Jurassic Park: Survival (lost build of cancelled movie tie-in third person shooter; 2000-2001)
Jurassic Park: Survival was meant to be an action-horror third-person shooter, developed by Savage Entertainment and published by Konami and Vivendi Universal Games, planned to be released in the Fall of 2001 for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox, with GameCube and Windows versions also in the works.
Jurassic Park: Survival was going to be one of several video and computer games that were released during the theatrical window of Jurassic Park III, some of which being Game Boy Advance titles published by Konami, however, during development it was decided to rework it into an original game rather than it being a direct adaptation of Jurassic Park III, although it would remain heavily inspired by the movie.
Due to disagreements between Savage Entertainment and Vivendi Universal, the game was ultimately cancelled and no builds have surfaced to date.
Jurassic Park: Survival was planned to be a third-person shooter that would blend elements from action games and survival horror, with some stealth elements in it. Apart from its limited arsenals such as a pistol and grenades, the player would be able to climb trees, hold onto ledges, and swim, among other actions. As seen in the trailer, the player would have a bullet time-like mechanic to pull stunts and shoot at dinosaurs and other enemies, reminiscent of the then-recent Max Payne. Puzzle-solving would also be a recurring element in the game’s levels, including hacking through terminals that would let the player release dinosaurs from their enclosures.
Driving segments were also planned, with vehicles such as jeeps and ATVs scattered around the island. The game was going to include a segment where the player is chased by a T-Rex, based on the famous scene from the first Jurassic Park movie.
The dinosaurs that were known to appear in the game included several iconic creatures from the movies such as the Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Dilophosaurus, Compsognathus, and the Spinosaurus, the latter being the main antagonist of Jurassic Park III. The game would’ve introduced the Troodon to the Jurassic Park franchise, with this iteration of the dinosaur being able to glow its eyes in the dark. This take on the Troodon would later be used for Jurassic Park: The Game, by Telltale Games.
The player would’ve taken control of David Vaughn, a security officer at Jurassic Park, working on Isla Sorna aiding scientists researching the dinosaurs living there. However, it is later revealed that Vaughn’s superior made a deal with a “shadow organization” rival to InGen, interested in dinosaur DNA, which led to a total takeover of the island, letting the dinosaurs escape from their enclosures. David Vaughn needs to rescue his fellow security officers and scientists whilst keeping the dinosaurs on the island.
Despite the game’s plot being well documented by contemporary articles, some key info shows contradictions between media outlets. For instance, PlanetPS2’s article states that David Vaughn works as a security officer for Jurassic Park and the game would take place on Isla Sorna, the island featured in the second and third movies; however, on IGN’s article it’s stated that Vaughn works on a security team that was sent by the U.S. Government to an unspecified third island, non-canon to the movies’ storyline. Gamespot’s article states that the Troodon (misspelled in the article as "Truadon") was a creature that preyed upon the T-Rex, when in reality the Troodon was a raptor-like dinosaur that would have been much smaller than the Velociraptors from the movies, which were already infamous for being scientifically inaccurate.
The game was first announced as a tie-in for the then-upcoming Jurassic Park III, in September of 2000, after Konami and Universal Interactive reached an agreement on developing and/or publishing video games based on Universal Studios’ properties, such as Jurassic Park, The Thing and Crash Bandicoot, the latter having just ended its exclusivity deal on the PlayStation with Sony. It was later confirmed that Savage Entertainment began development on the game, a studio formed by ex-Activision developers who worked on games like MechWarrior 2. The game, still under the title Jurassic Park III, had a tentative release date of November 14th, 2001 for the PlayStation 2 version, with the Xbox version following suit, sometime during the console’s launch window. No release date for the GameCube and PC versions were given.
On May 7th, 2001, the game’s title was confirmed to be Jurassic Park: Survival, misspelled by some media outlets as "Jurassic Park: Survivor". While it would take heavy inspiration from the movie, Jurassic Park III had setbacks during production due to several revisions to its script. As a result of that, Savage Entertainment opted to not make an adaptation of the movie. Some elements from the movie would be implemented in the game. The aviary, where the movie’s main characters face the Pteranodons, would’ve been included in the game as one of the island’s landmarks.
Savage’s in-house game engine, codenamed “Sabretooth” or “Fang”, was being developed in conjunction with the game. The studio planned to focus the game’s polygon count in its environments rather than the dinosaurs, with the purpose of making the levels more open-ended, as well as making them as lush and diverse as the environments seen in the Jurassic Park movies. Each dinosaur model, based on Stan Winston's models used in the movies, would get a maximum of 1.500 polygons. Savage would get help from fellow company Swingin’ Ape Studios on some levels of the game, including the ATV segments.
A hands-on preview of the game was planned to be shown at a gaming event held by Universal, sometime in August.
On July 31st, 2001, it was announced that Savage Entertainment was no longer working on Jurassic Park: Survival due to Universal Interactive (now named Vivendi Universal, after Universal Studios being acquired by the French conglomerate Vivendi) not being satisfied with the game’s progress and quality, with its major complaint being the character animations, which were done using motion capture outsourced by Giant Studios. On November 5th, 2001, Savage Entertainment confirmed that the studio ceased development on the game due to payment conflicts.
Despite Savage’s departure, Vivendi Universal was still pursuing the completion of the game, now targeting an early 2002 release, looking for a new development team to work on a new version of Jurassic Park: Survival. This, however, would be the last development update on the game.
Despite several pre-release screenshots and a trailer, suggesting that the game was nearing completion, no builds of the game have been released online.
- It is presumed that the lead character, David Vaughn, was named after the actor Vince Vaughn, who played the character Nick Van Owen in The Lost World: Jurassic Park;
- A similarly titled game called Jurassic World: Survivor, developed by Cryptic Studios and based on the fourth movie in the franchise, was in the works between 2015 and 2016 until it got shelved by Universal before it was even announced. The only evidence of its existence was animation tests and screenshots that were leaked online in 2017. This, and Jurassic Park: Survival are to date the only known cancelled games based on the Jurassic Park franchise;
- Jurassic Park: Survival was planned to have a multi-million dollar promotional campaign throughout 2001, which included television adverts and trailers added onto the DVD release of Jurassic Park III as a bonus feature. It never came to fruition due to the game’s cancellation late in its development.
- The Next Level's preview of Jurassic Park: Survival. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- PSX Network's preview of Jurassic Park: Survival. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- PlanetPS2's preview of Jurassic Park: Survival. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- IGN's preview of Jurassic Park: Survival. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- GameSpot's preview of Jurassic Park: Survival. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Konami's Triple Punch: Crash, The Thing, and Jurassic Park III - IGN Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- IGN's article on Savage Entertainment. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- A page indicating the PlayStation 2 version's release date. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- A page indicating the Xbox version's release date. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Interview with Jurassic Park III director Joe Johnston. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Jurassic Outpost's interview with concept artist Rob Stahl. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Rob Stahl's Portfolio page. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- PlanetPS2's article on the game. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- The Electric Playground's preview of Jurassic Park: Survival. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Dan's JPIII page. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- IGN's release calendar of the PlayStation 2 for 2002. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Jurassic Outpost's article on Jurassic World: Survivor. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Yahoo Finance article about Universal Interactive Studios choosing Kovel/Fuller for global ad campaigns. Retrieved 07 Feb '21