Far Cry Primal. Horizon Zero Dawn. Robinson The Journey… Dinosaurs Rule 2016.

Question: With Far Cry Primal, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Robinson The Journey all coming out, dinosaurs wil lrule 2016. So here’s a question. Which dinosaur would you must like to be eaten by? Leave your answer below. 

2016 is inbound. In 51 days we’ll be singing Auld Lang Syne and ringing in the new year. 2016. It’s the future. There’ll be VR, augmented reality, and other futuristic gadgetry. But the gaming industry’s set to do things a little differently in 2016. Instead of going forward, gaming’s going back. Way back. Back to the times of dinosaurs, back to when T Rex’s roamed the land, when humans hid in caves terrified of being discovered and munched to pieces by a predator. That’s right, 2016 is the year of the dinosaur in gaming.

Of all the games coming out in 2016, many of the best have a prehistoric themes and star colossal dinosaurs and / or beasts: Horizon Zero Dawn (release dateTBA 2016), Far Cry Primal (release date Feb 23 2016) Wild (release date TBC), and the Robinson: The Journey (release date 2017). Four of the biggest games of 2016/ 17, and they’re all games starring dinosaurs and / or beasts.

Let’s take a look.

 

 

 

Horizon Zero Dawn [PS4] was announced way back at E3, when we fans ooohed and ahhhed at the first gameplay footage.

So far Guerrilla Games are keeping much of Horizon: Zero Dawn under wraps, but we do know that Horizon Zero Dawn’s story will be rich and will focus on the world revolving around Aloy.

In speaking to DualShockers, Senior Producer Mark Norris stated,  “Horizon Zero’s Dawn’s story is incredibly rich… open world games ordinarily fall in one of two camps. There’re either really strong narrative-driven, character-driven open world games like The Witcher 3 or an Assassin’s Creed… And on the other side of the spectrum there are games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim, where the story is really the story of the world, and it’s less the story of this main character.”

Character-driven story. World-driven story. Horizon Zero Dawn is both.

Horizon Zero Dawn tells a deep story about protagonist Aloy, and of the tribes and the machines that exist around her. And to balance this out, there’s also the story of the game’s world and the machines. Guerrilla Games promise that Horizon Zero Dawn will feature story that  is both incredibly deep and also accessible and easy to get into.

But what about those dinosaurs?

Horizon Zero Dawn is more fantasy-based than Robinson: The Journey, Wild, and Far Cry Primal. It features some of most fantastical-looking dinosaurs in gaming.

At Paris Games Show we got to see 8 minutes of gamelpay footage from Horizon Zero Dawn in the extended 8-minute long Horizon Zero Dawn trailer. 


The Horizon Zero Dawn trailer looks great. What do you think? Leave a comment below. 


As Aloy, we sneak through the undergrowth towards a heard of what look like robotic stegosaurus innocently chomping on foliage. Behind them a parade of colossal titanosaurs-like creatures stomp by like skyscrapers brought to life. We stealthily approach a stegosaurus, unsheathe our knife and slash it down into the creature’s throat before compassionately whispering “Sorry, little one,” to the dying beast.

Many people are reading a lot into that one line, and suggesting that Horizon Zero Dawn’s story will be about living in harmony with nature. Who knows? What we do know for definite is the reason why Aloy has to kill dinosaurs.

Aloy kills dinosaurs in order to extract the precious resource contained in a canister on the dinosaurs’ backs. This is one of the most precious resources in a world in which mankind is struggling to survive.

As far as video game dinosaurs go, Horizon Zero Dawn’s dinosaurs are intelligent, knowing how to attack in packs but also how to avoid traps.

 

Part of the challenge in Horizon Zero Dawn is to lure the dinosaurs into the traps in order to safely execute them.

Horizon Zero Dawn’s dinosaurs pack a punch too. In one section we saw Aloy assailing a herd of Grazers. They’re not the largest of beasts, but a simple headbutt is enough to send Aloy flying. Then there’s the monstrosity that is the Thunderjaw, a monster 23 metres long with 93 destructive armour plates. Taking down one of these beasts will require you to hit the weak points on the Thunderjaw’s armour with grenade arrows. Guerrilla Games are promising an awe inspiring fight that they claim will be one of the most memorable of all in-game dinosaur battles.

Horizon Zero Dawn is looking like a fantastic Man Vs Beast (or Man VS Dinosaur) game. But it’s got a lot of competition.

 

Also at Paris Games Show we got to feast our eyes on Wild Sheep’s Wild [PS4].

The wild trailer shows illustrates Wild Sheep Studio’s committment to realism. 

Famed game director Michael Ancel presented some wondrously appetising  gameplay footage of Wild, which is due out on PS4 in 2016.

“Wild” really is the name of the game as everything in Wild speaks about wilderness and nature.

Wild is all about getting in touch with nature. It stars a shaman protagonist who is capable of possessing the spirit of wild animals.

