How many animal species will be in Saurian?
Over 25 different Hell Creek animals will be included in the final game, many of which will have multiple growth stages and/or separate male and female morphs as adults.
What will these animals be?
You can browse our concept art and game model galleries to view the animals that have been revealed so far. Outside of these, the game is set in western North America about 66 million years ago, with an environment based on rock layers from the upper third of the Hell Creek Formation. Any animal from that time and place has the possibility to appear in the final game but nothing is absolute.
What animals will be playable in the final game?
Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Dakotaraptor, Pachycephalosaurus, Anzu and Ankylosaurus are all planned to eventually be playable in Saurian. Dakotaraptor will be the only dinosaur playable in the initial Early Access release. Pachycephalosaurus, Triceratops and T. rex will be added incrementally up until the full version is released, probably in that order. Anzu and Ankylosaurus were the species chosen by our Kickstarter backers. They will be added as free updates after the base game is complete.
Can you choose the sex of your playable dinosaur?
You will absolutely be able to choose to play as either a male or female animal. There may even be morphological and gameplay differences for some of our 4 playables.
(Above) Potential colour concepts for 3 of Saurian’s animals. Top to bottom: Pachycephalosaurus, Acheroraptor and Leptoceratops. Acheroraptor and Pachycephalosaurus will be playable species in the final game. Art by Chris Masna.
Is there a release date for Saurian?
Saurian Early Access will be released in Q2 2017. We do not currently have a more solid release date, as we can’t be exactly sure at this stage when the game will be ready to play. Once in early access, development will continue on the game until it is complete with all the features we have promised/intended. It is unknown at this time when this will be.
What platforms will the game be on?
Saurian is being initially developed for PC and Mac. The Unity game engine we are using allows for easy transfer to other platforms, and we will pursue Linux and other options once the game is complete.
Will Saurian be free to play?
No. We are a very small team, and Saurian will require significant financial resources to achieve its full potential. The gameplay style we have planned for Saurian also does not fit the stereotypical “free to play” model, but would function like most open world games that contain both single and multiplayer options.
How much will Saurian cost?
Saurian will cost $20 (USD) upon release. It is our goal for Saurian to be affordable, fairly priced and deliver good value to our customers.
Will Saurian be available on Steam?
Yes, Saurian will be available on Steam, both in Eary Access and final form.
What is the Hell Creek Formation?
The Hell Creek Formation is made up of rock layers formed by rivers in the Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago in what is now Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. You can read more about Hell Creek on our World of Saurian page.
If Hell Creek is in the middle of North America , then why is there a sea in Saurian?
During the Cretaceous, much of North America was covered in a vast inland sea called the Western Interior Seaway. This is what can be seen in Saurian. You can read more about this on our blog post “Fabulous South Dakota Beachfront Property”.
Why do some of your dinosaurs have “lips” covering their teeth?
The current evidence (primarily from the thesis of palaeontologist Ashley Morhardt) suggests that in dinosaurs that lack beaks, some kind of soft tissue covering the teeth and creating a “seal” when the moth is closed is most likely. This is indicated by the pattern of foramina (small holes in the bone that supply nutrients to the soft tissue) on the fossilized jaws of these animals and comparisons with living animals. An abstract from 2016’s Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology states that evidence from the study of fossil tooth enamel also suggests the teeth were covered. Living dinosaurs (birds) and their closest relatives (crocodiles) do not serve as good comparisons as they are both extremely specialised at what they do. For those after a more detailed summary of the topic, we highly recommend Jaime Headden’s blog post on the topic.
(Above) Distribution of feathers among dinosaurs with photos of fossil feather impressions. (Taken from An integrative approach to understanding bird origins, Xu et al. 2014)
Do dinosaurs really have feathers?
Yes they absolutely do! Just as not all mammals have fur, not all dinosaurs have feathers, but over the last 20 years hundreds of specimens have been uncovered preserving direct evidence of feathers in a very large selection of the dinosaur family tree. Not to mention every living dinosaur has feathers! This fact is now indisputable.
Does Tyrannosaurus really have feathers?
While there are no direct impressions of feathers from fossils of Tyrannosaurus rex, there are from several other tyrannosaurs, including the giant Yutyrannus. All leading experts on tyrannosaurs agree that all evidence points to tyrannosaurs being feathered in some regard. As Saurian aims to reflect the consensus of such scientists, this is the route we have taken.
Why does Saurian’s Tyrannosaurus have a scaly tail?
The current evidence points to some feathered dinosaurs having scales on extremities such as their tails, legs and hands, just like most modern birds have scales on their feet. This appears to be true of the family Tyrannosaurus belongs to. For more information, check out our infographic on the topic.
What would Saurian do if a large, completely scaly theropod were to be discovered?
If it was a tyrannosaurid or otherwise closer to Tyrannosaurus than to Yutyrannus we would re-design the animal to be scaly and remove the feathered option all-together. We will always be going with the most parsimonious solution to any given problem.
Will there at least be an option to play as a featherless version?
No. We do not believe in perpetuating outdated stereotypes. We will never have a toggle-able option regarding integument, we will always be going with the most parsimonious solution.
Which dinosaurs have feathers?
Below is a simplified diagram of how feathers are distributed amongst dinosaurs. Saurian will be following this pattern with it’s designs. This can be seen in our current models: for example, our scaly ornithopod (Anatosaurus) and thyreophorans (Ankylosaurus, Denversaurus), the filamentous feathers bore by the tyrannosauroid Tyrannosaurus and basal neornithischian Thescelosaurus, and the complex feathers on the deinonychosaurs Acheroraptor and Dakotaraptor.
(Above) A simple diagram of the distribution of feathers among dinosaurs (Taken from Bristles before feathers: a new perspective on the functional origin of feathers, Persons & Currie 2015)