ByPeter Moulding, writer at Creators.co
"How the little piglets would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffered."
Peter Moulding

The life of the average homo sapiens have changed drastically in the past 10,000 years, a feat that no other animal that has ever lived on the planet can beat. With us eventually evolving to stand upright, thus letting loose our hands on the world, we could achieve feats that were unparalleled. With our big brains, we were smashing rocks together and accidentally starting fires, ultimately realizing that we were not just part of nature, but we could, if we wanted to, take control of the world around us and influence it to suit our needs.

Why Is The Gaming Industry Fascinated By The Prehistoric Era?

'BC' [Credit: Microsoft]
'BC' [Credit: Microsoft]

We humans have learnt a lot about our evolutionary beginnings in the past few hundred years, but it is only in the last 20 that we have started developing that allow us to relive this section of our history—the section that makes up 99% of it.

Turok Evolution, which I played on the , was the first game I remember that planted me in a lost land of prehistoric fiction (and gun-wielding dinosaurs), placing a bow and arrow in my hands and begging me to explore. Since then, the great gaming space race has launched and sent the industry out into the galaxy, but why is it that game developers keep returning to the past?

They Allow Us to Explore Rich And Dangerous Worlds

Pretty basic weaponry. [Credits: Turok Evolution/Claim Entertainment]
Pretty basic weaponry. [Credits: Turok Evolution/Claim Entertainment]

In Turok Evolution, released in 2002, you start off the game with virtually nothing, but are forced to cut your way through thick jungle, climb mountains and delve deep into cave systems. Massive dinosaurs, saber toothed cats and Ankylosaurus armed with rocket launchers are hiding behind every corner. Okay, the game wasn't realistic at all, but that wasn't what was important.

What was important was both the harsh setting of the game, and the genuine wonder you felt as you explored it, whether on foot or on the back of a Pterodactyl. Yes, that actually happened! The rich, albeit fictional prehistoric setting, didn't match anything the player could relate to, and therefore it made an excellent world in which to play a game.

They Tap Into Our Primal Instincts

A truly beautiful game. [Credits: Far Cry Primal/Ubisoft Montreal]
A truly beautiful game. [Credits: Far Cry Primal/Ubisoft Montreal]

It is quite easy today for a person to live their entire life without engaging with the natural world in the same ways our ancestors did. Unlike our ancestors, the majority of our lives are based in large cities where city parks are often the only form of escape from the concrete. Of course, our ancestors had no choice but to live like this, but for many people today the idea of a simpler existence full of adrenaline and adventure feels like something they want and need, especially in a world where technology and convenience are at our beck and call.

It is exactly this feeling that Far Cry Primal taps into. The game was released earlier this year, and apart from Turok's 2008 (no where near as good) sequel, was the first game to have a prehistoric setting since 2002. You play as Takkar, a man from the Wenja tribe who lives in the dangerous world of the Stone Age, sometime around 10,000 BC. Through some shaman magic, you have learnt the ability to tame animals, which ends up coming in handy when facing up to the two other tribes that are playing with fire and threatening your entire existence.

Some real primal adventure. [Credits: Far Cry Primal/Ubisoft Montreal]
Some real primal adventure. [Credits: Far Cry Primal/Ubisoft Montreal]

The greatest aspects of this game though, apart from the deep rooted elements of exploration, are both the simplicity and danger of the world in which you play. The simplicity of the world can be seen through the tribal warfare that takes place as well as the need to hunt and survive. Hunting is a big part of the game, often placing you on an adrenaline pumping stage where you and a herd of mammoths are the actors.

But it's at night that the world is most dangerous. Animals hunt in packs, and are more numerous once the sun has gone down. You have to think before you swim, think before you eat your last piece of meat and think before you set off into the wilderness without warm clothing. These moments of action and tension are what players seek in prehistoric video games.

They Could Bridge The Gap To The Unknown And The Mysterious

Set in the Neolithic period, a few thousand years after Far Cry Primal, WiLD looks set to be the next game to take us to the land of ancient man. The game is set in a map that constitutes all of Europe, at least a procedurally generated version of it, which has dynamic weather and seasons. You will have the choice to continually explore this massive wilderness or stay in one place, this means that the game's story is essentially written by you.

As the main character will be a fully customizable shaman, it is also no secret that the game will focus on the mysterious and the unknown. Like in Far Cry Primal, the ability to control and tame animals is here as well, except in WiLD you will be able to play as any animal in the entire game.

Bridging the gap. [Credits: WiLD/Wild Sheep Studio]
Bridging the gap. [Credits: WiLD/Wild Sheep Studio]

Our ancestors lived in a world where the gods were as real as the grass beneath their feet, and magic was a part of every day life. It is difficult, but also awesome, to try and imagine what was going through the brains of our ancestors when they witnessed a lightning strike or looked up at the stars.

WiLD is attempting to tap into these emotions and enable the descendants of the homo sapiens to connect with them via an interactive experience. It's no wonder that we're so obsessed with prehistoric games as of late!

Are you looking forward to WiLD or a fan of prehistoric games?

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