Man Versus Dinosaur
Lukewarm Media is following up last year's multiplayer-only action game Primal Carnage with a single-player, episodic prequel that reveals how the series' doomed island ended up in the claws of reptilian inhabitants.
In addition to being single-player only, Primal Carnage: Genesis will introduce a wider variety of gameplay experiences, including stealth, exploration, and puzzle-solving sequences. Each episode will introduce new environments and dinosaurs, as well as new features.
So far Lukewarm Media has only released a few teaser trailers and screenshots of the game, but the positive reception of Primal Carnage and our own unabashed love of Jurassic Park have us eager to see more of the project.
In the meantime, we spoke with Lukewarm Media founder Ashton Andersen to find out how the small indie studio is achieving such impressive visuals, what games and movies the team is inspired by, and how they plan to use the PlayStation 4's unique hardware features.
Can you give our readers some background information on the game?
Primal Carnage: Genesis could be described as a survival-FPS, with a mix of action and suspense. While there will be many scenarios through the course of the episodic series where the player will have to shoot down hordes of dinosaurs, 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.
You also describe the game as being story-driven. Can you tell us a little more about the premise of the game? Who does the player play as?
Effectively, Primal Carnage: Genesis serves as a prequel to the multiplayer game Lukewarm Media released last October, and the story of how dinosaurs were brought to life on the island and how they broke free. The episodic series will begin with the player being brought to the island, as a staff member, before the chaos has begun and will immerse them into these events as they are happening. They won't have a specific identity, nor will they enter the game with a specific understanding of their objectives. Rather than "telling" the story to the player through long cinematics, the player will have to pay attention to changes they see in the environment, such as a destroyed electric fence that previously stood between them and a raptor. Instead of clear expository dialogue with NPC humans that direct them through the story, short NPC interactions may offer them some useful information, but much will be left to the player to figure out. So in short, both the story and the player's objective will unfold through the course of the episodic series.
Obviously there's going to be a T-Rex in the game. What other creatures can dinosaur fans expect? Are you going for a realistic depiction of dinosaurs, or more of a summer blockbuster tone?
The T-rex will definitely make a dramatic entrance into the game and an epic boss battle can definitely be expected. With each episode we plan to introduce an increasing amount of dinosaurs, which the player will encounter in new areas (swamps, valleys, jungles etc.) that they explore in new episodes. Players can expect to see raptors, triceratops, and other dinosaurs traditionally seen, as well as non-traditional dinosaurs like the Kaprosuchus.
Primal Carnage: Genesis is going to be episodic. Why did you choose that format? What advantage does it provide for you over releasing a full game at once?
There are a lot of advantages to the episodic model. It allows the story to be broken up into pieces and for each piece to end with satisfying cliffhanger events. With every episode we plan to introduce 2-3 major new features that define that each episode, which will make the series feel very dynamic with respect to gameplay. Players won't just feel like they're buying a piece of an unfinished game.
Additionally, 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. We hope this will encourage more players to experience the game for the first time and those consumers who continue on through the series are more likely to be dedicated players. We also plan to take player feedback into account as we develop subsequent episodes. The model gives us the flexibility to make certain changes, such as a mechanic players want to see more or less of, or if there's a dinosaur that the fan base is really clamoring for.
Tell us a bit about how you got involved with Sony. Who approached who? When did you start working on development for the PS4?
Our initial involvement with Sony began with discussion about bringing the initial Primal Carnage multiplayer to PS3. Ultimately with news [of] the PS4, we felt the timing was wrong and that we would be better off trying to get onto the next-gen console. We worked hard to create the UE4 T-Rex laboratory trailer to demonstrate the direction that we hoped to take the Primal Carnage brand in, and we approached Sony about the DICE Convention in Las Vegas (where we are based). From the amount of support we have received since that presentation, getting approval to be a Sony developer and the tools to start developing, we know that Sony is excited about bringing Primal Carnage: Genesis to the PS4.
Have you considered bringing Primal Carnage: Genesis to other current-gen or next-gen consoles? If so, what made you choose the PS4?
We're still soaking in the fact that we have the opportunity to build a game for one next-gen console, using a next-gen engine (UE4) and at this point our priority is making sure we deliver a product worthy of these opportunities. Sony's hardware advances with the PS4 and their clear commitment to work closer with indie teams were both major factors in our decision to pursue development on the PS4 and our confidence that we'll be able to deliver an amazing launch title.
Will Primal Carnage: Genesis use any of the PS4's unique hardware features or functionality?
The PS4 has a lot of hardware [that allows developers] to think outside the box and develop gameplay that would have been impossible on older consoles. 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.
What's it been like working with Sony? Have you collaborated with any of their first-party developers? What kind of support have they provided?
It's been great working with Sony. It's the first time we've had a chance to work with a first-party developer and it feels incredibly validating as an indie team to get the opportunity to do so.
The PS4 provides a lot of built-in social and streaming functionalities. Are you planning to use these capabilities in interesting ways?
We'd love for players to be able to capture video clips of the terrifying encounters they have and share them immediately over social feeds. We're going to try to put as much [effort] as we can to support many of the new PS4 features for the first episode. But as we're just starting to work with the PS4, some of the new features may not be seen until later episodes in the series.
Primal Carnage: Genesis has some very impressive visuals. How big is your team? How do you achieve such high graphic quality as an indie developer?
Thinking machine super computers and gene sequencers! Just kidding. First, we have a passionate team of about 20 developer/dinosaur-enthusiasts, dedicated to making the next-gen single-player dinosaur game that gamers have been waiting for. Though our team is lean, the next-gen software that we have access to (Unreal Engine 4, Enlightened, Bink 2, Simplygon) definitely helps in achieving high-quality graphics. And our hardware sponsors (EVGA, Nvidia, Logitech) have helped provide the team with the equipment it will take to get the job done.
What games and media has your team been inspired by? Is it safe to say that Jurassic Park fans will enjoy the game?
Primal Carnage: Genesis has been inspired by a range of games including Amnesia (atmosphere and suspense), Dear Escher (visual storytelling, immersive experience, and attention to detail), Far Cry 3 (sandbox style of exploration and action), and Jurassic Park: Trespasser (a great dinosaur title, ahead of its time). Jurassic Park fans and anyone that likes these elements of the above games will definitely enjoy PC: Genesis.
Is there anything else gamers should know about Primal Carnage: Genesis?
"Hold on to your butts" X2!!!