Ever since Jurassic World Evolution was teased back in 2017, before releasing on Xbox One a year later, there has been a ton of hype around the dino-themed park-building extravaganza. Whether you have dipped your toe into Isla Nublar just a few times, or are a veteran park ranger with a host of dinosaurs to contend with, it’s a game that has managed to provide many great gaming opportunities. But now Jurassic World Evolution is available on Xbox Game Pass too, playable via the the cloud on mobile as well. We wanted to know more about not just how the game came about, and what is planned for the future, but why it has taken so long for Frontier to pull the trigger on the Xbox Game Pass route. That is where Brendon Morgan, producer at Frontier Developments, came in.
Hi, please could you introduce yourself. What is your role at Frontier Developments and on the creation of Jurassic World Evolution?
Hey! My name is Brendon Morgan and I’m a producer on the team here at Frontier Developments. Working on Jurassic World Evolution was my first role embedded into a game team and it’s been an amazing experience, getting to know everything that goes into making games and working on this incredible franchise. It can be an incredibly complex and challenging job making games, but my role in the team is to make sure we are all working together towards the same goal and at the end we have a brilliant game for our fans.
And can you sell it to us – why should gamers be looking at spending some time with Jurassic World Evolution?
I think everyone at some point or another has dreamed of either running their own version of Jurassic World, or just letting the dinosaurs run loose! Bringing Jurassic World Evolution to Xbox Game Pass is a fantastic way to open the game up to so many gamers who might not have had the opportunity to play the game before and experience some of the work we’ve put into the game to bring the Jurassic World experience to life.
For those who haven’t previously played the game, what is the best way to start? Any helpful hints to get a leg up in the whole creation of the greatest dino parks?
Unsurprisingly it’s really all about the dinosaurs! The key is making sure that you have a wide variety of as many dinosaurs as your park can contain. But that last word is really important, if you can’t contain the dinosaurs then you’ll have a large problem to deal with. Or worse, lots of large problems!
I would recommend that new players start off with the Campaign as that’ll help get you up to speed and give you plenty of hints on building out a series of successful parks.
How did the opportunity to create the game come about? Did you work closely with anyone involved in the films, or were you given the opportunity to roam free with the license?
We’ve worked very closely with Universal from the start of Jurassic World Evolution and they have been hugely helpful in providing ideas, making sure we kept our script in line with the film canon and also giving us the flexibility and resources we needed to make Jurassic World Evolution the game that we wanted it to be. It’s definitely a relationship that we are very grateful of.
And similarly, how much did you call on the experts in the field, such as palaeontologists, to ensure that what was being included was as close to reality as possible?
We definitely had a lot of expert knowledge at hand for the development of Jurassic! From palaeontology expert Jack Horner, our fantastic Art team who did an incredible job researching every single dinosaur, to Frontier Development’s own Chief Creative Officer Jonny Watts who holds a degree in zoology!
I also learned first-hand that when it comes to palaeontology things are never really final as there are new finds and discoveries being made all the time. One of the highlights of the project for me was travelling down to the Natural History Museum in London and attending a talk from their palaeontology team. Some of the details of their work is fascinating, involving everything from tiny brushes to the LHC at CERN!
Delving into the game modes that are on the table, could you talk new players through the opportunities found in-game? We’ve got a full career, a sandbox mode, and challenge modes. How do all these fit together?
The campaign mode is the place for new players to start and is the best way to start off learning how to manage your park and your dinosaurs. This is also where you’ll meet the cast from the films as well a few other helpful members of the team.
Playing though the campaign will also unlock parts of the game for the Challenge and Sandbox modes, so these all fit together and gently ease players into the game. Sandbox is personally my favourite part of the game as we allow you to have unlimited cash and you can build your park with no constraints. For me that means all of the dinosaurs!
After previously releasing as a fully paid product, why is it only now that you’re dropping Evolution into Game Pass? Has the decision been made due to the success of Planet Coaster, or is it more the fact that Xbox players will be able to play via the power of Project xCloud on mobile devices?
We are super excited for Jurassic World Evolution players to be able to play the game on Project xCloud and we feel that this is the perfect time to bring this beloved franchise to a wider audience who might not have played the game before, I mean who doesn’t want to run their own dinosaur park?! I’m certainly a big fan of the way that xCloud and Game Pass can be used together to jump into new games and try them out, wherever you are!
Talking game controls, will there be any touch options in place for Evolution through Game Pass?
We did a lot of work to make sure that the controller setup for Jurassic World Evolution feels just right and based on how easy it is for players to connect their controller and play the game though xCloud we didn’t feel the need to introduce any specific touch options.
In terms of DLC, there are already numerous packs available for the game, all of which do something slightly different. If you had to pick one for any potential new park owner to add into their game, which would it be?
I think my favourite pack is Jurassic World Evolution: Return to Jurassic Park because we worked really hard to make sure we are as authentic to the films as possible and there are a lot of hints to that in the game, from the characters, to the buildings, the environments and the setup of some of the missions. It was definitely a lot of fun to play though some of those missions and listen to the original cast.
What are the plans going forward for the game? Are there still further content drops in the works?
Our main focus at this time is on delivering a great gameplay experience with Jurassic World Evolution on the Xbox Game Pass. We have nothing further to announce right now.
It’s coming up to three years since Jurassic World Evolution first released on Xbox One. Is there any consideration to potentially pushing a full Xbox Series X|S optimised version to market? If so, what changes could be on the cards? Is our desire to see a cooperative version of Evolution destined to drag on forever?
We’ve worked with the team at Xbox to make sure that Jurassic World Evolution runs brilliantly with the latest generation of Xbox Series consoles in compatibility mode, but we have nothing further to announce right now.
And finally, it’s pretty fair to say that both Jurassic World and Planet Coaster have both gone down brilliantly on console, so what’s next in Frontier’s goal of park simulation domination?
I think you’ll have seen how much work we put into our park simulation games with Jurassic World Evolution, Planet Coaster and Planet Zoo. We want to make authentic, compelling experiences that players want to return to time and time again. As such, we are always working away on what’s next, but that’s all I can say for now.
Huge thanks go out to Brendon at Frontier for sparing us some time. You can find Jurassic World Evolution available from the Xbox Store this very minute, playable on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and through Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud.