Planet Zoo: Celebrating 2 Years of the Ultimate Zoo Management Simulation

Nov 8, 2021 | 1 Votes by Other Contributors 10 rate Your vote
And here's to all the anniversaries to come! WWGDB - Planet Zoo: Celebrating 2 Years of the Ultimate Zoo Management Simulation

Since its launch in 2019, Planet Zoo has endeared and enthralled players, providing them with the perfect platform for their imaginations to run wild. Two years on, we revisit some of the Frontier Developments team’s favourite moments and animals from the past two years, and explore what makes working on the ultimate zoo simulation so enjoyable!

Amazing Animals

With over 115 species to choose from, hailing from all corners of the globe including North American wilderness, African plains, and Arctic tundra, Planet Zoo’s continued mission to showcase the enormous diversity of the animal kingdom is one that the development team relish in.

As Game Designer Kilian Schmitt explains, authentically representing a wide spectrum of species, some of which are endangered, is something the team are particularly proud of. “We work with our partner zoos across the world, undertaking really in-depth animal research to help contribute to the wider message around conservation. Education is a core value for Planet Zoo.”

“I think my favourite animal so far to work on has probably been the California Sea Lion – the way they move, flop around, and all of their unique behaviours, they’re just so much fun!” says Josh Shepherd, Lead Animator.

And it’s not just the larger animals that endear the team. “I never thought making an insect roll a ball of dung could be such an interesting piece of work,” says Kai Cheng, Full 3D Animator. The Sacred Scarab Beetle (a.k.a. Dung Beetle) exhibit is one of many smaller creatures brought to life in the game with Frontier’s trademark attention to detail.

Fantastic Features

A wealth of base-game content, a host of delightful DLC packs (7 to be exact), and a plethora of innovative updates have been brought to Planet Zoo so far. The team are no strangers to the intricate work that it takes to bring these amazing animals and fantastic features to life, from terrain tools and scenery items, to digging and deep water swimming.

“The level of animation detail and the range of behaviours is something that I think really makes Planet Zoo stand out from other games in the genre.” says Shepherd.

“Working on the animations for deep swimming was the most memorable feature for me, because it was unlike any technical or creative challenge I’d faced up until that point.” he explains. “It was a truly collaborative process between code, animation, and design, and although it was challenging, between all of us we managed to create something that I’m really proud of.”

Community Creativity

One of the great things about Planet Zoo is the many opportunities players have to get creative. The game’s passionate community have put many thousands of hours into crafting elaborate habitats, scenery, facilities, and more since release, and continue to find new ways to impress (and inspire) the team.

“Planet Zoo has a wonderful community of players, who help guide us to create something that we’re hugely proud of”, says Game Director Steve Wilkins. “We’ve kept our ear to the ground over the last two years, regularly releasing free features and updates alongside our DLC releases, based on community feedback, to provide a really high-quality experience for all”.

“Planet Zoo offers something for everyone, if you just want to play the challenges and timed scenarios and focus on management, it’s great for that, or you can create to your heart’s content using a Sandbox zoo!” adds Shepherd.

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