Meditating on the ground you take control of an eagle and fly high above the green fields. At other times you ride on the back of a bear, or control a cute little bunny to distract a rabble of enemies. But if you don’t manage to befriend these animals, they’ll attack you and feast upon your tasty man-flesh. Well, maybe not the bunny… unless this is Monty Python And The Holy Grail and there’s a little white bunny that’s going to kill everyone. But I digress…

What’s most inspiring about Wild Sheep Studio’s upcoming PS4 game is the passion that Ancel shows for the project. It’s evident that he truly believes in the beauty of the nature theme. Every moment of Wild is steeped in a rich sense of adventure and escapism.

Unlike Robinson The Journey, Far Cry Primal, and Horizon Zero Dawn, Wild is all about realism and real-world accuracy, from the open world to the Shaman character. Everything about Wild is designed to create a natural feeling.

The Shaman character immediately conjures primordial feelings. The ability to possess different animals and to actually play as realistic bunnies, eagles and other creatures will thrill anyone who loves nature documentaries. And the fact that Wild Sheep Studio actually went as far as to use real animal bones to create their models says a lot about the production values of the this relatively small-scale developer.

Obviously Ubisoft noticed that dinosaurs and beasts are all the rage right now. Why else would they have decided to turn Far Cry into a prehistoric monster hunter game in Far Cry Primal?

Fary Cry Primal (PS4, XBox One, and PC) shocked the gaming world when it was announced. It was a bizarre decision from Ubisoft, but also a welcome one.

Far Cry Primal’s trailer shows how naturally Far Cry fits into the prehistoric theme.

Far Cry Primal is certainly not the first game to start of in the modern age and swiftly carry you back through time like a DeLorian at 88MPH. Assassin’s Creed did it too. It worked for Ubisoft in Assassin’s Creed. And I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it’s going to work for them in Far Cry Primal too.

Kiss goodbye to the Elephant Gun you had in Far Cry 4. Now you’re in 10,000BC. Your only weapon is a pointy twig to jab at dinosaurs with. Obviously this means it can’t technically be a First Person Shooter, but more of a First Person Prodding-With-Pointy-Stick game. But that sounds like a blast anyway.

Takkar is the protagonist of Far Cry Primal. Takkar finds himself as the last survivor of his group in the land of Oros. Takkar will meet other characters, but a lot of them will want to kill him rather than help him out. And if Takkar manages to survive the humans then there’s still the minor issue of the giant wolly mammoths and the sabre tooth tigers to take care of.

Thankfully, being a Far Cry game, Far Cry Primal gives you more than enough brawn and weeapons to fight any enemies.

Takkar has some decent fighting skills at his disposal. He can craft tools to make weapons and is (obviously) a pretty solid fighter. Still, I for one can’t wait to see Takkar’s head firmly slotted into the mouth of a T-Rex.

Some gamers are worried that Far Cry Primal wont feel like a Far Cry game because of the new theme and setting. But if you ask me, Far Cry Primal is looking like one of the best in the series.

The obvious difference between Far Cry Primal, Horizon Zero Dawn and Wild is the level of realism they offer. Wild is undoubtedly the most realistic experience and aims to perfectly recreate the essence of surviving in nature. Far Cry Primal is a combination of realism plus fantasy, the realistic dinosaurs and creatures making counterpoint for what will (presumably) be over-the-top action. And finally Horizon Zero Dawn creates a fantasy world that is based on the prehistoric era.

None of those three games, however, can possibly be as realistic as what Crytek are offering up with their recently announced Robinson: The Journey, a realistic prehistoric-themed VR game—well, prehistoric with robots, that is.

Robinson: The Journey will be one of the first games for Playstation VR. This trailer for Robinson The Journey is brief, but enough to whet your appetite. 

Crytek have always been famous for their innovation, having created one of the best game engines ever, so it’s no surprise to find that they’re among the first developers to get cracking on a Playstation VR game in Robinson The Journey.

Robinson: The Journey casts you as a young boy who’s crashed landed on a planet full of dinosaurs.  Next to nothing is actually known about Robinson The Journey yet (though follow me on Facebook and Twitter as I will soon be interviewing Crytek regarding Robinson: The Journey).

But despite knowing nothing it’s quite easy to be excited by Robinson: The Journey. Playstation VR + Dinosaurs. If you’re anything like me that’s a combination that will have you squealing with glee like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert. Hopefully this game ends up being as good as I imagine it being in my head.

 

So there you have it. Dinosaurs. And wild animals. They’re going to munch your head off in 2016. And even though decapitation via T-Rex teeth is painful, I for one am pretty damn excited. What about you? Are you most excited about Far Cry Primal, Robinson The Journey, Horizon Zero Dawn, or Wild? Leave a comment below.

 

 

 

About Paul Harrison 287 Articles
Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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