Jurassic World Evolution was one of the biggest surprises of 2018. It came out in a year full of monumental releases, and it was a licensed game to boot, so no one really expected an awful lot out of it. But Frontier Developments ended up delivering one of the most fun and addictive game of that year that catered to a wide range of players- fans of Jurassic Park, fans of management simulators, and, you know, just fans of dinosaurs in general.
And I think its upcoming sequel, Jurassic World Evolution 2, has a pretty good chance of surprising people as well. Yes, it’s coming out in November, a month that’s crowded with some of the hottest releases of the year, and hell, it launches on the exact same day as a little game known as Forza Horizon 5– but everything that Frontier has shown of it so far makes Jurassic World Evolution 2 sound like the perfect sequel, and I can’t help but be excited about it.
It’s clear that it’s building on the solid foundations laid down by its predecessor, which means that, just like the first game, the second one is going to be brimming with love for dinosaurs and for the Jurassic Park/World property. That was an area where the first game excelled exactly as much as it should have, with faithful gameplay mechanics that worked perfectly within the setting, meticulously crafted dinosaurs and animations that you could just stare at for minutes on end, and scenarios and gameplay systems that seemed like the most natural fits for a Jurassic World game. Frontier clearly knows its audience, and clearly, the development team is full of fans of the source material, which always bodes great things for licensed games. If Jurassic World Evolution 2 can achieve similar heights, there’s plenty of reason to be excited about it.
But its the new gameplay additions and improvements that Jurassic World Evolution 2 is making that are the most exciting. Its predecessor excelled at many things, but the actual park management side of the gameplay experience was a bit lackluster in some regards- especially in terms of guest features. The sequel, however, is promising some much-needed improvements. In Evolution 2, guests will have unique personalities that will impact their expectations, demands, and moods, and players will have to keep all of that in mind as they build their park and add more dinosaur enclosures, buildings, and amenities, and even customize various guest buildings to cater to specific crowds.
But its not just the weaker aspects of the first game that will see notable improvements in the sequel- the good stuff is also going to be better, based on what Frontier Developments has revealed so far. For starters, there’s going to be more dinosaurs to unlock and put in your parks. That seems like an obvious improvement for a Jurassic World game, and with over 75 species included at launch, Evolution 2 won’t disappoint. Notably, many of these new and returning species will also be of the aquatic and flying kind, which in particular is something that fans of the first game are excited about. Jurassic World Evolution only added a few select flying dinosaurs to its roster with the Return to Jurassic Park expansion, while it never got aquatic dinosaurs, so to see the sequel having both of them available right off the bat is great.
If these marine and flying dinos can be as lovingly crafted and meticulously detailed as all the dinos in the first game were, their additions are likely going to be worth the wait. Meanwhile, even the action of extracting dinosaur DNA and incubating new dinosaurs will be more nuanced and complex than in the first game. Rather than doing it through specific buildings, you’ll now have to do it through a team of Scientists that you’ll be recruiting yourself based on unique attributes and skills (which, of course, can be upgraded). Managing recruitment, each individual scientist’s skillset, their progress, and even things such as fatigue and satisfaction will be an important part of the gameplay loop this time, it seems.
Meanwhile, it looks like dinosaur behaviours and interactions are also going to see significant systemic improvements, and if things work the way they should and the way Frontier says they will, gameplay should be much more nuanced and dynamic. Territories will be an important concept in Jurassic World Evolution 2, with each dinosaur’s territories shifting based on needs for social interactions, food, water, different types of land, and more. Feeders are also no longer a thing for herbivores, who will now eat directly from trees and vegetation, which means they will tend to move where they find the food where they want to eat.
These shifting territories for dinosaurs means there might be territorial conflicts, and conflicts will see different kinds of interactions and fights based on dynamic behaviour. Predators will chase after their prey more dynamically, smaller dinosaur species will attack and hunt in packs (especially against foes of larger sizes), and even things like weather will have different impacts on each dinosaur’s behaviours and needs. Speaking of which, which rain, thunderstorms, sandstorms, snow, and more, Jurassic World Evolution 2 will also have various new weather patterns to contend with.
These will go hand in hand with larger and more varied maps. More real estate, of course, means having more room for dinosaurs and enclosures and guest facilities and what have you, all of which has obvious gameplay advantages. More importantly however, with Jurassic World Evolution 2 having maps set across the world instead of just a small collection of five islands, you can also expect more diversity in biomes, including frozen lands with snow, temperate grasslands, arid deserts, and much more. Variety is clearly something that this game is emphasizing quite a bit, and in games as systemic as this one, variety can lead to exciting gameplay opportunities.
Look, with games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 and Battlefield 2042 and so many more coming out in the final weeks and months of this year, obviously there’s no shortage of big blockbusters grabbing the headlines. Jurassic World Evolution 2 is, in comparison, a much more low-key release, appealing to a smaller crowd and offering a more niche kind of experience. But the experience that it’s offering sounds excellent. Maybe it’s just my personal bias given my love for the first game, or maybe it’s because the sequel seems like an exciting follow up that improves upon an already great game in smart ways- either way, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is shaping up great, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
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