It’s been two years since Jurassic World, but we've got less than one year before Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom drops - so we’re back into tie-in season. The first salvo comes in the form of this trailer for Jurassic World: Evolution, a theme-park simulator hitting consoles and PC next year:
Jurassic Park games have had a long and varied history. Okay: it's mostly bad. Shooters don’t really fit Jurassic Park's more physical model of action, but that never stopped developers from churning out a whole bunch of them, for arcades, PC, and consoles alike. Trespasser, a 1998 Lost World tie-in, was tragically rushed to market before it was ready, meaning that its many innovations - an open world, systemic AI, a fully-modeled first-person character, and a materials-based physics system - got buried underneath a lack of quality control. Not even Telltale could make a good Jurassic Park game - and they even made the friggin' Walking Dead work.
So we’re still waiting for a break in that routine, and Evolution stands a good chance of being it. A theme park simulator seems like such an obvious genre for the franchise, I’m amazed there hasn’t been one already, outside of mobile games. Evolution will feature all the construction and management gameplay of your average sim (and all the disaster control, one assumes), with the addition of genetic tinkering to build new dinosaurs. Finally, something decent might come from Jurassic World’s central conceit.
Jurassic World: Evolution comes to us from Frontier Developments, the developer behind Planet Coaster, Kinectimals, and Elite: Dangerous - and also, notably, Zoo Tycoon. I played Zoo Tycoon. It let you feed your animals using Kinect, which I appreciated. I’m guessing that won’t be a feature in this game. And that makes me sad.