Jurassic Park Survival is a game that I have frequently glimpsed in my dreams ever since I was a kid. An interactive experience where instead of letting us build theme parks or murder dinosaurs from the comfort of an arcade cabinet, we are instead thrust into the events of the legendary film with few means to defend ourselves.
Hiding away in the kitchen with velociraptors, praying that stray ladles aren’t inches away from wreaking your destruction against the tile floor, or exiting the iconic gate only to be greeted by a bloodthirsty T-rex, know this. Due to lack of movement and burnt glow may be the only means of bringing it alive.The trailer for Saber Interactive’s upcoming adventure was mostly bits of horror-themed fan service to the original film, but it actually does a good job of selling what this game could be, and why it already has me so excited.
Perhaps most importantly, Survival immediately reminded me of Alien: Isolation from The Creative Assembly. For years, I’ve been shouting from the rooftops that Jurassic Park is a perfect candidate for this kind of formula, swapping out the unstoppable Xenomorph for a series of dinosaurs capable of hunting you down at every opportunity.With very few means of fighting back and possibly not being trained to handle firearms, you will have no choice but to hide and outwit your larger opponents while solving puzzles and finding a way to escape.
This kind of game writes itself, and I’m very glad Saber has decided to take on this task, even if the finished product doesn’t lean fully into survival horror. It’s described as an ‘action-adventure’ in the official announcement, so there’s a solid chance that we’ll have weapons, or at least a means of defending ourselves against hordes of dinosaurs.The trailer doesn’t play into that element though, instead deciding to stress the isolation (wahey) and anxiety of now being alone on an island filled with dinosaurs who want nothing more than to eat your ass.
The only glimpse of actual gameplay footage we get comes right at the end of the trailer, when protagonist Dr. Maya Joshi is left behind on Isla Nublar after Alan Grant and his friends manage to escape there. The fallen dinosaur bones in the Visitor Center Plaza show that the events we remember have already occurred, leaving nothing but this soaking wet banner flapping in the wind.Maya is also injured, writhing in pain as a herd of dinosaurs begins to chase her. Some people may be curious, while others have already marked him as prey. It’s ripe with fan service, but still tense in that classic Spielbergian way, where you can’t help but hang on the edge of your seat. Hopefully, the real thing will come out.
Survival is going to work on the whims of nostalgia, although subverting the familiar with a movie I’ve seen dozens of times can also act as one of its greatest strengths. An entire island filled with familiar landmarks and intelligent dinosaurs, allowing you to treat doomed attractions as the tenets of an immersive sim filled with dead employees, scribbled notes, or nice clues pointing to a deeper narrative. Survival remains our main objective, but that won’t stop us from taking in the sights or moving slowly through the park in fear of being spotted.