Planet Zoo from Frontier Developments

I am so psyched to play this.

After Planet Coaster and Jurassic World Evolution, I think I’ll pass on this. They’re fine as sandbox Lego playset applications, but their actual management systems suck.

That said, good on Frontier for finding a lucrative niche.

ED is not very deep either. OTOH, when developers set out to create a complex game, they run the risk of releasing an unbalanced/broken game in need of dozens of patches.

Sadly I feel the same, not interested, but it looks nice.

From the description in the announcement, it sounds very much in the Planet Coaster school of deep creation tools, shallow management layer. The branding points that way too, though I suppose there are IP issues around Zoo Tycoon.

I imagine that by “pre-rendered footage” they mean it’s an in-game trailer but with bespoke animations and scripting. Which is probably the best you can expect at this sort of time before release; it at least shows you how animals will look and how closely zoo design might conform to park creation in Jurassic World and Planet Coaster.

There is more info out there, but it’s naturally made solely of marketing at the moment.

Exactly. I’m so sad to not be able to be more excited about this, I want a good modern follow-up to Zoo Tycoon so very badly.

More info:

  • Simple transport rides, like kiddie trains
  • Weather
  • Traditional urban zoo decorations, buildings, etc
  • Wildlife park savanna decorations, buildings, etc.

This is up for preorder:

and has a new trailer:

Apparently there will be a gameplay demonstration later in the week. Of course, I already preordered the deluxe edition because I love animals and want to reward a studio willing to make a game in this area. It’s only two steps removed from one of my ‘dream games’ (which is a safari park tycoon).

They sure demonstrate that all animals can shake their head! Lol but still, this looks like a lovely little time-killer. Just recently started missing tycoon-games and played Tropico for 24 hours until I got sick of the politics - hoping this game isn’t too politic and I’ll definitely get it

I guess that depends, is the idea of not eradicating large numbers of wild animal species a political issue? The game says conservation is a focus, and you can’t care about conservation without being alarmed at the state of the planet (which some people mistakenly view as a partisan issue).

I really hope it isn’t a time-killer game. I know the fact it is being made by Frontier suggests this, but it really shouldn’t be the case.

Might as well lay out what I want to see from the game in terms of difficulty:

It should be expensive to procure animals, and if it’s a rarer species it shouldn’t even be possible without a proven track record in-game of caring for the animals and possessing successful breeding programs. On that note, it should be very difficult to get certain animal types to breed in captivity. It should require a highly attractive environment with little stress from guests. If the ultimate goal of the game is to use the zoo to make new animals that can then be reintroduced into the wild, it should be difficult to achieve as it is in the real world.

How can it be made difficult, since anyone could make a huge enclosure which contains a large amount of stimulating objects and trees/water? I think there needs to be two biting constraints on the zoo tycoon: land and guest happiness. Land is a good one, other than in ‘sandbox’ mode there shouldn’t be enough land available to make alot of animals extremely happy with their enclosure. Should you focus on less animals that are happier (which will ultimately bring in less money for investment) or more animals that are less happy (where the money can be used in various ways to try and induce breeding)? This is a tradeoff that is essential in zoo crafting.

The second constraint is more familiar. Zoo visitors want to see all of the animals up close doing interesting things, they don’t want things to obstruct their view nor do they want large enclosures or to see animals sleeping (yet they will also say they want the animals to be happy and enclosures to be large so the zoo doesn’t feel like a prison). As the zoo relies on income from visitors it is essential to please them, but the animals interests almost always conflicts with the visitors wishes. It should be essential to come up with innovative layouts to try and satisfy both parties (made all the harder from the land constraint), and it should also require compromises from the user.

Anyway, for all the above reasons a Zoo tycoon should be hard. I just hope Frontier add difficulty options that go in this direction, or at least allow the game to be modded so that difficulty mods can be added.

Their track record definitely suggests otherwise, but I’d be absolutely thrilled to be wrong on this one. I’ve been wanting a good zoo tycoon game (with some actual simulation and challenge going on) for ages.

Well, a zoo tycoon game can be good without being challenging, just like the classic zoo tycoon games. I would like more of a challenge though, maybe it’s because I am getting older sigh.

Anyway, about simulation, you might want to read up on some of these developer journals as they make the animal simulation side sound very promising, e.g.:

I’m not convinced. They said similar stuff about the crowd behavior and AI in Planet Coaster. It’s fine, but there’s no challenge there. It’s mostly based on simple ride attraction and the quantity of decorations around the rides.

I’m totally cool with Frontier taking this genre on, but I expect it to be very similar to Planet Coaster. Very pretty. A tinkerer’s dream, but ultimately a dead simple sandbox.

I don’t disagree on all this, but I’d like to see both options. Sometimes, you just want to build yourself a pretty zoo without worrying about politics.

I hope that trailer is simply trailer guy finding all the bits of footage where the animal does something dramatic and edited that together, because yeah most animals do very little for a lot of the time. The sounds are probably also trailer guy going a bit nuts. It would be great to see some footage of the game in action. It’s hard for me not to be critical of animals in games; you have to cut devs a lot of slack because accurately modelling a complex system isn’t usually necessary, but in this game I’m hoping they go the extra mile. The mating systems will be interesting given that in all the footage I’ve seen it doesn’t look like they have the equipment capable of pulling that off, as it were. ;) (random zoologist observation that I should probably have kept to myself)

All good points, but let’s be honest they have already put in the requisite work to get your sale:

You can imagine that I noticed that fairly quickly. ;) A saltwater crocodile too, based on its scalation if they’ve done their homework correctly (although weirdly, it looks like they forgot to texture the head, it should be covered with scales). I can’t stop myself from pointing out flaws as you can tell, so I’ll wait until we get more footage before commenting further.

Wait was @krayzkrok not consulted for this game?


No, and you can bet I’ll be coming down hard on their crocodile simulation! I mean, no scalation on the head, what were they thinking?