David Prassel on ORION: Prelude

David Prassel on ORION: Prelude


Spiral Game Studios is working on ORION: Prelude, a fast-paced, first person shooter with a heavy emphasis on team-based, multiplayer play. We sat down with David Prassel, Project Director for Orion, and discuss ORION's progress, challenges and more.

Hooked Gamers: It’s easy to imagine a first person view for the soldiers, but how will it look and feel when you’re dealing with a dinosaur?

David Prassel: In ORION: Prelude, our primary focus is the interaction of the dinosaurs. We’ve put in systems that allow for multiple levels of interaction and we have taken it upon ourselves to create the most realistic, cinematic and believable dinosaurs in a videogame. Ever.

Games that have featured dinosaurs so far have simply treated them as enemy grunts and the A.I had simply been derived from them. Not only is that extremely lame, it is also the reason dinosaurs haven’t been done justice in videogames (Turok, Trespasser, Jurassic: The Hunted) as they have in Hollywood (Jurassic Park, Peter Jackson’s King Kong).

The Dinosaurs in ORION: Prelude will interact with players differently than they do with vehicles or other dinosaurs for example. They have 5 main processes that can change on the fly in real time. In the next few months we will be creating Video Documentaries and the Dinosaur system will be one of them.

While you cannot play as a dinosaur in ORION: Prelude, we are toying with the idea for future endeavors. A game that I personally believe handled the first-person view for creatures correctly would go to Natural Selection 2. Putting the camera inside the mouth of the creature and enclosing the screen with teeth is pure genius and extremely effective.

Hooked Gamers: Are there a set of classes that you can pick from with each side, and if so, how do their abilities and weapons differ from one to the next?

David Prassel: Yes! There are two main teams in ORION. You have the human team, The Carriers and then you have the alien team, The Altair.

Within each team is 3 player classes. For the humans, you have: Assault / Support / Recon. For the Altair, you have: Warrior / Rukan / Wraiyth.

Each player class has its own unique weapon load out, unique personality, unique vision mode, unique grenade type AND most importantly a unique ability. Each class also comes equipped with a standard computer kit. The humans get a battlefield computer called the O.S.O.R Kit and the Aliens get a device called the C.E.L.L. These devices have 3 main options which include as acting as the in-game map, hacking game-mode objectives and refilling a teammate’s shield system. This allows for a wide variety of strategy and encourages team play dramatically.

An example, the Carrier ‘Assault’ class comes equipped as such:
PRIMARY: FNC-30 Assault Rifle (Semi / Burst)
SECONDARY: RNC-44 SMG (Semi / Auto)
SIDEARM: CV-10 Pistol (Semi)
ABILITY: Jetpack
Grenade Type: FRAG

Hooked Gamers: In your latest trailer, you show a vast and wonderful looking jungle environment, so in the retail version what types of environments can players expect to play on and how will they affect the game play between the two sides?

David Prassel: One of the first things that people notice about ORION is that we simply love color. We apply this color to beautiful environments that you might even consider vacationing to. But then we throw in some insane weapons, explosions, dinosaurs eating people, dinosaurs eating other dinosaurs, and vehicle steering up the landscapes. Somewhat of a contradiction.

Players can expect this level of detail for the maps that launch with ORION: Prelude. They will be taken to vistas such as deserts, lush jungles, swamps, canyon crevices, inside military structures and plenty of others. On top of this we are also remaking a handful of the most popular maps that were featured in the free version of ORION that we launched in late 2009, the ‘Source Multiplayer Beta’.

For the competitive game modes, both teams share the same objectives and consequences. For the brand new Cooperative game mode that we just announced, the environments will take a slightly more linear approach as they are set up more like single player missions – but are designed for 4 players instead of 1. The Coop in ORION: Prelude will not be in a single multiplayer level like the Gears of War “Horde” mode. It will have levels specifically created for Co-Op.