The old days of Zoo Tycoon are well-remembered by fans, but the lack of any new games in the franchise that capture the excellent design of the original has left some with a zoo-shaped hole in their hearts. There are indie games that try to recreate it, but to varying levels of success.
Those that want a new Zoo Tycoon experience need not wait any longer, though. Planet Zoo was announced. This zoo simulation comes from the Zoo Tycoon and Planet Coaster developers and blends modern graphics with new and improved AI that allows each animal to behave like it would in real life. If you're excited, here are 5 animals confirmed and 5 we'd like to see.
10 CONFIRMED: AFRICAN ELEPHANT
Zoo games almost always feature popular, exotic animals. One of the prime animals in this category is the African Elephant. No zoo worth its salt would be complete without one of these massive mammals, so it makes sense that it would be one of the first ones shown for the upcoming game.
The shape of the ears confirms that these are the African elephants seen in the savannah rather than Asian elephants, which have much smaller ears. While the game is still several months out, it's clear that there is a push for a graphically excellent game just by looking at the elephants.
9 WANT: BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN
It's not clear to what extent Planet Zoo will have animals. Will it take the Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection approach of having regular, aquatic, and endangered animals of all kinds? Or will it be a bit more reserved? Whatever the case, we hope that aquatic animals get featured, and that the Bottlenose Dolphin is included in that roster. With these dolphins having such unique behavior, they would greatly benefit from an improved AI. Just imagine how much cooler holding dolphin shows would be with the new systems and visual enhancements of Planet Zoo. If there are no dolphins, we at least need orcas.
8 CONFIRMED: AFRICAN LION
Every zoo needs the king of the jungle. The African Lion is one of the most popular animals in existence, known for its long mane and carnivorous appetite. It's another famous cat that would be expected to appear in a game like Planet Zoo, so the presence of one comes as no surprise.
The game's trailer showed that a lion playing with a scratching pole, possibly hinting at how each animal will interact with its environment. Anything else is speculation at this point, but creating one's own pride of lions is bound to be an exciting part of the game.
7 WANT: YETI
The Yeti is one of the new creatures added in Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection. For the expensive price of $10,000, players could build a Yeti exhibit. The willingness of the old games to add animals and creatures like this was always a fun part of those games.
We hope that Planet Zoo continues the tradition to offer more unique creatures with their own extrapolated behavioral patterns. It doesn't necessarily have to be a Yeti that is added to the game, though it would be fun to see one lumber around in its mountainous exhibit and roar at any zoo-goers that get too close.
6 CONFIRMED: HIPPOPOTAMUS
A lot of African animals were shown in the Planet Zoo trailer, but the hippopotamus is exciting for a few reasons. Anyone who played Zoo Tycoon knows that water was something that every exhibit needed, but it could also be used to give certain animals a more aquatic habitat.
It was something that hippos needed often. This suggests that the use of water doubling as a source of nourishment and a habitat element will be returning in Planet Zoo. Once again, the graphics are shown off in the hippos' design, featuring their many creases and smaller eyes. They look just like the real thing.
5 WANT: GREATER FLAMINGO
The Greater Flamingo was an animal that appeared in past Zoo Tycoon games. Players would have to create savannah habitats with a lot of water. The Greater Flamingo was also known to reproduce quickly, meaning that it wouldn't be long before players had full exhibits.
Flamingos are graceful and unique birds, and the thought of seeing flocks of them with high detail on their feathers is exciting. Greater Flamingos could also be placed in the same exhibit as the hippo, which is already confirmed to be in the game. Let's hope blended exhibits are a feature in Planet Zoo.
4 CONFIRMED: WOLF
Most of the animals shown in the Planet Zoo trailer were African, but there were images added to its page on Steam that showed a few more animals. Among them was a wolf sitting in an arctic exhibit. This confirms a few things: first, that a snow-based biome will be a habitat that players can use.
Secondly, there will be more than just exotic animals for players to purchase. Wolves are also known for hunting in packs. Zoo Tycoon 2 already played around with the pack-hunting mentality. It would only make sense for Planet Zoo to take things a step further.
3 WANT: PLENTY OF FISH
Aquatic animals have yet to be confirmed for Planet Zoo, but it would be a shame if there weren't plenty of fish to choose from. It's often that you'll travel to a real zoo and see a massive aquarium filled with all different kinds of legendary fish. Being able to recreate something like that in Planet Zoo would be a dream come true.
Previous Zoo Tycoon games had fish available for purchase, but they were usually larger creatures, like tuna or swordfish. With Planet Zoo allowing much more detail and graphics, it would be possible to allow players to use smaller fish and have mini aquariums.
2 CONFIRMED: GRIZZLY BEAR
Grizzly bears have appeared in Zoo Tycoon games before, so it's natural that would be shown off in the Planet Zoo trailer. Along with the creatures, their habitat was shown off as well as a brief look at their behavior.
The bears were in a forested habitat with a cave for them to hide in. One of the bears also stood up on two legs before taking a swim in a nearby pond. One of the pictures added to the game's Steam page also featured bears walking around in a raining habitat, suggesting that the weather will play a role in the game.
1 WANT: BALD EAGLE
If there's one thing that the Zoo Tycoon games haven't had, it's avian creatures. Sure, players could purchase birdhouses that guests could walk in, but that isn't quite the same as building an exhibit specifically for a bird. Planet Zoo has the opportunity to give players more animals that haven't been seen in those games before.
An iconic bird we'd like to see is the Bald Eagle. Players could watch as their eagles fly around their exhibits and build nests in the trees. It could also pave the way for more birds to be added to the game, like macaws or vultures.