"Dozens in rural California have reported catching glimpses of a mysterious “dinosaur” or “bear-lizard” creature. Sightings range from Big Sur to Mt. Shasta. The image above—snapped by 15-year-old hiker Lacey Gonzales in a park just outside of Carmel—is the only known photographic image of the shy creature."
Midnight Sun, Deus Ex

The karkian is a creature in Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War.

Background[edit | edit source]

Being part of VersaLife's "Genetically Modified Organism Project", it is difficult to understand which DNA elements were part of the creature's makeup. The head, resembling a crocodile's, takes a large aspect of the body. Its small, black eyes are positioned in the front of the head, and are easily mistaken for nostrils. A karkian's entire body is covered in large, thick spines, and its skin is almost impenetrable. The larger females of the species ferociously guard their young, and attack any whom they see as a threat. Karkian young are smaller versions of the adult species, but are completely dependent on their mothers to bring them food. If they are not fed, they will turn upon their brothers and sisters.

Possibly due to their origins, karkians work well with another species of creature, the greasel. Greasels will yell to any nearby karkians when food is spotted. Interestingly, greasels will feast on karkian young if left to their own devices. While appearing slow and ponderous, an enraged karkian can run extremely quickly. When attacking humans, a karkian will typically attempt to incapacitate the legs, and then finish with a series of deep bites to the neck.

Karkians were researched in secret, and their existence was covered from the general public. They were rarely sighted, making them no more than an urban myth. This changed after the Collapse, which allowed karkians and greasels to thrive in the resulting chaos. Even in major urban areas such as Seattle they can be found roaming the sewers and tunnels. As their population started growing, so did awareness for their existence.

Development[edit | edit source]

Karkians were mentioned in the 1997-1999 Deus Ex development document.

Official karkian development section:


Size: Large, crocodile-size.

Demeanor: Territorial loners. Hostile toward all others, including its own kind. Vicious. Description: Genetically maniulated, nano-augmented crocodile (i.e., a powerful, reptilian quadruped). Unlike crocs, the Karkian has a stubby tail, making it less suited to life in the water. The seemingly armored skin of the ordinary crocodile becomes literal armor, as the nanites form a protective covering the entire body. An elongated, almost eel-like head is filled with razor-sharp teeth. Binocular vision and elongated claws complete the picture.

Location: Found in Majestic 12 nano-labs, particularly VersaLife. Not really a threat unless released from their pens. Then they can threaten the PC or be unleashed on unsuspecting NPCs.

Role: The Majestic 12 assault bio-weapon program wasn’t limited to experiments with mammals (e.g., orangutans). There were those within the organization who saw greater potential, if less innate intelligence, in reptilian creations. With images of Tyrannosaurus Rex in mind’s eye, the researchers set out to use nanotechnology to manipulate crocodile DNA to create a part-croc, part-dinosaur, part-machine, all killer creature. The effort was as ill-fated as the State-side orangutan program but both programs provided valuable data on the effects of nano-augmentation that allowed Majestic 12 to create the player character. The curious thing about the Karkian is that it proved surprisingly passive. It waited for prey to come to it, rather than pursuing it vigorously (though it considered any creature that ventured within range to be prey, even creatures of its own kind…) It also proved remarkably resistant to commands or attempts to control and direct its behavior. Finally, and most unusually, the Karkian, to the surprise of researchers, established a symbiotic relationship with another VersaLife experimental creature, the Greazel (see below).

Combat Notes: Moves relatively slowly and has claws that are better suited to pinning a foe than doing actual damage. Even its jaws, though powerful, are more designed for crushing bones than attacking fighting prey. Doesn’t seem like much of a threat until tackled in combination with a pack of Greazels – together, the two creature types work together, they’re pretty formidable."

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

The karkian can be described as a large brown reptilian creature, approximately six feet long and two feet wide (fully grown).

Karkian attacks include biting, bumping, and charging. Their aggression towards human beings is explained due to them being held captive in cages and having a primitive instinct.

In Deus Ex[edit | edit source]

Karkians are highly aggressive, charging the player and dealing heavy damage. There are two varieties of Karkians: the small ones (weaker and delicate) and the big ones (stronger and resistant). They can be used as distractions in some sections of the game, such as the secret MJ12 Base beneath UNATCO, but much later on they will appear in Ocean Lab and Area 51, where they have to be challenged or avoided. They are very voracious and will only attack when there isn't a nearby corpse on which they can devour, which the player can use to their advantage. However, they lack the ability to jump, to which the player can also use by standing atop crates, but however they can jump out of water bodies if feeling aware of the player's presence. They are usually found swimming.

In Deus Ex: Invisible War[edit | edit source]

Karkians in Invisible War are slightly scaled-down size-wise, but are nonetheless still highly aggressive. They can be found fairly early in Seattle, but are less common later on, with some appearing in Antarctica. In the beta version, the big variant of the animal was also meant to appear.

"Karkians are genetically manipulated reptilian quadrupeds, largely based on crocodile DNA. They are territorial loners, with crushing jaws and razor sharp teeth. They are slow moving predators, who will not race to attack, but are truly formidable in conjunction with greasels, another species of transgenic with which they share an unexpected symbiotic bond."
— Cut Museum Guide, Deus Ex: Invisible War

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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