To put it in a way that almost anyone can understand, Jurassic World Evolution is the RollerCoaster Tycoon of dinosaur theme park management. It was developed by Frontier Developments, the Cambridge, England-based studio that worked on the RollerCoaster Tycoon series, including RCT 3, then the similar Thrillville and, most recently, the spiritual successor Planet Coaster.
In other words, these people know how to build a theme park simulator. But they've done more than that, including the massive space trading and adventure game Elite: Dangerous. And now they accept dinosaurs.
Jurassic World Evolution challenges you to lead your own Jurassic Park, which begins modestly but eventually spreads throughout the legendary Five Island Archipelago of the series. You have the freedom to explore and hatch, which dinosaurs you want, the tools that attract park visitors from near and far, and the resources to deal with the chaos that the vagaries of the game inflict on you ̵
We've teamed up with Michael Brookes, Game Director of Jurassic World Evolution, and Chief Designer Andy Fletcher to chat about it, we can expect when the game arrives on PC, PS4 and Xbox One this summer. Read our full interview below.
GameSpot: What do we see in this demo, how big is the whole of a play?
Michael Brookes: It's always difficult to answer because you're trying to distill the game mechanics into the few important things you need. I think most of them were covered. Much subtlety was not necessarily covered, and besides, you did not have the whole progression associated with it, and you did not really see the effects of some of the misfortunes, such as illness and weather, sabotage and all that
That brings me to my next question, which says that a Jurassic Park movie is not interesting unless something goes wrong, while your goal in a management style game is to make things go smoothly. How do you reconcile these things?
Andy Fletcher: This is one of the ways that progress through the game really helps. Because you learn the basics on the first island, and it's more of an accumulation, you know, you are expanding your first island, and there are only minimal things. I mean, if you really want dinosaurs to go in between your guests, you can have it. It's a kind of balance between a progression system and a sandbox system.
But it's more than you come to the later islands, this challenge comes in. So you'll have power cuts, you'll do it. Storms bring out fences and you'll have sabotage elements. And you will definitely suffer disasters or emergencies, and it's about how you manage them. It adds another level to the challenge. As you say, it's also the fun of fiction, you know, it's when things – I mean, watching dinosaurs running through a crowd of guests, never get old. It is so much fun.
If you make it that way, I feel a bit bad.
Fletcher: Well, yes, but that's part of the fiction. But it's something you have to deal with a couple of times, so it's pretty quick: "How fast can I react to it and prevent it from happening again?"
Brookes: That's what we did. I've been trying hard, especially vehicle management, to make sure you can give executive control to the elements that respond to these crises. Because as you saw in the demo, you can also jump in there and do it yourself, and if you master it skillfully, you can do it faster than the AI, which is convenient because it gives you those "heroic moments," if you just want to dive.
So, how much of the game has this potential to be more action-based?
Brookes: I would stress that this is not an action game in itself. There are some action elements where you can do that. But that really scales, depending on what goes wrong. But of course there is a problem-free aspect in the sense that you can refill the feeder with the 4×4 for example, but you also have the photo mode, so you can go around and take pictures of the dinosaurs and make some money with it.
To go back a bit to dinosaurs racing through the masses – I think part of the fun of this genre is sometimes seen as f ** * Upstairs we can make it for the guests. How aware are you of this style of the player when you make a game like this?
Brookes: We make sure we choose a 16 or a teen rating so we can show the effects of those events without going into extra blood and all that. So we want to make sure it's something you see, and it's the same in the movies – you rarely see any guts or anything like that. There are a few examples where this did not happen, but most of the time there is a "grating" and a bit of blood.
So let's make sure we keep it within those limits, but of course there's the moment You release a dinosaur or it breaks a fence, people around it will just run. But you have things you can do to prevent that – you can set up emergency shelters, so you activate the shelters, it sounds the alarm, they can run into the shelters for protection, you have to get the ACU to calm them down , But of course, if it comes close to the guest, it is dangerous.
So there are things I can do to prevent guests from getting hurt. But are there things I can do to make it easier? Can I build a fence around her and let go of a dinosaur?
Andy Fletcher: There are ways you can construct this situation, yeah. But you can not build housing either. We will not stop you. You can just leave your dinosaurs free in the park and we want players to have that freedom in play. But I find it very interesting that you have to build a good park to bring the chaos to a really high level. You have to build a good park before many people show up and endure all the chaos you are going to cause.
And I apologize in advance for making your beautiful game in Jurassic Park: Saw.
Brookes: I do not think you'll be the only one.
Can we talk about the influence of the films, the originals and even the new ones? Where do you come from the most?
Brookes: It's first and foremost a Jurassic World game, but from the beginning Universal has been a big supporter of what we do. And they agreed that all the fans of the original films are too, and we should try to get as much of it into the game as possible. A good example of this is [Jeff Goldblum]. He is a key figure in the story.
Fletcher: Yes, it is our connection to the earlier films, and there are many references and Easter eggs that are included in the game and refer to the entire canon. So I think it's sort of nice that it has connections to all the films in the franchise.
Brookes: And regarding [Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom]we've been working closely with Universal to make sure we meet what's going to happen in this movie, though I can not reveal what that is.
Oh, but you know it?
Brookes: Yeah, we've worked with them to make sure we know what's happening and everything is synchronized at the right time.
Well, Jurassic World had stuff like the old jeeps and the abandoned parts of the park showed that everything is in the same continuity. Is the game falling somewhere in this kind of canon timeline?
Brookes: So I think [Jurassic World director] Colin Trevorrow has used a very interesting sentence in a recently released tweet about which the games are usually "gentle canon" so you're pulling from the movies and their inspiration, but I think we have some leeway to control the path a bit. So in our case we have the archipelago, the five islands, the Five Deaths, which were never really exploited in the movies except for Isla Sorna. So we also expand on these additional islands.
Fletcher: Yes, and we have a few new characters in it that represent the various departments of the Hammond Foundation, but obviously the subjects of "security" and "science" and "entertainment" are them through the books and movies as well curious; excited. Although these characters were created for our game, they represent themes from the franchise. So everything connects again.
So let's talk a bit about Jeff Goldblum. How high was his engagement and how did it work with him?
Brookes: He is the consummate professional. The teams that made all the sound recordings with him, he held his character, he corrected the writing to make sure that it was dr. Ian Malcolm was, and in terms of the game he is the main character. The only thing more important than him is the player himself. He is always there. He's the conscience because he knows it's a crazy idea to build these parks and he will not let you forget that. But it is also the vehicle through which you will learn more about what the narrative leads through the islands while working in the various departments. But he is somehow the central figure, bringing everything together and producing insights and points in different directions.
Fletcher: He is a kind of voice of reason, but he also intervenes in the subject of the same, inevitable chaos that we have in play. These emergency situations will happen and you need to manage them as much as possible. His character is always somehow – in the movies he always predicts that this will happen.
And I imagine in the game, whenever that happens, he'll show up and say, "I told you."
Brookes: There's a brilliant line, if yours first dinosaur dies. "Could you do something about it? Of course not."
Fletcher: I think when we got his voice in the game for the first time, it changed the game. We had a phrase in the game before, so we had all the dialogues in mind, but it was just one [robotische Stimme]. And then Jeff came in and it was just like, "Wow, that really feels like a Jurassic World game."
Jurassic World Evolution will be releasing digitally on PS4, PC and Xbox One on June 12th and physically on July 3rd for PS4 and Xbox One.