Dino Run is a game in which Velociraptors wearing hats flee from an apocalyptic event across procedurally generated landscapes. I hadn’t realised quite how long ago the original came out, in its first form, but here’s John writing about it before I was born. It seems like a difficult game to expand on but that’s exactly what Pixeljam are hoping to do, having launched a Kickstarter campaign for Dino Run 2. Three different eras, multiple playable dinosaurs…humans?
The multiple dinosaurs are the biggest challenge for Pixeljam and the greatest addition to the game’s structure, requiring more complex procedural generation to take advantage of their varied abilities.
The feature we’re most excited about is the ability to play as a number of dino types, each with their own strengths and methods of overcoming obstacles. Our classic Velociraptor is back with his speed and reflexes, while the Archaeopteryx can glide through the air and dive bomb enemies. The Parasaurolophus is fast and heavy but too tall to enter most tunnels, while the mighty Triceratops is unstoppable at top speed, smashing through everything in his way.
Dino Run 2 isn’t Canabalt with a dinosaur. While it has elements in common with endless runner games, it’s more of a high-paced exploration game, with multiple routes and interactive elements in the scenery.
A raptor solves problems with his speed; levels generated around him will have plenty of classic jumping and dodging challenges. A triceratops makes his way forward with brute force, making toppled trees into bridges and gravel out of the boulders that stand in his way; his world will be physically intimidating. A pachycephalosaurus can ram his bone helmet into a weak wall to reveal a smaller hidden tunnel; his levels will have multiple winding paths to explore. The archaeopteryx’s and pterodactyl’s world will emphasize the sky and the cliffs that most dinos cannot traverse.
And the dinos will also be scarpering and pummelling their way through coffee shops and petrol stations in the modern era, which joins the original Cretaceous zone and the Paleolithic. Of course, man and dinosaur didn’t exist side by side, but Pixeljam have used their own brand of magic to create the impossible.
The game progresses through three distinct time periods in Earth’s history, two of which are historically impossible, but our flawless video game logic makes it not only possible, but sensible!
That does seem sensible, as does the pitch. Pixeljam have experience in development and budgeting, and I’d like to see them take on a larger project.