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Instinction Interview: Devs Talk New Zealand, 8K/120FPS, Inspirations and Zombie Dinosaurs

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By Sam Woods

June 14, 2021

There’s one thing that we don’t get to see enough of in video games these days, and that’s dinosaurs.

Since the golden era of the late 90s/early 2000s which saw the rise of both the Turok and Dino Crisis franchises, dinosaur games have been at a premium. Thankfully, after being teased earlier this year, then revealed at E3 2021, New Zealand-based developers Hashbane are looking to change that with a new title, Instinction.

Following its exciting showing at The Future Game Show, I got to chat with Jade Saunders (Hashbane co-founder) and Richard Gold (Lead developer) to ask a few questions.

Instinction – Announcement Trailer “The Anticipation”

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Instinction – Announcement Trailer “The Anticipation”
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Clearly the game draws inspiration from Dino Crisis, but what other games have helped to shape Instinction? 

Rich – “The game started out as a passion project and is very much inspired by dinosaur games as a whole, this includes Dino Crisis, Trespasser and Turok, but it’s not limited to the dinosaur genre, collectively we love adventure, horror and combat games. Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted, Alien: Isolation are great examples of games we all enjoy playing, this is in no way a comprehensive list. At the end of the day, we are making a game we want to play.”

How does it expand and build on the Dino Crisis formula? 

Jade – “We deeply respect Dino Crisis for what it is, an absolute cult classic, the name Regina brings a smile to many Dino Crisis gamers faces. For example. the original game mostly had set camera positions and at times a dynamic camera, and as with all games as time passes certain elements need updated implementation, we aren’t reinventing anything, just bringing a dinosaur-themed game into the modern era. There will be clues throughout that set the mood, you’ll get an idea of what occurred in that area and what to look out for, Dino Crisis did a great job of this, for instance, a severed body on the floor.”

“There are many key elements that are unique to Instinction, and we’ll continue to point out that we do not wish to replace Dino Crisis. Instinction will fill a gap, scratch an itch that many have wanted for a while like we do, and with so many avid dinosaur lovers there’s a place for many dinosaur-themed games, the industry needs more and fortunately, there are other large and small studios following this path too, exciting times!”

You plan to take advantage of some really advanced features – 8K, 120FPS, Ray-Tracing etc. Does this mean there’s a plan to support Instinction for a long time post-launch?

Rich – “Right, this has been a hotly contested topic for a while! 8k @ 120fps is near impossible for most systems, natively that is a tall order, however, there are tricks to achieve this in some special instances, I’ll touch more on that in a bit. Not all environments need Raytracing to look incredible either, but Instinction will support forward compatibility to achieve 8k @ 120fps and of course Raytracing. Will all platforms and systems be able to support this? Of course not, but let’s remember modern games were impossible just a short while ago, providing the capability to support features like this is important to us.”

“Back to the first point, DLSS is magic, using AI for supersampling and anti-aliasing to upscale imagery means a game running at 4k can nearly look perfect at 8k on the appropriate monitor, the fact that this is already possible means you can already experience that without all the correct hardware. Another thing to point out is that playing a shooter game for instance, on an huge 8k monitor would be mental, you’d probably be in a neck brace after a few minutes, to have a comfortable experience you’d need to step some distance back away from the screen, at that stage you may as well use a smaller monitor and you won’t even notice the difference.”

“At the end of the day for us making this game fun to play for the community and a success, we will only move ahead with something that makes the most sense for Instinction as a whole, this includes prolonged support.”

“Competitive shooter gamers need high refresh rates, most games look great at just 30-60fps. So to finish off I’d say it’s about managing expectations and diminishing returns, will you really need to play the game at on its max settings just because the game allows for it, even now not everyone has the same gameplay experience depending on their hardware and while we are including forward compatibility for this, it might not be ideal for everyone, we just like to have and provide options! A great video on the topic for those interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQD98_HFT68

Jade – “We are not beholden to anyone but ourselves, and it is our intention to complete this game in a timely manner, but there is no way we will release a game before it is entirely stable, there will be an early slice of the game available to a select group to iron out any bugs before launch, and it’s important to keep tabs on Instinction well after release.”

“At the end of the day for us making this game fun to play for the community and a success, we will only move ahead with something that makes the most sense for Instinction as a whole, this includes prolonged support.”

You mentioned that the game is designed to feel different on each playthrough, what details can you give regarding the different modes and features that will make things stay fresh?

Rich – “There is full customisation for the characters, weapons, HUD and even the dinosaur skins, there are side quests and not all of them need completing, so arguably you could play some of them next time.” 

While there’s a co-op element, is there going to be any PVP modes?

Rich – “This does perhaps follow on from the previous question, you could choose to complete the game in single-player or co-op, in first-person perspective and then play it again in third person, or swap between them in-game. We have a zombie mode, dinosaur zombies that is, and it’s also co-op, it’s just a bonus bundled in to test the waters a bit.”

We have a zombie mode, dinosaur zombies that is…

On the Instinction YouTube channel, you often upload small glimpses of the game. The latest video showcases weapon skins. Does this mean there will be in-game purchases, a battle pass or something similar?

Jade – “We do not intend to sell our soul trying to make a title with unnecessary purchases, we obviously want the game to be very successful and we strongly believe the game will be something many people can love and adore, that’s our wholehearted intention. The skins and weapon customisation is all included in the game at launch, we may add updates with new content, one this is certain is once we reach a certain audience number we will begin working on an expansion of the game that will include new content, so you can expect new maps, skins, missions, characters and dinosaurs.”

“We’ve been approached by a number of publishers that would be able to assist in distribution, marketing, funding and publishing, but would also be able to assist with console conversions. We’re talking to some large ones and some smaller ones too and ultimately for us it’s about the right fit where we remain the creative decision-makers for this game and where we utilise the community feedback into the game, this is important to us and is why we occasional post video snippets and let the community talk to us.”

once we reach a certain audience number we will begin working on an expansion of the game that will include new content, so you can expect new maps, skins, missions, characters and dinosaurs.

Being based in New Zealand, how, if at all, has COVID impacted your studio and the development of Instinction?

“We’ve been so fortunate here, I guess it helps that we are in the middle of nowhere. For a very short period, we also experienced lockdown at varying degrees, fortunately, we already had experience working with remote staff, so the adjustment wasn’t major when we had no other choice. To paint you a picture, I haven’t seen an N95 mask in months, there are occasional scares, but for the most part, we go weeks without any community cases.”

“Ultimately C19 has hurt many lives in many different ways, when I say we’ve been fortunate, believe me, it’s not a flex! Simply put, we’ve had at most a month of disruption this whole time and even then we were able to continue working.”

Be sure to stay tuned to DualShockers for more Instinction coverage.

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Sam Woods
@CaptainWoodsy

Sam is the Managing Editor at DualShockers. He's been playing video games for as long as he can remember and you can regularly find him on his Nintendo Switch. When he's not playing games, he'll no doubt be suffering watching his beloved Ipswich Town.

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