Anachro-tastic: Orion: Dino Beatdown Savages Steam

By Nathan Grayson on May 5th, 2012 at 10:30 am.

So videogames, pretty much.

Update: This game is apparently horrifically buggy and mired in mud-slinging controversy. Fun! A patch is allegedly on the way for one of those things, but it hasn’t dropped yet. In the meantime, if anyone with (or formerly with) Spiral would like to talk about, well, anything (including favorite colors, sports teams, or breakfast mascots), please get in touch. Just email me via the address in my byline.

Original article: “The game is out April 20th.” We said that about co-op jetpack blaster Orion: Dino Beatdown, and then it didn’t happen. Distraught, I tossed and turned night after night fearing the worst. Before long, I started putting up posters that read “Have you seen/been killed by this T-Rex” around my city and openly bursting into tears anytime I heard the Jurassic Park theme. Two weeks passed. I became almost certain that Dino Beatdown had scampered into the middle of the road and gotten hit by an errant meteor. My heart sank into the briniest depths of my chest at the mere thought. But then: hope. A Steam listing celebrating a May 4th release - with a four-pack option, no less. D’aaaaw, it had babies. That explains everything. Well, actually, no, but a recent trailer does. So fearfully grip your gun and venture into this post’s thickest word jungles to check it out.

So then, three open levels and three mighty dino species to make re-extinct (perhaps using dynamite) – not a bad start. Better still, Spiral plans to add more menacing ultra-lizards and worlds “on a regular basis” via free updates. We’ll probably say more about this one in the near-future, but until then, any takers?

 

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71 Comments »

  1. Velvetmeds says:

    If it worked, i’d get it. But it doesn’t. So not even worth wishlisting, for now.

    • supernorn says:

      Looks pretty amateur at best. The animations especially are terrible.

      • mcrabbit says:

        I shouldn’t do this.. but I can’t help myself.

        “someone I know” turned down remote work for this title.. they were paying next to nothing.. I think their scope was a little bit too big and the reasons this frustrates me is that they probably exploited a lot of desperate people to churn out average animations.

        • BrendanJB says:

          Didn’t you hear? They did exactly that.

          The dude in charge canned a bunch of people right after they submitted their work to him. Didn’t give them a reason, nor did they get paid. Then he lied to the remainder of the team, saying they got other jobs.

          • rolfwesselius says:

            He did not even use their work! He fired them because he did not need them IT HAPPENS. And he did not even use any of their work
            If that honestly happened wouldn’t there be a lawsuit?
            RPS wouldn’t even cover it if it was true.
            The “stolen” primal carnage concept art is similar BECAUSE T REXES LOOK THE SAME.
            You use information from forums and reddit and use that as fact?
            Brb gotta laugh till my lungs burst.

          • KDR_11k says:

            Generally if you hire someone and don’t like their work you still have to pay for it. There are exceptions but I don’t think they apply to a situation like this.

          • brkl says:

            Rolf, doesn’t matter whether he used the work or not. If you hire someone to make assets, you pay them. If you don’t need the assets, that’s your problem.

          • supernorn says:

            rolfwesselius it is not up for debate, it happened: http://www.imageslim.com/images/img_4c453eba4152a.gif

            (Look at the print on the tail, the details on the feet and the tiny scales on the body, the details are all in the same spots but they just warped the PC T-Rex render proportions slightly, painted over it in Photoshop and called it their own “concept art.” )

            Let’s not forget more stolen assets (achievements) http://i.imgur.com/Nl1m8.jpg

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            US Government works are public domain, so that’s legit.

            The rest look totally stolen though.

          • Ragnar says:

            I feel like getting all angry and up in arms over the achievements, particularly the Turok one, is really reaching for an excuse. It mostly makes me think of this: http://www.everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

    • Syra says:

      I like the oversaturated art style, the animations don’t look bad, just like what you expected from a decent game 5 years ago. The maps on the other hand all look the same with different colours?

