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Special Issue Articles

Vol. 3 No. 2 (2022): The American Entrepreneurial Spirit

Creative Extinction: Serial Cycles of De-Extinction and Re-Extinction in Resurrection Business

February 6, 2023


This article explores the videogame Jurassic World Evolution (Frontier Developments, 2018). As a business simulation, Jurassic World Evolution makes playable—and asks players to perform—a serialized cycle of de-extinction and re-extinction: dinosaurs are resurrected only to be wiped out again when a successor that is "better, louder, with more teeth" (to quote Jurassic World's operations manager Claire Dearing) becomes available. The revenue players generate is thus founded on a cycle of extinction, de-extinction, and re-extinction. In so doing, the videogame suggests that de-extinction does not promise a future primarily defined by the overcoming of extinction and the becoming-real of the dream of reestablishing natural abundance through techno-scientific means, but rather a future characterized by an exponential growth in serialized extinctions, made possible by techno-science. That the videogame puts players in charge of both finances and developing their dinosaur "assets" draws players' attention to molecular biology as a new place of production. Hence, resurrection science and its biocapitalist entanglements not only exploit past extinctions but rather suggest that this biocapitalist venture is based on speculation—reaping seemingly unlimited future profits from a potentially never-ending cycle of extinctions, de-extinctions, and re-extinctions.


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