Planet Zoo is an upcoming simulation game that tasks players with designing and maintaining their very own zoo. The game is a spiritual successor to 2013’s Zoo Tycoon from developer/publisher Frontier, the company behind the amusement park management sim Planet Coaster.
Here, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about Frontier’s next project and discussing how Planet Zoo aims to shake up its niche genre. We’ll also be updating this story in the future, so make sure to check back.
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Planet Zoo Release Date
Planet Zoo is scheduled to release on November 5, 2019, for PC via Steam. Anyone pre-ordering the deluxe edition of the game will receive three unique animals (Pygmy Hippopotamus, Thomson’s gazelle, and Komodo dragon) along with access to an exclusive beta running from September 24 to October 8.
Rumors surrounding Planet Zoo’s existence first circulated after Frontier Developments registered a trademark for a new title called Planet Safari in April 2017. The game would be officially announced two years later in April 2019 where an official title and release date were presented.
Planet Zoo Story
While Planet Zoo doesn’t have a dedicated story mode, players can still expect to be given plenty of opportunities to learn more about the creatures they’ll be caring for. The game includes more than 20 different species of animals ranging from elephants and lions to insects and amphibians. Taking on the role of zookeeper means you’ll get to know each species in depth and form lasting bonds the longer you play.
However, things don’t just end at wildlife habitats as players will also have to manage the zoo’s staff and various amenities throughout the park including dining areas, restrooms, gift shops, etc. Over time you’ll get to know your staff’s work habits, strengths, and weaknesses.
This is where Planet Zoo’s differences with Zoo Tycoon start to emerge. The game is much more realistic than any other zoo management sim to come before in terms of both graphical presentation and gameplay mechanics. A great example is the game’s animal husbandry system, which allows each offspring to have a unique appearance that resembles that of their parents versus a stock fur or skin pattern for each species.
Planet Zoo Gameplay
Attention to detail is one of Planet Zoo’s biggest strengths, granting players the option to create their own exhibits from scratch versus prefabricated enclosures. This will allow you craft a finely-tuned habitat for each species that’s sure to make them feel both happy and healthy. Additionally, Frontier has decided to include support for Steam Workshop, meaning players will be able to share their creations online with others.
Players shouldn’t expect Planet Zoo to be an easy game, as there are a seemingly infinite number of facts to learn about each species if you plan on running a tight ship. Besides constructing the proper habitat for a certain animal, players will have to ensure they meet the dietary and enrichment needs of each species in order for their animals to flourish.
This leads us to believe Planet Zoo will be tough but fair in reprimanding players for making the wrong decisions. A great example is the option to craft mixed habitats where two species of animals coexist. While it’s possible to pair different animals together, putting a gazelle and a lion in the same enclosure will ultimately always lead to a messy outcome.
If you wish to see each of your animals live a full and happy life, you’ll be forced to do a bit of in-game research through trial and error. Ultimately, you’ll find some animals are pretty flexible and can live with a wide selection of other species. Those eureka moments when you’re able to build the perfect enclosure or bond two species are what we’re most looking forward to.
Animal behaviors are much more complex than you’d expect from a zoo sim game, with each species responding differently to weather changes, time of day, and objects encountered in their enclosure. If it starts to rain in your game world, you’ll see some animals relocate inside caves for warmth. Therefore, it’s critical that players pay attention to each species natural survival needs as well as their personal preferences.
The Final Word
Frontier’s efforts to make Planet Zoo feel as realistic as possible shows how invested the developer is in conservation efforts. Games like this offer players a chance to learn more about the world around them while still having fun managing their own zoo.
While a majority of people will be more interested in the gameplay side of Planet Zoo, it’s very noble of Frontier to try and inform players about endangered species and caring for a variety of animals. We look forward to learning more about each species included when Planet Zoo releases later this year.
Looking for something to hold you over until Planet Zoo’s release? Check out our curated list of the Best Simulation Games on PC.