‘Lego Jurassic World’ Roars Onto The Scene – Forbes

Yesterday marked the official release of Jurassic World in the United States. The film has already been released in China, seeing over $17M in sales. Also launching is the Lego video game of the same name. Lego Jurassic World marks the 30th (give or take) game set in the Jurassic Park universe.

The first game was released by the developer Ocean for the NES. There was also a Game Boy game that followed a similar in-game plot. Interestingly enough, all the early games followed more of the novel storyline than the film storyline.

The franchise holds several arcade games, a number of plots based on the films, direct film tie-ins, at least one fighting game, several building games, a handful of mobile games, one theme park tie-in game, and a bunch of original plots. Though, it should be noted that some of the original plots take from proposed sequels to the films, or ‘what ifs’ form the films as well. In addition, the franchise has what could be considered the worst game ever made.

And no, not the Atari E.T. game.

Developer Seamus Blackley (who is famous for co-creating the XBOX) created Jurassic Park: Trespasser in the mid-90s. Eventually, it was released alongside the VHS launch of the second film of the franchise, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. While the game was supposed to be innovative, it fell flat. Flat, as in considered the worst game of 1998. The worst game ever by Seamus Blackley himself.

The 3-D graphics were supposed to be cutting edge, but had extremely high system requirements in order to function properly. The artificial intelligence designed for the dinosaurs and for in-game problems was so buggy that they had to scrap the mood system entirely. What should have been a PC gaming masterpiece became travesty. While it got several things right, the rest, just fell flat. It even received a review score of 1 out of 10, the lowest I’ve come cross.

The other games in the franchise run the gauntlet in terms of value. The early games were fantastic, and extremely difficult. The film tie-ins matched up decently. The arcade games are fun, but offer nothing resembling story to compare.

Lego Jurassic World presents something unique. General thought of the film might currently be mixed (until weekend ticket sales are announced Sunday night) but the game shows far more potential. While it is true that this game takes the series out of more adult fare and puts it square in the center of family friendly, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As good as a game might be that followed the books (or films) closely, it would warrant a limited audience. It’s hard to find a lot of people who want to see Dennis Nedry get cut to ribbons in his car. Michael Crichton gets fairly graphic in his descriptions, and some scenes are not for the faint-hearted. using legos will open the title up to a much wider audience.

The game will feature all four films as playable adventures. The developers at Traveller’s Tales have split the game into five levels per film, or twenty overall. This is something that typically happens in the Lego games, mostly to give players more time to explore, collect coins, break stuff, and build contraptions to solve puzzles. By putting in those extra moments, the Lego games don’t always follow exact storyline of source material, which is fine. To date, Lego video games have sold 118 million copies worldwide. Obviously, Traveller’s Tales is doing something right.

Gamers will be able to explore all four films. There’s over 100 playable characters for gamers to enjoy, including dinosaurs.  That’s right, dinosaurs will build Legos. On the plus side, the game takes shots directly from the films for cut scenes. I’m not entirely sure if they’ve been rotoscoped in, or the animators at Traveller’s Tales spent the time to re-create each thrilling moment. Either way, it’s interesting. Another interesting factor will be the fact that they lifted audio directly from the films. Clearly, they wanted the game to be as close to the films as possible, which is a good thing. Of course, the question is, since it’s the property of Universal that’s getting loaned out to Warner Bros., do the original actors in the films get a royalty check for their voices being used, or do they just get to play and hear themselves, remembering fondly being on set?

To date, the Jurassic Park films have made over $2B, not including Jurassic world. The video games so far have only sold a reported 2 million copies. Something tells me that the Lego version is going to do much better. Odds are, the one title will outsell everything else, combined. Considering 14 games created using Lego have done so (that’s 14 releases, 6 individual titles), it shouldn’t be hard for the dinosaurs to repeat the process.