Did you know the team behind Turok originally formed as Revolution Interactive Entertainment? A lot of the core team came from EA Studios near Vancouver with Disney as one of its initial investors. It only took a handful of months for Disney to take the leap and completely purchase the company, making it one of their in-house developers. Propaganda Games was born that day.
I joined the team near the end of 2005. Propaganda Games had the lifting power of a big studio, but a personable approach for day-to-day development. The team featured some crazy talented people who have since moved onto other creative endeavors. While I chose to leave a year later for personal reasons, the team continued to fine-tune Turok and design new projects. Disney thought otherwise and shut down the studio in 2011 after releasing Tron: Evolution and previously cancelling Turok 2, Salient, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned.
As you can guess, Turok went through the typical growing pains a new company, team, and title goes through. It was originally a longer, more diverse action game. When I arrived, it was titled Turok: Rebirth. The subtitle was eventually dropped to mark it as a true relaunch of the franchise.
Other changes included reducing most of the vehicle levels, as well as an ongoing companion. Lil was a young survivor Turok had to protect throughout the story, much in the same way Ripley protected Newt in Aliens. Companion AI and gameplay diversity were the reasons she was removed from the final game. You can still dig through the game assets and find her model, however.
The project was a valiant effort for a new, robust FPS experience with a long-standing franchise. The young team, company, and scope of the game was too much at the time to find the right mix to make Turok a high-ranking game. Licensing Unreal at the time had its own share of woes as well. Disney needed the game released and the team had to make things work within the allotted time.
I’ll post some behind-the-scene pieces that’ll give you a glimpse at the original Turok design in the coming months.
More public details are on Wikipedia.
- December 2005 – January 2007
- ASST. LEAD LEVEL DESIGNER
Designed high moment-to-moment gameplay, encounters, and puzzles. Designed, modeled, and maintain inspiring and memorable levels. Scripted AI, missions, and interaction events. Acted as liaison between leads and design team for quality and efficiency.
- 80% – Armchair Empire
- 70% – IGN
- 85% – GameShark
- 70% – Gamespot
- 83% – GameTrailers
- 90% – Play Magazine
- 88% – Worthplaying