Xbox have today released an interview with their own Microsoft Studios developer regarding the upcoming reboot of the Zoo Tycoon franchise – this time on their two consoles, Xbox One and Xbox 360, scheduled for release this “Holiday 2013”. Obviously Microsoft are trying to really show this game in a good light in this ‘interview’ after showcasing the new exclusive at this years E3.
So what can we actually expect from this reboot of the Zoo Tycoon franchise? What can we actually make of this interview?
Kinectimals All Over Again
Frontier are the studios that produced Kinectimals and Kinect: Disneyland Adventure, and are the studio responsible for this reboot. Microsoft may be boasting new Kinect features that will add “a whole new layer of interaction” to the game, but what this really means is that Frontier are taking their Kinectimals features and putting them into the Zoo Tycoon game. This is a feature I can only really imagine very young children using, and is something that a lot of fans of the classic Zoo Tycoon will find to be an absolute abomination of one of their favourite franchises.
Whilst they haven’t said this yet, you can pretty much guarantee that this game will come practically incomplete. If you want to get yourself your favourite animal to put into your zoo, you will have to pay a little bit of extra money to get it. If you want to get yourself a special habitat for your zoo, you will have to pay a little bit of extra money to get it. If you want to prevent your Monkey’s from throwing faeces at your visitors, you’ll have to pay for a faeces proof cage. You get the point. DLC, DLC, DLC.
Multiplayer of Sorts
We will see some form of multiplayer, in that your zoo will be uploaded to the cloud and your friends will be able to visit and make changes to your zoo. I personally wouldn’t be able to leave a zoo i’d worked hard on open to my friends without returning to phallic shaped cages and a whole load of animals named imaginative things as “Crap-o-holic” and “Chunder Monkey”.
“I can absolutely trust my friends not to screw around with my zoo! They’ll only ever modify it for the better!” – No one. Ever.
Gameplay for the Masses
Expect a much simpler gameplay experience in this franchise reboot. Don’t worry though, Jorg Neumann does say that “Construction and the “Tycoon” aspect of the game are incredibly important” and that “animals are a core part” of the game. So… at least they’ve understood what the title of the game is. A zoo needs animals, and a tycoon game needs tycoon mechanics. This is going well.
They also seem to be putting an emphasis on education and conservation, so it seems like you can say goodbye to setting the Lions out on visitors, or putting them in a cage with the monkeys and see if they can eat them all before they get full. There is a nice little feature that when you do release an animal into the wild, you will be able to keep tabs on it after. So you get to watch little Gary the Gazelle getting mauled by a Lion in the plains of Africa. All in stunning HD.
Well, at least we can guarantee that they’ll do this one right. They claim that they will be focusing on creating “beautifully rendered” animals, and judging by the E3 teaser, they might actually be pretty spot on with this. Although you’re looking at a very Kinectimal-styled set of graphics, in this sort of franchise it’s really the best you can expect.
So to summarise, if you are a fan of this game franchise, Zoo Tycoon for Xbox One and Xbox 360 is probably not for you. Nevertheless, this game WILL inevitably sell huge numbers of units due to it’s child friendly nature – and who knows, in a few months time I may be sat here with a Monkey’s foot very much in my mouth. Figuratively I hope.