Seamus Blackley, creator of the original Xbox, has revealed that he planned a follow-up game to the notorious Trespasser (opens in new tab), which ultimately became the basis for the 2015 blockbuster Jurassic World (opens in new tab).
In a long Twitter (opens in new tab) thread, Blackley detailed the journey from the failure of Trespasser to accidentally rekindling one of the world’s biggest film franchises, all of which started in 1995 when he got a job at Dreamworks.
“I had been working on locomotion physics, which was really new, and the only way DW would fund a game with it was for me to make a Jurassic Park title. So I did, and led a brilliant team straight into hell.”
The reasons Trespasser failed are well-documented (opens in new tab), and the catastrophe was such that Blackley believed he’d “never work again”. But one person who was impressed by Trespasser’s tech was Bill Gates, which resulted in Blackley working at Microsoft, and ultimately developing the Xbox.
While working on the Xbox, Blackley learned that the main roadblock to getting great games made was “financing,” spending the next decade working with the talent agency CAA “quietly financing and reserving IP ownership for developers”. His time at CAA also brought him into the orbit of Steven Spielberg. “One day I got a call from some guys at Universal. ‘Steven was thinking of restarting the JP franchise, and we thought it should relaunch with a new Trespasser.'”
Blackley was asked to write a “story and gameplay pitch” for Spielberg and Universal, and to “make a trailer” to show Spielberg. “I wrote a story about dinosaurs on Isla Sorna and the research sites escaping, and how humans had to come to terms with the original owners of the planet,” Blackley writes. “We made a game design, an art design, and a story Bible. We called it Jurassic World.” They also made the trailer, which you can view below.
In 2012 or, I left my job at CAA to work with Steven S on a game, a new Jurassic Park story, to make good the skid mark we left with Trespasser. I wrote a story and design, and made a trailer. The management at Universal changed, and the project became a film. Want to know more?July 23, 2022
The pitch was well-received. But not long after, Universal changed management, and all the art assets of the game were sent to Frank Marshall. “There was a movie in the works, and the cancellation of the game meant they got everything,” Blackley explains. “Honestly, this was the best outcome possible.”
That was the end of Blackley’s Jurassic World game, but it’s not quite the end of the story. Blackley intends to reveal more about this phantom follow-up to Trespasser, including storyboards and art-assets, in collaboration with the website Jurassic Time, a website dedicated to archiving stories and other media related to Jurassic Park.
If you want to keep an eye out for that, it’s probably worth following either Blackley or Jurassic Time on Twitter. If you want to know more about Trespasser, check out our litany of articles about it’s bizarre control scheme (opens in new tab), and it’s underrated performance from the late Richard Attenborough (opens in new tab).