‘I guess we’ll just have to evolve, too…’ — Welcome to Jurassic World Evolution

And the award for the Most Unexpected Announcement of the Week goes to...

NEXT TIME, IT’LL BE FLAWLESS

Well, that was unexpected.

I must admit, back in June, when E3 came and went without so much as a whisper about a new Jurassic game — not even the long-rumoured Jurassic World: Survivor — I pretty much gave up on the idea. For then, at least. It was obvious something would come along eventually, but I’d resigned myself to waiting until sometime around the release of Fallen Kingdom next year.

In fact, when I tuned into Xbox’s Gamescom showcase yesterday afternoon, it was solely to keep an eye out for anything about the next Tomb Raider game. I wasn’t even paying much attention; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was on TV, and I got thoroughly distracted by reliving my utter disappointment with that shameful representation of the Battle of Hogwarts.

I didn’t stew in said disappointment for long, however. I had things to do, places to be, and so, after awhile, I got up to leave. Before I went, though, I turned to pick up my iPad — still streaming away, the sound muted — and that was when I saw it: a scene incredibly reminiscent of the opening moments of a very familiar film. There was an egg. There was an eye. And then there was a… T. rex?

I seized my iPad, fingers shaking as I tried to compose Tweet while still watching the video. After much accidental opening of unneeded apps (accompanied by a vehement profanity or two… or several…) I got there, posted it —

— and immediately headed to YouTube to watch the trailer again, start-to-finish. Those things I’d been meaning to do could wait.

There’s an egg. There’s an eye. There’s a T. rex. That T. rex attacks a group of workers attempting to repair a faulty fence; one of them throws his tablet — for reasons that’ll become clear in just a moment, we’ll go ahead an assume it’s an iPad — at the Rex in an effort to distract it from a fellow crew member. An Apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it’s absolutely no use against a tyrannosaur — as the iPad-throwing worker unfortunately discovers when he’s eaten a few seconds later.

Continuing its rampage, the Rex attacks a herd of parasaurolophus as the camera moves ever on to reveal — eventually — a fantastic view of Jurassic World itself.

That’s what did it.

More than anything in the film that inspired it, that shot made me fall in love with Jurassic World. As that wonderfully familiar music swelled, my heart skipped a beat and my breath caught in my throat. Re-watching the moment for the tenth, eleventh, twelfth time, it still does. It had such an effect on me that I was even willing to forgive the use of that horrendous alternate font in the following shot.

Was.

Tenth, eleventh, twelfth time through, that one’s starting to grate a little…

The trailer closes with a considerably less welcoming shot of our new favourite T. rex striking a familiar pose as a storm rages around her — which is a nice hint of the various non-dinosaur threats we might face in Evolution.

In the game to which this is obviously a spiritual successor, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, players had to deal with powerful storms and tornadoes, and it certainly seems like they’ll have to do so again here. But it would, given the apparent fiery premise of Fallen Kingdom, be silly not expect some sort of volcanic threat — which opens the door to a whole host of possibilities. Earthquakes? Floods? Landslides? I suppose we’ll find out next summer.

Evolution is being developed by the Cambridge-based Frontier Developments, a studio with considerable experience in the park-management space. Unfortunately, however, I have no experience with their games, and so have nothing of consequence to say about them. What I can say, though, is that I cannot wait to get my hands on Evolution. I still have my fingers firmly crossed for a more immersive, story-based adventure, but I suspect Evolution will more than tide me over until one comes along.

Of course, amongst the many questions its reveal raises, there’s one that stands out:

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR JURASSIC WORLD: SURVIVOR?

The honest answer? I have no idea. Maybe this is what Survivor evolved into. In fact, I’d probably assume that to be the case — if it weren’t for Twitter.

Back in March, in those dark days when a new Jurassic game was nothing but a hope and a dream, I stumbled upon @SurviveJurassic, an account dating from the same month in which Universal registered a trademark for Jurassic World: Survivor. This alone was interesting enough, but became even more so when I discovered two apparent alternate-language versions of the account, @JWSurvivorDE, and @JWSurvivorFR.

But why bring this up here, you ask? Because those accounts are still there, and still blank. You’d think they would’ve disappeared if Survivor had become Evolution

…that’s assuming they are indeed the placeholder accounts I suspect them to be, of course. They might prove to be nothing at all — and if that’s the case, no big deal. Either way, we’re definitely getting a new Jurassic game next summer.

On February 2, 2015 — back when my site was called JHNWRITES ABOUT GAMES and I still thought Jurassic World would be good — I published my first Jurassic-related article. At the end of it, and at the end of every Jurassic-related article since, there was a plea — now replaced with a slightly fancier version — to the video game developers of the world, asking whoever might stumble upon it to step forth and take on the task of creating a modern Jurassic game. Said plea was to be retired when — and only when — one was officially announced.

It’s with tremendous pleasure that I don’t include it here. Because it’s happening, friends. It’s finally happening.

Life, as it inevitably will, found a way.


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