The time has arrived! Second Extinction has arrived on Xbox Game Pass and is available to play right now, serving as a 3-player co-op shooter in which your goal is to wipe out the mutated dinosaurs that have taken over the planet. It's a great game to play with friends, as we recently highlighted in our hands-on preview.
To mark the arrival of the mutated dinos on Xbox Game Pass, we spoke to game director Simon Vickers at Systemic Reaction about what players can expect from Second Extinction, why the team decided to bring it to Xbox Game Pass, what the development process was like for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and more!
Pure Xbox: Hi Simon! Could you give us a quick introduction and your role on Second Extinction?
Simon: Hi! My name is Simon Vickers and I’m the Game Director on Second Extinction.
Pure Xbox: In a nutshell, what is Second Extinction and what can we expect from it?
Simon: At its absolute nutshelliest, Second Extinction is an intense, 3 player co-op shooter where you and two friends drop down to a dinosaur infested Earth and attempt to complete missions and objectives before bugging out.
Pure Xbox: Can you tell us a bit about the War Effort and how your actions shape the world?
Simon: Absolutely! The War Effort is what we call our community driven metagame. It’s a map that overlays the regions and indicates the Threat Levels for those regions - in other words, the level of dinosaur presence. A low Threat Level means the dinos have been mostly driven underground and fewer of them are around in this area. A high Threat Level indicates that the dinos have fully taken over that region. Every action a player takes, success or failure, is tracked as they play the game.
Twice a week these results are tallied up and the War Effort map is updated to show the effects players have had on regions - dinosaurs can push back in certain regions while humanity can gain a foothold in others, dealing out new challenges for players each time they log in. If a region gets neglected for too long, it will increase in Threat Level until an Emergence Event occurs: that’s when the challenge level ramps up and Big Baddies could emerge.
Pure Xbox: It's a co-op focused game, but is Second Extinction suitable for solo players as well? What would you recommend?
Simon: Second Extinction is first and foremost a co-op game. If you attempt any of our missions from the off you’re going to be in for a hard time full of teeth and claws. That doesn’t mean, however, there isn’t something to do for players going it alone. Expedition Mode is a more free-form experience where players can drop down, complete objectives in low threat areas and collect upgrade materials. These materials will help you invest in making your weapons more powerful and get you ready for taking on missions if you so wish. We already have a dedicated group of hardcore players who love bragging about completing a mission on its hardest difficulty by themselves.
Pure Xbox: How many different dinosaur types are in the game, and have you got a personal favourite?
Simon: That’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is! Currently we have 4 species of dinosaur each with an array of what we call ‘mutations’. These are the results of evolution gone wild, altering those base species in horrifying ways giving them unique looks and ways to kill players.
I’m a big fan of our ‘Flatback’, our take on the Ankylosaurus, a hulking armoured brute that requires considered tactics and moves in an explosive and unexpected way
Pure Xbox: You're launching into Xbox Game Preview - what's the reasoning behind that, and how are you expecting the game to evolve over the coming weeks / months / years?
Simon: We managed to get to a point pretty early on where we managed to make shooting dinosaurs in the face fun. We were confident in that moment to moment gameplay but what we didn’t know was how well our longer form and community based systems would function. The War Effort is core to how we deliver new content and keep players engaged, but without a pool of players there was only so much testing we could do. Preview allows us to get the game into players’ hands and let them tell us what they like and want, allowing them the chance to shape the game on the road to full launch.
Pure Xbox: Second Extinction feels like a perfect addition to the Xbox Game Pass lineup on Xbox. Why did you decide to bring the game to Game Pass, and how did it come about?
Simon: It absolutely is! I believe Microsoft approached us, I’m not privy to the business side of things but they’d given us such a great platform back at the Xbox Reveal event last year, it really felt like a no brainer. As a relatively small studio, it’s incredibly empowering to be able to open our game up to as wide an audience as Game Pass allows us to. Coupled with Preview it's essentially giving us access to a huge number of voices that can give us such valuable input and feedback.
Pure Xbox: How has the experience been developing for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S? Any particular challenges with either system?
Simon: As a creative, honestly, the best thing when developing for a new platform is how little you have to compromise on your decisions and in that regard the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S has been an absolute dream in how few exceptions you have to make for it.
Pure Xbox: Any final words for our Pure Xbox community ahead of Second Extinction's launch on Xbox Game Pass?
Simon: I’d just like to reiterate how much we value our players' feedback and we can’t wait to finally be opening the doors to everyone and welcoming them in. To be as involved as possible please consider signing up to our official Discord channel where you can find information on updates, tell us about your experience with the game and find fellow like-minded dino-killers to party up with!
We'd like to thank Simon for taking the time to talk with us. Second Extinction is now available with Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Preview, playable on console, PC and Android with Xbox Cloud Gaming. Happy dino hunting!