After having us build theme parks to house dinosaurs in Jurassic World: Evolution and for mechanical snakes in Planet Coaster, Frontier Developments are focusing on cuddlier lifeforms in their next management sim. Today they announced Planet Zoo, which will let us build and run zoos with lions and tigers and bears, oh my! We saw a preview version and will have more to say about that sssoon. For now, here's word that Planet Zoo is due this autumn.
Good news: yes, Planet Zoo will have Planet Coaster-style complex landscaping and decorating tools. That's the most interesting part of Planet Coaster, even if the way the tools work is incompatible with the way I like to sculpt and create, so I'm glad to see it back after not being in Jurassic World. Simanimal behaviour sounds potentially more complex here too.
"From playful lion cubs to mighty elephants, every animal in Planet Zoo is an individual who thinks, feels and explores the world you build around them," Frontier said in today's announcement. "They care about their surroundings and each other, with complex environmental and social needs. Nurture your animals throughout their lives, study and manage every species to see them thrive, and help them raise young to pass their genes onto future generations."
The combination of realistic-lookin' critters and cartoon simfolk is freaking my nut out:
Frontier insist that their virtuazoos aren't just places for amusement, that animal welfare will be important and we'll get to release creatures into the wild to help repopulation efforts. That's good. I have mixed feelings about the ethics of zoos, especially around keeping species which are born to roam vast areas or are visibly emotional enough that even our species can see it. Conservation is one of the best arguments for zoos so I hope Frontier do this right.
Frontier have previously dabbled in simzoos, making the Zoo Tycoon that hit Xboxes in 2013 - though not the original PC Zoo Tycoon games from the early noughties, which were made by Blue Fang Games.
I'm still waiting for news on Batmanager or Warhammer 40,000: Golden Throneland or whatever that other game they're making is.