Doyathinkhesaurus? 1916 = Trenches’n'Dinos

By Alec Meer on January 30th, 2012 at 12:09 pm.

THE REAL MONSTER IS MAN, etc

Here’s a clever wee indie FPS we somehow missed last year, but now it comes accompanied with the news that a full-blown remake is on the way. I’m going to say a few words to you. Let’s see how you feel about them.

World War 1. Dinosaurs.

Which, admittedly, makes 1916 – Der Unbekannte Krieg (‘The War You Never Knew’) sound like a bit a of lark, as opposed to the gruelling fear and confusion it really entails. It’s a game that tell itself – albeit within the slightly awkward confines of Unity – better than I perhaps can, but the summary goes like this. You’re a soldier in the trenches of World War 1. Almost everyone else is dead. You are shocked, alone and the trenches seem maze-like and endless. And there appear to be hungry dinosaurs roaming them. Dinosaurs like to eat meat, right. So that means you, or… well, there are quite a lot of your friends’ corpses lying around, aren’t there? The rest, I shall leave to you.

It’s a haunting and bewildering experience, even if it is on the rudimentary side, and that’s why its Danish (former) student team are expanding 1916 into a full game – one which increases the monster’n'survival content as well as the psychological aspect.

An interview on VG247 sets the stage for what’s to come from the new version of 1916. Telltale quote, I think: ““He took a first person avoider game – in which the object was to be killed by dinosaurs and escaping via a ladder – to one lonely, deranged soldier’s quest to find his lost squad, and along the way the horrors of WW1 were seen through his eyes. Airplanes become flying lizards, tanks become giant maggots and so on. The fact that all the monsters are in the soldier’s mind, that is brilliance at work!” Much more here, including piccies of some of the planned foes.

It puts me slightly in mind of the Shellshock: Vietnam games, which isn’t a particularly good thing (especially not the woeful sci-fi of the second game), but the idea that it’s all in the soldier’s mind puts it into far more interesting territory, and even a little in the vein of Amnesia. We won’t know if the concept can stretch to a full game until next year, but I for one am very keen to see Jurassic Park in World War 1 come to pass.

You can play a browser-based or downloadable version of 1916, originally released last March, here.

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19 Comments »

  1. CMaster says:

    Pretty sure I did already see this on RPS, although not sure under what name. It was a nice idea, but I found it rather confusing as to what you should actually be doing. And got eaten by dinos a lot.

  2. abigbat says:

    Fascinating concept. This is why PC gaming is great.

  3. bear912 says:

    It’s a pretty strange little game. It makes devilishly good use of post-processing, though.

  4. MrKay says:

    Being danish I tried the game back at release. The feeling I got while playing it was comparable to Amnesia. Until I got stuck in an attacking dinosaur which somehow made me immortal…

    A more complete game based on the concept could be very interesting to play.

  5. Niocursed says:

    Shameless promotion! (sorry)

    I was a Level Designer for one of the DADIU teams for this autumn production and a new batch of games have very recently been released. They are mostly crazy indie games, as DADIU games usually are.

    They can be browsed here: http://english.dadiu.dk/games/games-from-fall-2011

    I would recommend trying: “Back To Bed” which is by far the best game of the 6, sadly not the one I worked on :P

  6. Shroom says:

    Original post here: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/11/schools-out-dadiu-graduation-games/

    It also has info and opinions about the other DADIU graduation games from that year!

  7. magnus says:

    Hopfully this time with a campaign mode.

  8. wodin says:

    Sounds interesting…I wouldn’t have had dinosaurs though,, think something like Cuthulu and maybe some VictorianEdwardian horrors, something that is either now associated with that period (Lovercraft, Poe) or something that someone from then would have as pure horror to make it feel authentic. Dinosaurs just seem to FPS shooter and more modern day culture icons (jurassic Park).

    Anyone watch the brilliant Birdsong?

    A great adaption from a superb book.

    Oh I also remember seeing some kind of WW1 horror film awhile ago actually. Was quite good.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      I disagree. The “terrible lizards” captured the minds of the “Victorians” way before Spielberg tried to give every Dino geek a bit of street-cred. (Thanks, Steven!) Of course, it might be nice to have the dinosaurs better represent the popular thinkings about them in that era (however inaccurate), rather than ape the Hollywood take (again). Something along the lines of komodo dragons, or crocodiles, perhaps, but bigger and more dinosaurier.

      But, really, it all depends on the execution.
      The original had great atmosphere, so I think that counts for a lot, and if they’re going down the “all in the mind” route, then a little bit of imaginative exaggeration of the nightmarish kind isn’t going to do any harm.

    • Berlot7 says:

      I definitely agree with wodin. Great idea! I love the idea of an unknown monster coming at you like in Amnesia. Everyone can come up with there own idea of terror.

  9. brulleks says:

    The design is excellent: intimidating and claustrophic. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay was too frustrating to attempt again after my first death.

  10. int says:

    I really want to see a game with dinosaurs set in The Second Boer War.

  11. ResonanceCascade says:

    Ah, yeah, I’d forgotten about this game — or just assumed that I’d hallucinated it. I’m glad to see that I really did play it and that it’s getting a (presumably more polished) remake.

  12. Pattom says:

    I’m really enjoying this game, but have yet to finish it. I got gobbled up right after I found the gas mask. Can anyone tell me what the flares and rifle are for? It doesn’t seem like I can hurt the dinosaurs with the rifle, and I’ve no idea if using a flare will just draw attention to me.

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