It's unlikely that before the announcement of Primal Carnage: Genesis for the PlayStation 4 at GDC 2013, PlayStation fans had any idea what this series was. For that matter, it's unlikely that many gamers period have heard of the series, as the only entry in the series has been on the PC and even then it was a small, independent release. Not to be confused with the 90s era fighting game Primal Rage, which many users do due to the fact both games feature dinosaurs and have extremely similar names, Primal Carnage focuses on dinosaurs returning to modern times and the humans that look to return them to extinction. Even though the PS4 game will be significantly different from the PC release, let's take a brief look at the PC game as it may shed some light on where the developer, Lukewarm Media, is going with the sequel in terms of story, concept and direction.
Released on the PC on October 29th, 2012 and available on digital distribution platforms such as Steam, Primal Carnage is an online team-based multiplayer shooter with a twist: instead of each game being man vs. man, each game is man vs. dinosaurs. Similar to games like Alien Vs. Predator, Primal Carnage lets you play as both man and beast with two distinct playstyles for each team. As the humans, you will choose from five different character classes, each with their own unique weapons and playstyles, in a playstyle reminiscent of nearly every first-person shooter released in the last few years. On the other hand, as a member of the dinosaur team you will choose from five different dinosaurs, ranging from the agile Raptor to the massive T-Rex, as you claw, rip and chomp all humans in your path in what is a unique gameplay experience. The man vs. dinosaur gameplay sets the game apart and with multiple game modes, Primal Carnage is a decent entry in the crowded multiplayer first person shooter arena.
Premise Behind Primal Carnage: Genesis
It may be because team-based multiplayer first person shooters are so abundant, making it hard for any new IP to stand out, that Lukewarm Media are looking to slightly change the franchise's genre with Primal Carnage: Genesis, announced as one of the first downloadable titles on the PlayStation 4. Primal Carnage: Genesis is still a first-person shooter, but the game is now an episodic single player tale featuring both open world and linear elements: in short, it's Far Cry 3 with dinosaurs instead of wildlife. The game's story will serve as a prequel to the multiplayer shooter.
Primal Carnage: Genesis is being built on the Unreal Engine 4, enabling Lukewarm Media to bring the game's detail to life with incredible accuracy, including those elements that aren't quite rooted in real-life such as the dinosaurs. By limiting the game to a single player game, Lukewarm Media can extend the scope beyond the iconic Raptor and T-Rex dinosaurs to provide much more than the five prehistoric beasts of the PC game; don't worry though, the classic dinosaurs will still be present, waiting to rip you to pieces. Ashton Andersen, the Game Director of Lukewarm Media, claims that the mixture of the Unreal Engine 4 and PlayStation 4 hardware is what will enable the company to bring this island and its denizens to life, creating such lifelike dinosaurs that gamers will have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality.
While many gamers who played Telltale's games, such as Walking Dead or Jurassic Park, on the PS3 are used to episodic gaming, if you're not used to the concept here it is in a nutshell: the game is released in multiple parts, called episodes, over time that will eventually make up an entire game. Think of your favorite television show: each week you tune in to watch 30 or 60 minutes of the current story arc and, when the season is complete, you have the complete story. Hopefully this approach takes off for them, as episodic gaming is a double-edged sword: some companies like Telltale always finish their "season," giving gamers a resolution to the story, while other companies, such as Valve, are still making customers wait for the resolution of the Half Life series with Half Life 2: Episode 3, many years later. In the worst case scenario, some companies, such as Ritual Entertainment and the SiN franchise, produce one episode of the story and then never go on to finish the game, leaving gamers hanging.
Ashton Andersen doesn't anticipate those problems and, in a post on the official PlayStation Blog, he speaks about why he feels episodic gaming is the right choice for Primal Carnage: Genesis:
"In the early stages of development, it became clear that we wanted Primal Carnage: Genesis to champion an immersive story driven experience. How do we tell that story? We looked into several different storytelling methods and happened upon the episodic approach. It was a difficult decision for us, given the relative newness of episodic storytelling.
Ultimately, the episodic method ended up being the clear victor due to the versatile nature of creating a story episode by episode. It allows us a lot of wiggle room, because one unique advantage of the episodic model is the ability for player feedback from the first episode to affect the development of the following episodes. Do players want to see more of a certain mechanic? Maybe people didn’t like playing a certain segment of the game, thus steering our focus elsewhere."
Game Informer Interviews Ashton Andersen, New Details Revealed
While Primal Carnage: Genesis did not make an appearance at E3 2013, Game Informer had the chance to sit down with Lukewarm Media founder Ashton Andersen during the previous month. Below is what we at PS4 Experts believe to be the juiciest parts of the interview that shed some light on the direction the game is taking. Included below is additional information about Primal Carnage: Genesis' gameplay, episodic nature and even potential PlayStation 4 specific features the team at Lukewarm Media is hoping to include!
- Andersen discusses some of the dinosaurs players will encounter in addition to the T-Rex: "Players can expect to see raptors, triceratops, and other dinosaurs traditionally seen, as well as non-traditional dinosaurs like the Kaprosuchus."
- Furthermore, he explains how this game will be fundamentally different than other first-person shooters: " this will not be a "run and gun" game where ammo and weapons abound anywhere you look. Stealth and puzzle solving will be required to get past many scenarios where an arsenal of weapons will either be unavailable or ineffective."
- Andersen explains more about why the episodic nature of the game is in the best interest of the players: "...by going episodic, we're able to reduce the cost that consumers have pay at any one time and the risk of them regretting paying $60 for a game they got bored with or didn't get around to finishing."
- Finally, Andersen discusses how his team is planning on using the DualShock 4's touchpad to its advantage: "For example, we're interested in using the PS4 controller's touchpad to develop a mechanic where the player would hack a security panel through a mini-game sequence using the touchpad."
Will Primal Carnage: Genesis succeed in its approach? It's too early to tell with the few details we have, but judging by the trailer and screenshot the game is shaping up nicely. Primal Carnage: Genesis is definitely one PS4 game to keep an eye on and will be available at the launch of the PlayStation 4. The team at PS4 Experts will keep you up to date with any news on the game as it comes out, so refresh this page often!
Game Category: Indie
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 3/28/2013