Zoo Tycoon Lets You Dance With Animals, Kinect-Style

Zoo Tycoon Lets You Dance With Animals, Kinect-Style

Zoo Tycoon

The animal captivity simulator will include multiplayer and Kinect support.

The test of any simulator is the ability to become a capricious god. Rollercoaster Tycoon was fun, but for many gamers, its classic rating comes from the ability to turn coasters into twisting death machines. While Microsoft's Zoo Tycoon series attempted to blend the popular tycoon genre with environmental education, most players knew it as an E rated Jurassic Park simulator. While the franchise has laid fallow for almost a decade, Microsoft is bringing it back later this year on the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. Along with the classic sandbox mode, it will include Kinect support and online challenge modes.

While the sandbox mode is returning, it's getting a few tweaks first. Instead of building exhibits piece by piece, they'll come as prefab units that players can plop down and then customize after the fact. Depending on their proximity, walkways will automatically be constructed. According to Microsoft Studios manager Jorg Neumann, the idea is that every exhibit will look "beautiful right out of the gate." After that, players will have to tweak their Zoo to please both animals and guests. If that sounds too simple, there's also a "hardcore mode" that will presumably make it more challenging.

In addition to that, Zoo Tycoon will also let players directly interact with their captive animals. Using the Kinect, players can feed, pet, or dance with their animals, which Neumann says will create a "deeper connection than ever before". There's a good reason that sounds familiar. Zoo Tycoon will be developed by Frontier Developments, the same team behind Kinectimals.

If that doesn't contain enough substance to captivate its child audience, there's also a challenge mode, where players compete in various tasks around their zoo, either alone or with others. To make the whole thing educational, players can also access an ingame Zoopedia, which has information on all 101 species of animals, thanks to National Geographic. The Zoopedia can also be accessed on a tablet with the SmartGlass integration.

The new Zoo Tycoon is obviously a kid friendly title, a safe alternative to the horrors of GTA5. If you grew up with Zoo Tycoon and crave a deep, rewarding simulator in which to act out your frustrated power fantasies, you might want to look elsewhere. Dancing with animated animals via the Kinect will not pierce your onyx soul.

Zoo Tycoon will launch on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One this November.

Source: Polygon


thank god. now the kinect doesnt feel like a tacked on piece of turd that serves no purpose other than include gimicky time wasters in games.

for God's sake... I have Zoo Tycoon on PC but reading about all this Kinect gimicky still "pierces my onyx soul" :P

Edit: oooh, and I vent my "frustrated power fantasies" putting the impalas and zebras with the lions in the same space :P haha :P

A beloved building series being dragged out of retirement for a new release with pointless features and limited actual building options?

...I have never seen anything like this in the past year and look forward to this comput-I mean Console Game being a well respected and properly developed commercial success.

Damn, all of that sounds disappointing. I had hope that the series would return in some manner, but for PC and not like this. And why as a kid game of all things? The original was very much age-neutral in its appeal.

Instead of building exhibits piece by piece, they'll come as prefab units that players can plop down and then customize after the fact. Depending on their proximity, walkways will automatically be constructed.


building your exhibits to exact specification and designing the walkway routes was a good 70% of the content. That was the main bread and butter of the gameplay and the main appeal to what made each zoo in each area unique. What's left if they remove that?

At least let us fill the zoo with lions and other predators and then let all the enclosure walls accidentally disappear. That never got old.

EDIT: I think Microsoft have decided that the best way they can now shift the Xbox One is to greenlight a tonne of exclusive games for it, and sell it on it's selection of launch titles "Look at all these games the PS4 won't get!"
Using already established franchises helps add legitimacy to the inevitable shovelware it will actually undoubtedly be. "We've taken out all the difficult management capabilities that takes a lot of time to code and instead just reskined huge swathes of the Kinectamals game for zoo animals. Buy our console!"
And because Zoo Tycoon was pretty much dead until now (last game 9 years ago) if it goes pear shaped they've not lost much, but gained one extra title that they can boast is not available on the PS4 or PC.

So basically they're turning it into "Baby's First Tycoon Game".

Oh and adding multiplayer support that nobody asked for and kinect support that has no purpose.

And are putting it on a platform that is ill-suited for this type of game.

That's... that's great. Just... wonderful. Really.

Zoo Tycoon was a childhood favourite of mine. Zoo Tycoon 2 was ok too, but really needed a lot of polish that it just never got, even in further expansions (not to mention the game hasn't aged well graphically and in AI). I would pay money for an updated, cleaned up, modern Zoo Tycoon. No spazzy guests complaining about a loose animal that is actually contained, no neurotic keepers and janitors, no animals of the same species that will starve themselves in challenging another animal, and no animals getting stuck in scenery or obsessively pooping near water and complaining about it.

When I saw this Zoo Tycoon come on an exclusives list, I was a bit surprised. And judging by the fact that they have axed a lot of the exhibit creation stuff, that surprise has changed to confusion. No doubt this is maybe a new kind of game for the consoles (with a lot of other zoo sims out there on PC), but part of me still thinks it should've stayed there. So far it seems more like a Kinectimals than a Zoo Tycoon, but maybe I'm just being cynical.

Not to mention by being on consoles it will miss a lot of the mods. Since the original Zoo Tycoon, people have made a lot of mods for new animals and items. Lots of good stuff.

It's likely not going to work, it's going to play differently than the past games, and fans of the originals will hate it for being a dumbed down version of the series they grew up with.

Hang on, did I just describe Sim City 2013?


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