‘Allo, Saurus – ORION: Prelude


Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs. Oh you boys and your zombies – don’t you want something a little different? Something, say, featuring bus-sized, man-eating lizards?

We’ve written about Orion before, back when its transition from HL2 mod to fully-fledged standalone man-shoot was originally announced. Since then, devs Spiral Games Studios have been beavering away at making their “UT plus massive great dinosaur” dream a reality, most recently including a tech demo at the EG Expo. They’ve done and given that demo the director’s cut treatment, which you can ooh and aah at below:

Clever girl.

The game itself is a multiplayer shooter in the UT/Tribes/Halo vein: so that’s men and vehicles (and jetpacks) (and dinosaurs) in a science fictional setting. Has the potential to be hilarious and exhilarating, and hopefully the whole massive T-rex thing means it’s not solemnly aimed solely at the shooter hardcore.

Oh, and you’re having a whiny turn because of the human animations, the devs offer this reassurance: “Luckily they are only for this technology demonstration. There will be new (and much better) animations for the in-game models of the characters as well as any future trailers we release, thanks to our new Animator.”

It’s been a long time coming, this – it was originally announced as a Half-Life 1 mod called Incoming, going through several prototypes and the odd beta before winding up at Full Big-Boy Game Status. The full history of the project’s over yonder.


  1. Cpt. Sqweky says:

    Sorry to be pedantic… (okay, not really) but I know someone’s gonna mention it, but: I thought dinosaurs were supposed to be more like birds. I mean, that’s what I learned in my Dinosaurs class at university.

    • Stense says:

      The general consensus these days is that Birds evolved from Dinosaurs, the Theropod group of dinos, which was the mean meat eaty ones group. There are loads of fossils being discovered that shows dinosaurs with various bird-like features, including feathers. But getting that into the general public perception of dinosaurs will be tricky. People are just used to seeing dinosaurs how they are portrayed traditionally.

    • bob_d says:

      The whole “terrible lizard” naming thing is still throwing people off and/or allowing humorous lizard references.

    • stahlwerk says:

      But… but this is exactly how the finches in my backyard behave.

    • CreepingDeath says:

      Plus yaknow… sit for a second and actually picture a tyranosaur covered in feathers… it looks ridiculous -.-

      Regardless of what anyone may theorize, Im going to keep imagining them as massive ass kicking lizardy things!

    • GoodPatton says:

      @Creeping: If you’ve ever seen any larger birds up close (large Parrots, Eagles, Hawks, Vultures) they are surprisingly dinosaur like in some of their movements / actions. I think they could be pretty ass kickey if done well with feathers, though maybe not. I’d still like to see it tried.

    • Sardaukar says:

      I really don’t understand the sentiment that a feathery dinosaur would look goofy.

      It would be an image of pure terror. Running through the jungle. Your ammunition is spent, your fuel depleted, and your team dead. Out of the corner of your eye you occasionally see a blur in the wild growth, and you can only press forward in a mad dash hoping it’s not another camouflaged killer. You dart down a split in the rocks, hoping to lose the predator, but find yourself at a dead end after a minute’s run. The thudding is closer, louder, and you slowly turn around. The mighty beast lumbering slowly now, murder and satisfaction in its eyes. Foul streaks of gore are splayed across blood-drenched feathers- your former squad. The hunter stoops to your level and bellows out a roar of mockery and triumph, the glossy red coat shaking around it like a vision of hell, and you are devoured.

    • amishmonster says:

      Yeah, the growing consensus is that many theropods, especially smaller ones like velociraptors and deinonychus, DID have feathers, mostly trailing from their arms and maybe legs. I haven’t read anything saying t-rex had feathers (yet) but they keep finding new evidence, so who knows.

    • Jambe says:

      Feathers aren’t goofy. Ostriches are scary.

      1: they’re huge.
      2: they go from standing still to twice as fast as you could run in about one second.
      3: they’re huge.

      I’ve been in proximity (close enough to have been kicked) to domesticated ostriches, and that was scary enough. I wouldn’t want to get near the nest of a wild one.

      And they’re herbivores, save the odd insect. God help us if they weren’t.

    • Taillefer says:

      If ostriches are scary, cassowaries are the terrifying embodiment of fear. Smaller than an ostrich, but with 5 inch claws that will apparently eviscerate you.

    • Caiman says:

      Just because dinos were ancestral to birds doesn’t mean all dinos were covered in (or even had) feathers. Shit like that takes time.

    • Cpt. Sqweky says:

      This post from Geekology is related:

      link to geekologie.com

    • thebigJ_A says:

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      How is that goofy? If I saw that coming I’d run!

    • thebigJ_A says:

      To be clear, those were a type of bird found in S. America in the Miocene, long after Dinosaurs died out. But they looked a hell of a lot like their therapod ancestors, were huge, meat-eating, and terrifying.

    • dadioflex says:

      @Sardaukar Nice bit of writing that. Very effective!

      This game… Turok but without a decent single-player story? So Turok.

      Grafix look about four or five years back, and they’ll never surpass Tombraider in my mind but I wish them well. I’ve zero interest in MP and releasing a game that focuses on it seems about as smart as releasing an MMORPG while WOW is still around. Maybe when they’ve turned the COD servers off. Hey ho, there’ll be no telling them…

    • SnallTrippin says:

      I think all you bird scary people are forgetting that we have guns. And massive trucks that can run over pretty much anything short of a hippo. Go technology!

