Jurassic World Evolution 2 Anniversary: A Year Of Dinosaurs And Delights

This time last year, Jurassic World Evolution 2 was released. The construction and management simulation sequel is set after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and it’s your job to control and contain the dinosaurs that now freely roam the earth.

Over the past year, the game has grown, offering both paid DLC and free updates to round out the experience and bring in the events of Jurassic World: Dominion. As it hits its one-year anniversary, we’re looking back at the expansion of Jurassic World Evolution 2 and talking to some of the developers about the journey they’ve been on.

The game felt a little overlooked at launch, coming alongside several other high-profile releases. However, it has proven itself over time, especially as Game Pass opened it up to new audiences. I loved the game from the start, so much so that I wanted to just list it ten times for my Game of the Year list last year (not that I was allowed, spoilsports).

While I enjoyed the whole experience, the Dominion Expansion was a particular highlight. It synergies with the movie superbly, sliding alongside the game’s original narrative neatly. I also got to relive a few of the key moments in the movie that I really enjoyed. But Jurassic World Evolution 2 has something for everyone, as evidenced by the answers the developers gave when I asked about their fondest memories of the game’s first year.

“We showcased the game during an event at the Natural History Museum in London earlier this year, where I met players ranging from real palaeontologists to some very excitable younger fans,” producer Lucy Hicks tells me. “It was great fun answering all their questions and so lovely to hear how passionate they are about the game.” Game director Rich Newbold mentions this too, adding, “We got to meet so many young fans of the game, and it was amazing to see so many enthusiastic faces inside a building steeped in prehistoric history.”

Audio designer Henry Flewitt, meanwhile, shared an experience he had recently of seeing the game utilised in a unique way. “My favourite moment was discovering the YouTube channel ‘National Jurassic’ – they make nature documentary-style videos using in-game capture of dinosaurs in beautifully made parks that emulate a natural environment. I was thrilled to see how well the game suits their style.” he tells us. This use of the game to tell stories in a different way is something that is often unanticipated and showcases the talent in the fanbase as well as the versatility of the game.

Lead animator Amy Hook’s answer was driven by the fans, telling me of the reaction to Pterosaurs now attacking helicopters. “It was amazing to see the community reaction to the havoc now being wreaked in the skies,” she said. Although, this does take second place to a more personal achievement. “The most rewarding part was the response to the Quetzalcoatlus, as she was the tricky one due to her massive size! It just made it so worthwhile.”

Principal designer Dan Davis also loved the feedback. “As a team, we were thrilled with the reception to Chaos Theory mode,” he says. “We loved working out ways to pay homage to the distinctive aspects of each film during development and it was very rewarding to be able to offer players a way to connect to each era of the franchise.”

Away from personal achievements, Newbold explains how the team successfully iterated on the first Jurassic World Evolution, expanding on its strengths and focusing on management, environmental variation, the original narrative, and of course the dinosaurs.

“They’re the stars of the show,” says Newbold. “We’ve added more dynamic behaviours and depth to how they interact with other species through their hunts, fights, escapes, and [their own species] with social interactions.”

You can see where these promises are fulfilled in Jurassic World Evolution 2, with the team leaning into the narrative they created. It works alongside the movies in a way that explores the impact of dinosaurs on our world in a deeper and more meaningful way, bringing you right into the centre of these issues. “After the events of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, we were provided with a great opportunity to explore new and challenging ways of ‘palaeocuration’ and the management of dinosaur facilities, which are somewhat different to the traditional ‘Jurassic’ dinosaur-centric theme parks,” Newbold explains. “With our original narrative inspired by that ending, we were able to explore the impact of dinosaurs being out in the world. It also meant we could bring in those iconic film characters to support that story as the campaign unfolded.”

You don’t focus on creating attractions in the sequel, with importance placed on other issues, including stopping poachers from taking dinosaurs and selling them on the black market. There’s also a switch to seeing dinosaurs as a species to research, rather than just gawk at. All of this fits perfectly beside the most recent movie installment, Jurassic World Dominion.

“For the Dominion Biosyn Expansion, we were able to create exciting narratives inspired by the film to craft narrative opportunities set before and after its events,” Newbold says. “Again, it was great to be able to include those iconic characters that we’ve come to know and love over many years now.”

The Dominion Biosyn Expansion was the biggest update of the year. It leaned into the film narrative, expanding upon it and tying it into the original story that runs through the game’s campaigns. However, it wasn’t the only update of the year. The game has added ten new dinosaurs and some skin variations in three different DLC packs, also adding free content that enhances the gameplay experience.

Challenge levels have been added, as well as dinosaur wrangling abilities, new buildings, extra decorations, and the less enjoyable but very realistic ability for flying dinosaurs to hit your helicopter. These came alongside quality of life and accessibility adjustments, implemented after feedback from the community.

As the game has grown, so has the dinosaur count, and of course, we couldn’t end an interview without asking the question that truly matters, and finding out what the developers’ favourite dinosaurs are. Dan Davies answered with nostalgia saying “I will always hold a special affection for Kentrosaurus, we go back all the way to the development of the first Jurassic World Evolution.”

That sentiment is shared by Hook, who says, “It is hard to choose since there are so many. I will always be biased towards those dinosaurs I worked on, and of those, I’m going to have to say Suchomimus. She’s been my special girl ever since the first game.”

Flewitt also has personal attachments, telling me, “It’s hard to choose one, but for me, it would be between the Pyroraptor and Barbaridactylus! I had a great time designing the audio for these.”

Hicks is the most decisive: “My favourite dinosaur has got to be the Therizinosaurus, which arrived with our Dominion Biosyn Expansion, as it’s so unique,” she says. Finally, Rich Newbold is the exact opposite of Hicks’ clinical decision “I really enjoy all the prehistoric species that appeared in Jurassic World Dominion and that we added as part of the Dominion Biosyn Expansion, such as the Dimetrodon and the Therizinosaurus. They’re really great designs and unique in the way they look and move around.”

It looks like Therizinosaurus is edging this vote, although that could well change as we wait to see what the next year holds for Jurassic World Evolution 2.

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