      • nxzicwd says:

        As a like game otaku! Play the game a variety of tools must be a good choice! I recently purchased a PS3 wireless controller! It to do better than with other types of products! The price is also cheaper! http://me2.kr/4FWZmk

    • grtkbrandon says:

      I am personally going to avoid this game at all costs. Spiral Games Studios have tons of accusations, scandals, etc and the head of the team is the guy that scammed $20,000 from kickstarter, fired the team working on the “game”, and never paid anyone a dime. This studio deserves to stand in fire. To death. ‘

      http://www.gatheryourparty.com/articles/2012/05/04/orion-employee-beatdown/

      • Velvetmeds says:

        Not only that, but it’s the worst game ever made.

        Down there with Big rigs.

  2. DeathHamsterDude says:

    Don’t buy this game! Beyond the horrible things that the developer did to his team, it’s also insanely buggy.

    From Reddit

    ‘Here’s my steam support ticket, too tired to write more, was wrestling with this game all night.
    “I would like to return Dino Beatdown. The game is so rife with game breaking bugs that it’s not even playable. I’m not the only one having this problem.
    No, I don’t mean that typical ‘nerd rage’ of something passable but annoying being game breaking, I mean the game crashes more than a drunk nascar driver, and you can’t even join other servers as it gets in a ‘load/timeout’ loop. I mean this game actively tries to prevent you from playing it, like it’s sole goal in life, it’s greatest passion and utmost desire, is to make sure you learn none of its secrets.
    Please, can I return Orion: Dino Beatdown and get my money back so I can spend it on the appropriate amount of alcohol to forget this game?
    Your loyal customer and greatest kissup, Subhazard”‘

    Link – http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/t7zkf/do_not_buy_dino_beatdown_this_game_is_buggier/

    Link to article about how dev treated his team – http://www.gatheryourparty.com/articles/2012/05/04/orion-employee-beatdown/

    A Reddit thread from last year about it (where some employees talk about what happened) – http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/g2sol/david_prassel_creator_of_orion_prelude_receives/

  3. UncleLou says:

    Their website is a bit sketchy, and the manual can’t be downloaded because their bandwidth is exceeded. Is this purely a coop mp vs. AI game? Are there bots? A campaign, or just single matches on different maps?

    • Resonance says:

      It’s basically Killing Floor on a larger scale without the polish, variety or excellent gun-play that made KF so good. Pretty mediocre, even if it did work as intended.

      No campaign, no real single-player [you can play on your own but it defeats the purpose of the game] simply shooting at waves of the same handful of AI enemies before moving across the map to the next point. If you really want to play yet another horde mode it might be worth a purchase…

      Given there’re a host of ‘free’ updates apparently coming, and given the meager offering on show here, even for that price, you might as well wait for a sale by which point the game should be fixed. At present the game is completely broken [and RPS shouldn't be recommending it to anyone in its current state] with a patch coming on Monday.

  4. SiHy_ says:

    However by buying this game you would allegedly be supporting a developer with morals that are more than questionable. Also it apparently is chock full of bugs.
    http://www.reddit.com/t7hcg
    http://www.gatheryourparty.com/articles/2012/05/04/orion-employee-beatdown/
    http://www.reddit.com/comments/g2sol/

    EDIT: This comment has been awaiting moderation for ages. Shouldn’t have added those extra sources.

  5. Chaz says:

    The 3 different worlds essentially look the same, narrow sharp rocky canyons, but ones got a sandy floor, the other grass and one with grass and trees.

    Does it have objectives? If not then just pointlessly blasting dinos could get rather boring quite quickly. Borderlands had the whole RPG lite thing going for it and that could get rather tiresome after an hour or two.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I like how they describe Forest as lushly vegetated, when it’s just Eden again: 80% rocks, and some sparsely spaced sticks with bits of leaf matter stuck to them. Have these guys seen a forest?