    • Carra says:

      Funny how half of these comments are about feathered dinosaurs.

      Will make me see our chickens in a different way.

  2. Sarlix says:

    By some weird twist of fate this is the 3rd time I have made a comment on an Orion related post after having spent some months away from RPS. I go away, come back and it’s top of the page. It’s like it’s my destiny to comment about the fact that the dinosaurs are lacking in both jet-packs and laser weaponry, ideally located in their eye sockets. All I need now is for Mr X to come along a console me on the fact that it could be added by release. Also if this is first comment it proves I am the Messiah.

    • Sarlix says:


    • Alex Bakke says:

      It’s funny, if you had left out the last ‘messiah’ part, you could have made first. But then you would have only self-satisfaction, and nobody would know your true identity.

  3. clive dunn says:

    unlucky, although to be honest, becoming the messiah might really fuck up your plans for the weekend.

  4. Tzarkahn says:


    • camazotz says:

      Wait….are you saying that this game has…Dinosaurs, Jetpacks, and GUNS????? Speak clearly, man! What do you mean?!?!?!

  5. Serenegoose says:

    I liked the music. But I find it silly that the guy who got caught by the dinosaur didn’t use his own jetpack.

    Also, I absolutely demand to know whether these dinosaurs can open doors, either now or at some point soon.

  6. Heynes says:

    The trailer feels kind of anticlimatic, but it’s an interesting concept.

  7. Monchberter says:

    CryEngine 3?

  8. areyoutherebog? says:

    The lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh… staggers me.

  9. Daniel Carvalho says:

    Tip of the hat to your “clever girl” Jurassic Park reference. You make me proud.

    • Poindexter says:

      The better Jurassic Park reference is in the alt-text.

    • amishmonster says:

      Ooh, I never check Alec’s articles for alt-text. Have I been missing out?

      Clearly I would have been, here.

  10. GoodPatton says:

    I’m impressed by the sense of scale in the trailer. It looks like they did a good job representing size. That’s one thing I find a lot of games struggle with, realistic representation of size and scale. Hopefully they will have a well rendered bamboo porto-potty to hide and be devoured in!

  11. TribalWars420 says:

    This game has everything I could ever want :o

  12. amishmonster says:

    Here’s hoping this and Primal Carnage don’t flop.

  13. jefftron says:

    I’ll wait for the Zombie expansion.

  14. KillahMate says:

    I have a vision of Randall Munroe from XKCD being given this game as an innocent gift, playing on the human team in his first game, coming face to face with a velociraptor, and subsequently completely losing his shit.

  15. Sir Digby says:

    For the above poster who mentioned he couldn’t visualize dinosaurs as other than large lizards, here’s a slink for ya:

    link to palaeo.jconway.co.uk

    Browse the rest of the site, totally worth it.

  16. karry says:

    You say this is standalone ? In that case this was probably the worst trailer for a commercial game i’ve ever seen.

    • Alistar says:

      Agreed. Though apparently this wasn’t a “trailer” but a “tech demo”. I personally find the fact that it was a tech demo even more terrible, as there was a massive framerate drop at a crucial moment of having a T-Rex eating a Spartan(?), followed by some too-blue-Winnebago-tradeshow-room-floor water pools.

      My favorite part is when the Spartan(?) is shooting at the approaching Tyrannobird (although his partner is animated well to show some fear), when he decides the more appropriate course of action would be to shoot his rifle with a limp wrist held in one hand, and clutch his other arm to his chest before flying away on his jet-pack. I like to think that this was a form of mocking the dinosaur’s short forearms, kind of like a middle finger to the whole species, before a quick escape. Well played, Spartan(?) warrior!

    • DrGonzo says:

      If you read the mods time line it was a Halo rip off at first – which they freely admit.

  17. Urael says:

    Bah! All that development and potential ruined to make Yet Another Multiplayer Shooter. Will probably sell millions just to rub my face in it. Harrumph.

  18. Araxiel says:

    This seems to become a good mod…but a bad stand-alone game.
    For that matter, which engine is this now?

  19. Dao Jones says:

    This game should sell well.

    link to i.imgur.com

  20. MinisterofDOOM says:

    The word I’d chose to describe this video is “claustrophobic.” When it opened I said “Why are we staring at a wall of rock?” Then the camera changed to show more rock and some plants. Then a few more plants and yet more rock. Being enclosed by rock everywhere sort of sucks the atmosphere out of things. Especially the bland grey rock in the trailer.

  21. Wilson says:

    To be honest, I didn’t mind those animations for the people. Sure they weren’t great, but in the thick of a battle and while being chased by dinosaurs, who would care? If the choice was between adding in stuff like more guns, player models and dinosaurs or improving the human animations I would rather have the extra stuff.

  22. Logos says:

    Dinosaurs and Halo. Awesome!

    In addition the musical score is a beautiful masterpiece.
    For those who are wondering the artist and all, here’s the info:
    It’s called:

    The Carrier’s Theme by Mark Zuhru

    Here’s a link where you can listen to the full version.

    link to orion-project.net

  23. Son of Kong says:

    Has anyone tried running in water? It’s not as easy as those guys would have you believe.

  24. Cunzy1 1 says:

    I’ve given you people two months and still nobody has pointed out that:

    a) Pteranodon aren’t dinosaurs.
    b) The ‘r’ in rex should never be capitalised.