We had the opportunity to play the beginning of Jurassic World Evolution and can now share that gameplay footage featuring Senior Audio Designer Dylan Vadamootoo helping walk us through. Jurassic World Evolution is the latest sim/tycoon park builder game from Frontier Developments, the makers of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series, Planet Coaster, and Elite: Dangerous. Their history with sims and park builders also includes dealing with wildlife in games including Kinectimals and Zoo Tycoon which makes Frontier a no-brainer for Universal Interactive to work with in bringing dinosaurs into a triple-A theme park game, especially one that celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first Jurassic Park movie hitting theaters.
There have been similar games in the Jurassic Park franchise over the years including Ludia's mobile game Jurassic Park Builder and long before it, Blue Tongue Entertainment's Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis during the Xbox and PlayStation 2 era. None of these games have been as big or as high in production values, and none of them had Jeff Goldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm as a main character helping players throughout the entire experience.
Jurassic World Evolution is very comprehensive management game but paced in a way where players will learn as they go without being overwhelmed. There's added detail and lore in every layer of the game should players want more, and in addition to the obvious pillars of gameplay - researching and breeding upwards of 30 of the best looking video game dinosaurs ever (each gets their own stats and can be upgraded themselves in the breeding process) to building the park itself - there's also everything from dig sites (based on real-world locations of dig sites) to find fossils for revenue or for extra dino DNA to perfect that genome, to researching and upgrading structures for park maintenance and attendees. Players can even manually control ranger teams to manage repairs or dinos.
"We wanted to make the best dinosaurs you've ever seen in a video game." - Lead Designer Andy Fletcher
Players choose from divisions that form The Hammond Foundation (science, entertainment, and security) to acquire contracts from which help with different aspects of the parks and here there's a careful balance to be had between success and player preference. Contracts help bring in revenue but also pull players through the story and expanding their park. The type of park, how it's designed, and what it's focuses are depend on player choice and this extends beyond one island - but to all five. Jurassic World Evolution pulls from all four Jurassic Park films and we suspect, could have some tie-ins, and potential post-release content related to Fallen Kingdom.
As players gain reputation and begin building theme parks on additional islands, the additional unlocks and research available can be applied to previous parks on previous islands. Think bigger, better fences for instance. But of course, this is a Jurassic World type of theme park and it just can't be that easy. Disasters are a given. We've all seen the movies. From very bad weather that can knock out power to simpler issues like dinosaurs falling ill. These are things that can happen during gameplay but some are preventable. Storm shelters can be built for guests and keep dinosaurs healthy in designing their pens in an optimal way (is their water, enough food available, do pack animals have a herd? etc.).
In the design side, players can manipulate the landscape, from raising and lowering land and clearing trees to adding water and building paths for guests - ensuring they all connect to buildings (along with the necessary power) to keep the park operating.
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- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) release date: Jun 22, 2018