Earlier this month we were fortunate to be able to participate in a playthrough event at Funko Hollywood HQ with Funko Games and Prospero Hall for their new game: Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar!
During this event we had the immense privilege of interviewing two of the top minds behind the development of this brand new tabletop legacy game: Deirdre Cross, Vice President of Funko Games, and Ruby Wishnietsky, Editorial Lead for Prospero Hall. These two are big fans of the Jurassic franchise and have done an incredible job with this game. Read on to hear how they injected their passion for Jurassic and tabletop gaming into Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar!
What is your relationship with Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, and how did that influence developing this game?
“My relationship with Jurassic Park and Jurassic World was definitely deepened through the development of this game. I am a huge amusement park fan. So honestly, my clearest relationship to them is riding the ride in Florida – going through that wonderful boat ride and getting freaked out by dinosaurs.”
“My relationship with the Jurassic World franchise is, I would say, very deep and quite intimate. I reread the book every year and I don’t even know how many times I’ve seen the first film. But really, I celebrate the whole thing. I’m so into Jurassic World that I have two cats at my house – one of them is named Dr. Grant and the other one is named Dr. Malcolm. And they’ve both grown too big to fit in our game box.”
That is so awesome. So the word “legacy” – it feels like that’s important. How does the word legacy connect with the franchise, this game, and everything that’s going on with the new films?
“Well, the, the word ‘legacy’ in the title of the game, Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar, has a few different meanings. One of the meanings of course is that the whole story is John Hammond’s legacy, right? As it goes, you know, from the inception of the park, his dream of the park, and then carries on through the whole Jurassic story. The whole thing is his legacy.
The other meaning that it has is that legacy is a type of gameplay, which means that the game changes over time. As you make decisions, it changes permanently as you and your playgroup explore the stories and the adventure and build your own park. That’s really the meaning of legacy for us in this context.”
“And as you may have noticed playing the game, and as you will continue to notice, it has even deeper meanings as you play through our particular game. Not just Hammond but other characters will leave their legacy on the island and on your part. And so you’ll see how that plays out as you continue your adventures.”
What themes from the Jurassic franchise, whether it’s the books or the films, were important to you to put into this game?
“I have a couple that relate to some specific aspects of the game that I love to talk about. One of the big themes that played a big role in our art direction is the early fear of how technology is going to affect the natural world. In the art direction of the game, we went very much from the perspective of what influenced the creators of the Jurassic stories: 1950s and ’60s pulp comics, monster movie posters, and even scientific textbooks. Thinking about how this exciting new technology field of genetics is going to change things for the better or for the worse – who knows?
One of the other themes that I think we play on a lot in the gameplay sense is the wonder at the unknown and learning with our new scientific knowledge – learning some aspects of what used to be and what was extinct, but not having the whole story.”
“I mean, we’re filling in the gaps. You know, there’s still gaps in the code, the DNA. And we’re sort of guessing at what it was. And in the mechanical gameplay of our game, there are gaps there and the players can guess – maybe they’ll guess right and be a little more prepared, or maybe something’s going to go very differently than what they expected.
I also feel like a theme is ‘you can’t put it back in the box.’ Like, there are things you can’t undo.”
The artwork is gorgeous. Can you talk a little bit more about what it was like developing the artwork and all of the stickers and game pieces and everything?
“Like Ruby was saying about where we went to look for our inspiration for the art style and everything – back to the fifties and sixties, pulp and scientific textbooks, scientific magazines. But beyond that we also had this great opportunity to do these sculpts in the game, the sculpted miniatures. And we worked very closely with Universal and Amblin to get their files for 3D dinosaurs and stuff. We’re getting all this amazing stuff and we start to realize, well, yeah, we can just make the dinosaurs.
A lot of games just have dinosaurs in them, but what if our game had a more immersive sculpture that tells a story on its own that is also a really beautiful storytelling piece? So when you look at our sculpted velociraptor game piece, it’s two raptors coming out of the door of the kitchen. It’s so cool.
It’s so great to get to really pour so much creativity into those tiny pieces that are on the table. And I think as you look at the whole product, from the stickers to the card art to even the liner of the box, everything is bespoke and original to the product.”
Last question: You said you read the books often. Was there anything from those that influenced this game at all?
“I think, like what Ruby’s saying about the exploration of science and the tension of the unknown… If you’ve also read the books, you understand what Steven Spielberg was doing when he created the films, because that was his source material. The story he’s trying to tell, when you also read the books as more backstory, there’s a lot more in there about that tension. Though our game does not technically cover the books, you can definitely feel their DNA.”
We cannot thank Deirdre Cross, Vice President of Funko Games, and Ruby Wishnietsky, Editorial Lead for Prospero Hall, enough for taking the time to speak with us about their passions for Jurassic and this fantastic new game. It’s clear their love for all things Jurassic and board games has been woven into this product, and the beautiful result speaks for itself. Jurassic fans are going to love experiencing this game.
You can still secure your copy of the game by backing its Kickstarter campaign here! What do you think so far about this game, its visual style, and the influences of the creators? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost for all Jurassic news!