While we have yet to see actual gameplay of Frontier's newest developing game, Planet Zoo, we do have extremely high hopes. The create-a-zoo game is meant to be the spiritual successor to the first of its kind, Zoo Tycoon, a game which many of us grew up playing. While we devoted countless hours to making guests happy and extending the life of our Sahara Lion exhibits, little did we know that as adults, we would see something potentially better... or is it?
That's the major question on everyone's minds, and though we know little about this upcoming release, we do know some key details. But will they be enough to compare to the OG zoo? Let's have a gander.
10 Better: Emphasis On Emotions Of Zoo Animals, Not Guests
As opposed to the original game we know and love, Planet Zoo has made it abundantly clear that the emphasis will be mainly on the animals we choose to fill our zoo with. Not only will guest emotions be a secondary concern when it comes to filling up our zoos, but the quality of our animal's life will heavily depend on the decisions the player makes.
This is very different from Zoo Tycoon, in which a player's attendance would suffer simply because 50 people decided there weren't enough drink stands next to the elephant exhibit.
9 Worse: Zoo Tycoon May Have More Animal Types
Another tidbit that we do know is that Planet Zoo will have both popular zoo animals as well as endangered species. What we don't know is which types will be offered specifically or if it'll come anywhere near the range that Zoo Tycoon had.
In the latter, we had so many options that many of us couldn't even fit them all in one zoo park. If you were lucky enough and had the expansion pack, then you had access to aquatic and Arctic animals as well, which led to even more of a decision challenge. It's hard to tell at this point if we'll be just as overwhelmed by this new game.
8 Better: Graphics & Running Speed, Obviously
It goes without saying, but obviously, we will be able to watch our zebras in full HD now. The graphics, at least from the cinematic trailer, look almost Sims-like, which is a great thing compared to the gritty graphics from the late 9o that Zoo Tycoon gave us.
While these graphics were far better than its sister game, Roller Coaster Tycoon, they still don't compare to what's on the horizon for Frontier's revolutionization of zoo-themed gaming. Regardless, it's exciting to see how much different a decade can do in terms of graphics and gameplay.
7 Worse: Will We Still Have Banter From Guests?
Since the emphasis is mostly on the animals, it's unclear at this point whether or not we'll have the same witty remarks from our guests, especially those who can't find the bathroom. In Zoo Tycoon, we were able to pinpoint which guests were 'unhappy' and, if you were really keen on it, you could pick them up and move them to the area they were searching for.
You could also read their 'thoughts,' which was meant to give the player hints as to what they should be doing to improve their zoo. It's not certain whether or not Planet Zoo will have these same features or if the guests will be that interactive at all.
6 Better: Players' Decisions Will Affect Overall Outcome Of Gameplay
This could be seen as something that's neither good nor bad, but we're going to mark it under things Planet Zoo does 'better.' In terms of decisions, Frontier claims that the player's decisions will rest heavily on their shoulders, as everything they choose to do will have a consequence.
This doesn't mean that every action will result in a bad outcome but, more so, a realistic one. Unlike Zoo Tycoon, the results of our actions in Planet Zoo might result in the repopulation of a species rather than 75 disgruntled guests.
5 Worse: Those Decisions Might Not Be As Easily Fixed
Unfortunately, from the sounds of it, our decisions could have some pretty dire consequences. We're not sure if they're as dire as allowing a chain-link fence to rot because we're too cheap to buy an iron one, then having our alligators escape and eat 30 people-type of decisions, but who knows.
From the sounds of it, the decisions will be based more so on the lives and futures of the animals we choose to inhabit our zoos, in which case they'll be pretty dang important. It sounds like we'll have to make smart decisions to succeed in this one.
4 Better: 'Sandbox Mode' Allows Players To Explore Freely
In Zoo Tycoon, we had this option too, although it wasn't too much different from starting out in a 'story mode.' With a pre-built zoo, we had the groundwork done, but it was still up to the player how they wanted to run their zoo. They could easily destroy or elevate it and there was usually a fine line between the two.
In open-build mode, we had the option to completely start over as attractions and exhibits were unlocked to us gradually. However, we still faced the same chaos if we didn't appease our guests or managed to let our zoo maintenance slip, so the two modes were not much different. There was no reward in either one—only debt.
3 Worse: Exclusive Animals Only Available Via Deluxe Edition
Unfortunately, it has been released that DLC animals such as Komodo Dragons, Thomson's Gazelles, and Pygmy Hippopotamuses will only be available via the Deluxe edition of the game. While this isn't the end of the world, it does mean almost ten extra bucks to get these features as opposed to the standard edition.
With not much to go on as far as the game yet, it's uncertain as to whether or not it's really worth it. In Zoo Tycoon, we were given a decent amount of interesting and unlockable animals, and we're hoping it's the same in Planet Zoo.
2 Better: Conservation & Endangered Species Are Part Of Gameplay
Going along with the decision-making throughout the game, players will be delighted to know that their in-game choices will affect their in-game world as well.
Frontier has already made it pretty clear that the player will have the chance to participate in conservation and education for their zoo guests, which will probably unlock certain features if they're successful in their venture. This adds a realistic quality that was a bit too muddled in Zoo Tycoon, as we could do nothing without approval from our guests and their wallets.
1 Worse: Zoo Tycoon Featured Aquatic Animal Life
Something we are missing from the cinematic trailer for Planet Zoo is the addition of aquatic life. While we still don't know too many details about the game itself aside from what Frontier has stated in interviews, we do know that Zoo Tycoon had an entire CD devoted to marine life as well as Arctic animals.
While they weren't the easiest additions to a zoo, they were definitely worth it and that's something we hope to see in this new game. We demand to save all the marine life!