Fuseworks Media

Dinosaurs roam again thanks to Company-X

Hundreds of gamers have poured praise on the first of Hashbane Interactive’s gameplay videos for dinosaur action-adventure game Instinction.

The game publisher posted the first of three gameplay videos on YouTube in mid-January, receiving hundreds of comments from gamers. “Can’t wait – I’ve been praying for a single player dino shooter for years!”

“This looks great . . . this also gives a little bit of ‘Peter Jackson’s King Kong’ vibe.”

“I thought this was supposed to be gameplay. This looks like a frickin movie! My eye holes need more joy!!!”

Set in a prehistoric era amidst extinct creatures, ravenous beasts, and ancient ruins, Instinction combines combat and exploration with a great narrative, stunning locations, and pristine visual effects. The game, developed and published by Hashbane – and funded with a $2 million investment from Hillfarrance Venture Capital – allows players to explore the Valley of the Rift, a vast and living world hidden within the Yucatán Peninsula, populated by living dinosaurs and protected by the people of a hidden civilisation.

“Instinction is where history, fantasy and education meet entertainment,” said Hillfarrance Venture Capital founder and managing partner Rob Vickery.

“The game’s trailer has already garnered significant attention, surpassing 200 million views on YouTube and hundreds of thousands of Wishlists on Steam. That demonstrates a robust commercial potential. This enthusiasm, coupled with the unique opportunity to aid palaeontologists in crafting more authentic narratives about dinosaur life, presented a compelling business case for our investment.”

The pedigree of the artists behind Instinction reads like a Hollywood blockbuster résumé. The team’s prior creature artist and written work includes BBC’s Prehistoric Planet, House of the Dragon, the Oscar winning, 1917, and multi-award-winning game God of War: Ragnarok. But even the best pedigree doesn’t guarantee success.

“Because of my obsession with dinosaurs, I have a natural bias, so I had to be very careful about the due diligence process. I don’t just like dinosaurs, I am obsessed with them. My goal was to ensure that their approach to making the game was scalable, sustainable, and an effective way of building what would become quite an expensive game,” said Vickery.

To avoid bias, Vickery partially delegated the due diligence to Hillfarrance principle, Alex Dam, who tasked Company-X with the technical assessment on the in-progress game development and decisions that were being made. Company-X, New Zealand’s leader in VR and simulation software, took a deep dive into the functional and technical operations of teams and systems.

As the global gaming market expands, New Zealand’s gaming sector is on the cusp of exponential growth. This surge positions the country at the forefront of an evolving industry. In partnership with Company-X, Hillfarrance plans to continue to fuel the New Zealand industry’s growth with existing investments in Auckland based Space Rock Games,’ Criminals Within, and a suite of others in the 2024 and 2025 pipelines.

“I can’t put my finger on why New Zealand’s so good at developing new games, but there’s something in the water,” Vickery said. “We are a nation of storytellers, and games are essentially just a new form of storytelling.”

Instinction is officially set to release on Steam in Q4 of 2025.