      • Matt says:

        Yes, actually – they spent a lot of time doing photographic research in the National Sparse Stick Preserve.

    • psychoconductor says:

      I definitely remember something along the lines of “lead developer is King Douche and should not be supported in any way”. This game doesn’t interest me, but if it did I would vote with my wallet and not give this chump any of my money.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      That really is terrible. Though I will say that the T-Rex being stolen is a bit of a stretch (though I’m not familiar with making models, but I mean, they ARE both the same thing.)

  6. John Connor says:

    I’d strongly recommend not publicising this game, Nathan. The “lead developer” is a crook who didn’t pay people who worked for him, stole assets from other games and constantly tried to cover it all up with lies. He doesn’t deserve a single cent.

    • CMaster says:

      I have to say I’m very intrigued. The Project Orion games have got a HUGE amount of coverage on RPS. Every single article about them gets a bunch of people mentioning the apparent ills of the developer. And yet RPS continues to give regular updates on the game without ever acknowledging the controversy at all.

    • rolfwesselius says:

      He did not use their work they got fired before money even entered the equation and the ”fired” employees started a smear campaign as a result.
      And the ”stolen” asset is not even being used in the game!
      It was ”borrowed” as an in house placeholder which is not exactly rare and someone made a mistake and used it in the trailer its removed now i checked it.
      And the concept art got any proof of it? It’s a fucking t rex of course they look the same!
      If this drible your spewing was true it wouldn’t even be featured on RPS!

  7. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Comment of no strong opinion with supporting internet meme #423

  8. GamerOS says:

    Great game when it works, but it overall I’d wait for more patches before I’d recommend it to anyone else tough.
    It lacks polish and is riddle with bugs at the moment so yeah….

    I don’t know whats true about those kick starter scandals and the firing of his employees so I will hold of judging the game on those things for now.

  9. BrendanJB says:

    I would be down for some mindless shooting of dinosaurs, but not if it means supporting thieves and douchebags. I’ll wait for Primal Carnage.

  10. Axess Denyd says:

    Someone should mention to them that, occasionally, there is sunlight without massive amounts of fog. Especially in the desert, which tends to be short on moisture.

  11. Unaco says:

    Apparently it is horrifically buggy, unpolished, rushed to release, and not terribly fun. Combine that with the dreadfully poor form of the Developers and their Leader (stolen assets, firing/removing of ‘employees’ when they tried to question deceptive practices, or when their use was at an end, increasingly inflammatory posting, terrible PR, deception and lies, etc.)… and I think I’ll give this a miss.

    • rolfwesselius says:

      Those are lies this is the reaction of the team leader when asked about the criticism


      It was a schmear campaign by a few sour individuals who were involved before money ever entered the equation. We separated ways with them, didn’t use their work and so they didn’t get paid. People get fired. It’s sad, but sometimes things don’t work out and it was obviously for the best. We now employ a large selection of veteran industry talent with former developers of Epic, RedStorm, Bungie, Microsoft, BioWare and others. This wouldn’t be the case if we had deplorable working conditions.

      The Natural Selection 2 fiasco was blown out of proportion as well. Claiming we “stole” the asset is way over board. It was a personal portfolio piece that a former freelancer, Daniel Doerksen created and we simply used as a placeholder until we finalized ours (which is now in the game). It was never meant to be shown off in pre-alpha footage but accidents do happen. You can check out his portfolio and see other Natural Selection 2 inspired pieces to verify this – or even ask him:
      http://www.daniel-doerksen.com/

      • supernorn says:

        No smoke without fire. Also you still have to pay people for their work, even if you eventually decide not to use it. That is how the system works, to do otherwise is to be unprofessional.

        • Llewyn says:

          No smoke without fire.

          For someone with your convictions for arson, that’s an unfortunate turn of phrase.

        • Archonsod says:

          “Also you still have to pay people for their work, even if you eventually decide not to use it.”

