With Jurassic World set to hit cinemas next year, it seems that dinosaurs are about to come back in a big way — and Just Cause developers Avalanche Studios are banking on that wave of popularity hitting video games with their new dino hunting sim theHunter: Primal. First announced back in November, the game has now hit Steam Early Access ahead of a full release set for 2015.
Co-developed by Avalanche and Expansive Worlds, Primal builds on the solid foundation of theHunter, a popular free-to-play hunting title that has been quite popular since its release in 2009. However, while that game simply tasked players with taking down standard wildlife like rabbits and deer, Primal will see players pursuing prehistoric beasts that might not be so easily taken down.
The fact that dinosaurs pose a larger threat than the majority of the fauna found in the original theHunter suggests that Primal will have a greater emphasis on action than its more grounded cousin. Tracking a Tyrannosaurus Rex might just give you more reason to stay on your toes than a Cottontail Rabbit.
It seems wise to differentiate Primal from its predecessor in this way; this isn't a sequel, but a different twist on a similar set of gameplay mechanics. Perhaps most importantly for the consumer, it's a standalone release rather than a free-to-play game supported by subscription fees and in-game currency like theHunter.
Whereas theHunter aims for a sedate, realistic hunting experience that can eat up hours and hours of player's time as they pursue an animal, expect Primal to offer up a more immediately gratifying experience. It's a move that might irk some theHunter purists, but it's understood that both prongs of the series are going to be supported going forwards.
It's certainly a very busy time for Avalanche Studios, who are set to release Just Cause 3 and a Mad Max game in 2015 alongside their work on theHunter with Expansive Worlds. However, given that the developer has more than 200 employees at its disposal and hasn't released a game since Renegade Ops in 2011, it doesn't seem as if any of their projects are being rushed out of the door.
The combination of dinosaurs and FPS action certainly seems to be popular at the moment, and if Primal can offer a more accessible take on the gameplay of theHunter, it's liable to be a big hit in 2015. Game Rant will keep you updated as development on the game continues. Are you paying attention, DICE?
theHunter: Primal is available on PC now via Steam Early Access, and is set for a full release in March 2015.