 weekly players, which I'm surprised [about]. And we try and organise games."

Walters hasn't ever spoken to Microsoft about the return of the Turok servers, and laughed when we asked if he'd talked to Disney.

"They don't even associate themselves with Turok any more, which is wrong."

Luis Walters, leader of the Turok MP Revival Campaign

"Ooh ooh ooh no way, heh heh, they'd never reply anything about that. I suggest they probably put them in their delete box. They never reply to any of us," said Walters.

"We're writing on Disney Interactive Studios' [forum] and we're writing about what happened to Turok? What's happening with Turok multiplayer?

"Deleted," he said. "They've deleted them - they've deleted evidence of Turok. They don't even associate themselves with Turok any more, which is wrong."

Partial success, then. But Walters' journey was only just beginning. He felt bad that PS3 owners had no way to enjoy the game he so passionately enjoyed. So, bizarrely, bravely, this 15-year-old boy vowed to make those people a new a game in the style of Turok.

In May 2011, Dark Territory Studios was born. An email sent to Eurogamer boasted of 30 people working on the project, over 100 applicants, hopeful support from decorated actor Robin Atkin Downes, talks with Vin Diesel's agent, a completed soundtrack and with production well under way.

But the prospect of a triple-A, multi-platform game like Turok is just a dream. Dark Territory: Hunter's Isle has absolutely no budget. Walters is 15-years-old boy, he's at school. "There is no money - it's absolutely free," Walters explained. "We work on voluntary contributions." Everyone works part-time. There is no core, full-time team.

Nevertheless, Walters revealed that he gets "two to three applications a day". "I've had to turn people down," he said. "These are the circumstances: I get people apply, I don't think their work's up to it, or they want to be paid and I can't offer pay - and I explain to them the situation and some agree, some disagree.

"It's a win-win situation," he believes. "I get some work that contributes to the game, and they have some work that adds to their portfolio."

Dark Territory: Hunter's Isle won't even be a PS3 game - not "straight away" - despite the project's initial raison d'etre. "I didn't know how hard it would be," Walters admitted. Instead he'll aim for Xbox Live Indie Games, which sounds pleasantly grounded for Luis Walters. "We put it on Xbox Live Indie Games and see how that is," he said. "If we get investors and it goes successfully we'll have it on Xbox Live Arcade and release it all on disc and stuff."

Dark Territory: Hunter's Isle won't even be a multiplayer game - despite the project's raison d'etre. Walters explained that "of course you have to pay for servers" for multiplayer games. And, once more, the project has no money. So, Walters told us, "We've decided that we're going to do a single-player [game]."