|Dramatis dinosaurae: Tyrannosaurus rex, Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis,|
Dakotaraptor steini, and Triceratops prorsus, from left to right. These are four
of the playable animal species in Saurian, with two more yet to be revealed.
[image from Saurian's blog]
Described as 'an open world dinosaur survival experience,' Saurian is set at the very end of the Cretaceous Period, 66 million years ago, in an environment preserved in the rock record as the Hell Creek Formation, found in present-day Montana and the Dakotas. This warm, wet ecosystem was home to a wide array of animals, including some of the most famous of all dinosaurs - Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. In Saurian, players can control six prehistoric species, including these two dinosaur celebrities, and play through their lives from babies on up to old adults, if they are lucky enough to avoid predators, competitors, starvation, and natural disasters in their dynamic environment, that is!
This is the first crucial point that makes Saurian special - it isn't just a dinosaur fighting game. It'd be easy to make a game set in the domain of T. rex and Triceratops and simply turn it in to a constant bloodbath of giant monsters, clashing with claw and horn and tooth. But dinosaurs weren't monsters, a fact that is often forgotten in popular media. Certainly, dinosaurs must've have clashed with each other occasionally, and certainly some of these clashes would have been spectacular, and spectacularly violent. However, the point remains that dinosaurs weren't insatiable monsters always on the lookout for the next blood frenzy, but instead would have usually done whatever would be sensible to ensure their continued survival. In Saurian, as in the real lives of wild animals, it may often be more prudent to avoid a fight than to go looking for one.
Since the animals of Saurian are interacting with their environment so deeply as a critical part of their everyday lives, the developers have poured a huge amount of attention into creating the world of Hell Creek, right down to the little ground-covering flora. That's my second big point about Saurian's specialness: it's just so darn well-researched. I would feel pretty confident saying it is probably the most realistic and scientifically-rigourous work of dinosaur popular media, ever. Not only are the animals and plants beautifully created, their creators aren't shy about showing that they've done their homework to ensure the game is as up-to-date as it can be.
|Sexy Rexy, showing not only that feathered dinosaurs are most emphatically|
not lame but also that, boy howdy, the team behind Saurian are really
working hard to make this game as realistic as possible.
[image from Saurian's website, click here for its full-size glory]
Clearly, for the game to have so far surpassed its original target amount, people must be very enthusiastic for it. I don't think anyone expected it to be such a runaway success. This is what is most important about the game: it shows that people can and do care about accurate, science-based palaeo-themed entertainment. I've often been told that popular media doesn't depict dinosaurs accurately because nobody cares about that. Dinosaurs are just 'real life' monsters in the world of entertainment, but by treating dinosaurs as bloodthirsty murder lizards from the dawn of time, the 'real life' element is lost. Even though Saurian hasn't even been unleashed on the public yet, it has already attained quite a degree of success, which shows that, in fact, there is room for dinosaur entertainment that features, you know, ACTUAL DINOSAURS.
I'm looking at you, Jurassic Park's terrible, terrible sequels.
|Not pictured: scientific accuracy.|
[hideous image from Jurassic Park wiki]
And if the game is half as fun as it looks, well, what could go wrong?
|The game's model of the Lancian duckbill. Why am I ending on this image,|
and why am I being so vague with the name of one of the very best-known
of all nonavian dinosaurs? Stay tuned, that's coming up real soon...
[image from Saurian's blog]
Saurian is due out January 2017. For more about the game, check out its site here!
Up next... I'm taking a trip to a museum! So next on Noah's Ravens: either museum photos, or what to call the duckiest duckbill.
Until then, Raven Lunatics.