          That rather depends on the contract o.O

        • Brun says:

          You don’t have to pay them anything if they worked for commission only. On a commission system you get paid only for what you deliver, and if what you deliver is no good then you don’t get paid.

          Don’t get me wrong, I still think the guy is a scumbag but you could easily write up an employment contract that said “if your models are no good then you don’t get paid a cent” and if employees were dumb enough to sign it he wouldn’t have to pay them.

      • BaronVonsnakPak says:

        rolf, that wasnt the reaction from the team leader, that was his brother.

        does that make it even more plausible, or more slimy? i guess its up to you.

        personally, i made the mistake of buying the game without looking into it and boy, was that a mistake. I can barely get the freakin thing to run, and when it does it plays like absolute garbage. I tried about 10 times yesterday to play it and only once could i connect to the server to play online co-op. The graphical settings revert themselves whenever you change them. There are missing sounds all over ( i basically only have gun-fire and dino roars). The game performs woefully for a dx9 title, with terrible framerates and even worse lag. The class-select screen’s resolution looks like its set at 1024×768. You fall through floors, dinos get stuck on everything, there are seemingly missing animations as the dinos tend to slide around (not to mention the jumping animation on the raptors).

        i could keep going on, but at this point ive spent way too much effort on this piece of garbage.

        p.s. the lead dev claims they couldnt forsee these bugs because they “werent allowed” a beta. he also claims ALL the performance problems and bugs boil down to 2 last-second bugs, and that thursday’s build performed much better, but they cant release that build, and they cant fix it til monday. does any of this sound GOOD to you, rolf? or worth defending?

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      From reading the stories about the dev, I have serious doubts about this game too. But I won’t be avoiding Dino Beatdown due to unsubstantiated rumors; I’ll be avoiding it because it looks like complete arse.

      How the fuck did this game even get on Steam? I suppose I’ve seen worse there, but still…

  12. Surlywombat says:

    Do you spend the whole game running backwards or is it just the trailer.

  13. Creaturemagic says:

    I swear they have Counter Strike sounds in there O.o

    • Netkev says:

      The sounds are directly lifted from CS:S, the hit sounds as well as the dying sounds of the dinosaurs are the exact same.

  14. MrTambourineMan says:

    I’m pretty sure T-REX is he not she as they said in the video. Rex is male grammatical gender in Latin. T-REGINA however would be she :)

    • drbluez says:

      With no females around and those little arms, no wonder they became extinct having absolutely no fun at all.

  15. zagor says:

    only 3 petty dinos
    no wonder its 7 euros

  16. drbluez says:

    jurassic as myself of buying broken games?

    then just leave it be…

  17. suibriel says:

    So “rolfwesselius” in the comments here is the lead developer of this game. The alleged crook.

  18. MythArcana says:

    Another gem for the Steam crowd.

    • Brun says:

      You really will stretch to any length to take a shot at Steam won’t you?

  19. GT3000 says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if RPS was milking this shit for the pageviews. It certainly doesn’t escape possibility. Man, that sounds so mean and conspiratorial. Your move, Castle RPS.

  20. GSGregory says:

    This game looks and sounds like a epic flop. I mean despite the whole firing people stuff the steam page doesn’t list the features of the game and instead just gives a base description that tries to make the game sound massive and feature rich without giving many concrete examples.

  21. salad10203 says:

    I was going to protest slave labor and wars, I decided to protest Dino Beatdown instead.

  22. televizor says:

    Wow, comments turning into current vs ex employee discussion.
    What’s the game like? This game wants to bank on childhood’s guilty pleasures.

    • Bostec says:

      Look at the video, the game looks like turd, a green one with spikes. How this got on Steam and something like oh I don’t know, Solium Infernum not getting on is beyond me.

  23. Mattalorian says:

    I’d like to leave a warning here: under absolutely no circumstances should you buy this game. Disregarding all the developer shadiness, it’s simply one of the worst games I’ve ever played. It’s broken in nearly every aspect. Let me give an example: every time a raptor is killed, it plays the Counter-Strike Source death sound.
    The idea of a first-person dinosaur survival game sounds great, and the screenshots and trailer make it look totally playable. It’s extremely misleading – the game, in its current state, is almost on par with something like Superman 64. Even if you really love dinosaurs, you shouldn’t support flagrantly broken games like this. It’s the only game I’ve ever bought that I feel genuinely guilty about owning.

  24. amishmonster says:

    When I ask for more dinosaur games, people…I mean GOOD dinosaur games.

    Shame that all the reports of the game itself are poor, regardless of any controversy. As for accusing RPS of milking this for pageviews, that’s pretty absurd. RPS has called out sheisty things in the past (that bum Kickstarter project, for one) and an article calling out a dubious developer would be a lot more effective than posting about the game and hoping the comments erupt into some kind of accusation-fest.

  25. Curvespace says:

    Turns-out that having a management style of treating people like dirt isn’t conducive to creating a good, coherent game. Who’d a thunk it?!?

    • trjp says:

      Sadly, quality of product and earning well off the back of it are not as related as you’d expect.

      I’m astonished this game is still on Steam tho – he even ripped-off stuff from Valve’s own games!!

  26. Chickensalad says:

    I bought this after hearing about it for a little bit. Let’s have a run down of everything that sucks/

    -You have to restart the game from steam every time you want to create a new game
    -the server browser crashes the game
    -whenever the game crashes you have to end the uneal engine from task manager
    -Dinosaurs clip through walls, like entire t-rex heads will clip through walls
    -You can only play solo
    -2 resolution choices per aspect ratio

    And the gameplay!
    -the dinosaurs make no sounds when they move, get ready for ninja t-rex!
    -The pistol is absolutely worthless, and every other gun is extremely expensive,
    -There’s some kind of random super t-rex spawn that happens every 2 minutes, about 8 minutes into each game you’ll be swarmed by 4 or more super enemies that you can’t even hope to kill.
    -the game can be extremely easy if you’re boring enough to just jetpack on a cliff and take potshots with your BB-gun pistol
    -there’s no limit for particles, every time you hit a dino up close with a shotgun the blood will lag up your game.

    Oh and the minigun sounds like he’s just tapping a fucking pen on his desk, the sound sucks.

  27. Unaco says:

    Looks like the bad publicity around this game is really… Spiralling out of control.

  28. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This is not the first time I can thank my fellow hiveminders for your thoughts and nuggets of information.
    Aha! (Sorry, I’ve been watching Alan Partridge)

  29. Nathan Grayson says:

    I’ve spent the past [more than is probably healthy] hours investigating this to the fullest extent of my abilities, and goodness, there’s a lot of stuff here. As for all the dev drama, there’s too much mud-slinging on both sides to reach a substantial conclusion based on what’s appeared on reddit, forums, etc alone. And even if there was, I can’t rightly say, “Don’t support this game because the lead dev is a mean person who says things that aren’t nice.” Bad working conditions and a lack of pay, though? That’s another accusation entirely — and one I’m contacting people left and right to investigate further. Honestly, though, I’m not expecting a whole lot. One other news outlet tried last year, and they weren’t able to reach a definitive conclusion.

    So, unless anything comes out of that, I’m tossing most of that research in the garbage basket and moving my focus to the game proper for the moment. That’s concrete, and it can be discussed on non-speculative terms. Put simply, it’s buggy garbage, but Spiral claims that’s part of a major mix up between it and Steam. A fixed build is apparently on the way via patch (http://spiralgamestudios.com/post/22462849037/orion-dino-beatdown-patch-1-on-monday), though it’s failed to materialize so far. For now, though, obviously DO NOT BUY THIS GAME.

    All that said, if anyone with (or formerly with) Spiral would like to talk about, well, anything (including favorite colors, sports teams, or breakfast mascots), feel free to get in touch. My email’s Nathan@rockpapershotgun.com.