At this year’s Gamescom Microsoft showed of the latest in their Zoo Tycoon franchise, confusingly called simply Zoo  Tycoon and developed by Kinectimals & Kinect Disneyland Adventures developer Frontier Developments, and IGN  recorded a video of the Xbox One version’s demo which you can watch above. Zoo Tycoon will be released on both the  Xbox One at launch and the Xbox 360 but please note that I got confirmation from Frontier that the Xbox 360  version’s Kinect support will be limited to voice commands.

Kinect 2 features

Pocket-lint found out more about Zoo Tycoon’s Kinect 2 features in their preview, here’s an excerpt:

However, this Zoo Tycoon borrows elements from other big Frontier games of the past, namely Kinectimals and Kinect: Disneyland Adventures.

The latter comes in the form of a park keeper that you can opt to control in 3D mode. You can run around the zoo yourself, interacting with animals and elements of the zoo in order to get a more hands-on feel of the game. You will still have to place areas and buildings as before, but rather than do it all from a top-down screen, you can manipulate the surroundings from a more personal perspective.

Plus there are multiple mini-games dotted all around. You can actually interact with the animals à la Kinectimals and help their progression by feeding or washing them for example. In our Gamescom demo, we watched while a Frontier developer squirted water at an elephant in its enclosure. It came across and was happy to receive a good soaking in order to get clean. This satisfied one of the requirements for that animal, and therefore made the whole family of elephants happier.

Another we were told about is “Monkey See Monkey Do”, a game that uses the Kinect sensor to track body movements and even facial expressions, these are then repeated by a monkey in the zoo. A child will freak over this feature, we’re sure.

 

Here’s Zoo Tycoon’s original announce trailer, a LOT more info from Xbox Wire and the Xbox One version’s fact sheet:

 

An Inside Look at Zoo Tycoon with Frontier Developments

One of the exciting new games we announced at E3 was the return of the wildly popular “Zoo Tycoon” series. For the  first time on consoles, this newest chapter of the famous franchise will be available on both Xbox One and Xbox 360  later this fall. Microsoft Studios and Frontier Development are working hard to ensure that fans of the series feel  right at home and have an authentic “Zoo Tycoon” experience, while providing new and exciting features that are  only possible on the Xbox platforms.

“Zoo Tycoon” is being developed by Frontier Developments – the studio behind “Kinectimals” and “Kinect: Disneyland  Adventures.” We recently had the opportunity to have an in-depth chat with Jorg Neumann, Studio Manager with  Microsoft Studios, about the latest developments.

Tell us more about “Zoo Tycoon” for Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Jorg Neumann: “Zoo Tycoon” is a celebrated franchise with a tremendous and passionate fan base that deeply cares  about this premier animal tycoon experience. We knew from the outset that it was critically important to retain the  magic of “Zoo Tycoon.” We feel a great sense of responsibility to the fans and are incorporating the excellent  feedback and suggestions we’ve received from them over the years. By bringing the franchise to the Xbox consoles,  we are able to add awesome new gameplay experiences and groundbreaking social dimensions that will make this the  best “Zoo Tycoon” experience ever.

We’ve heard numerous times that players want a “Tycoon” experience that is designed from the ground up for the  consoles. At the top of everyone’s list is the desire to make the creation of highly personalized zoos more  intuitive and easier, while maintaining a high degree of creative freedom and self-expression. It’s amazing to see  just how much Frontier has succeeded and how easy it is to create the zoo of your dreams.

The second most sought after feature by fans is the desire for a greater connection to the animals they care for. I  believe players will be very excited to see how we’ve integrated Kinect into the experience to deliver a whole new  dimension of interaction in “Zoo Tycoon.” There is something special, almost magical when you have animals that  recognize you, your voice, and that react to your movements and instructions.

Another area fans really wanted us to focus and innovate on for the new “Zoo Tycoon” is the social experience. Xbox  Live backed by the cloud is the perfect platform for this ambition. We absolutely love the idea of building and  maintaining the zoo of your dreams together with friends.

What does this mean for gameplay? You can upload your zoo to the cloud, share it with your friends, and have up to  4 players simultaneously contribute to the creation and maintenance of a zoo at any one time. Collaboration is a  key part of this new “Zoo Tycoon” and we believe it will open up the experience on a truly global scale.

Xbox Live really is the key to establishing what will be the first worldwide community of “Zoo Tycoons.” For the  first time, players from around the globe can share their zoos, communicate with other Tycoons directly via Skype,  loan and trade animals with each other and engage in large scale community-wide conservation efforts. Players will  be able to come together and work on achieving a goal related to the care and support of these amazing animals. Not  only will they receive special awards for their participation, but we intend to also support related real-world  conservation efforts, which I’ll talk about later.

These are just some of the new groundbreaking experiences that we can bring to “Zoo Tycoon” via the power of Xbox,  Live, Kinect and the cloud. We can finally deliver the gameplay vision we’ve always wanted to bring to the console  platforms and create the best “Zoo Tycoon” experience ever.

How is it different from “Zoo Tycoon 2?”

Jorg Neumann: “Zoo Tycoon 2” is the perfect reference for our game because it allows us to look at what made this  fantastic franchise so popular and to look at how we can learn from the previous titles in the series. We aim to  pay homage to what has gone before while enhancing the core experience. New features which utilize the power of  Xbox One will enable the best console experience for our consumers, with the most accessible, collaborative and  stunning “Zoo Tycoon” game in the series. We feel a great responsibility to the fans of the series and it’s  important to us that we retain the magic of “Zoo Tycoon” while delivering on gameplay that is in large part formed  with the feedback we’ve received from players.

Construction and the “Tycoon” aspect of the game are incredibly important to the franchise and game as a whole.  Certainly there was some temptation to simply reuse both systems from the PC series, however we identified a need  and opportunity to develop a system that plays to the strengths of the console experience.

We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to offering players accessible, intuitive systems that work well on a  console controller and interface, balanced with the greatest level of depth possible. After all, the best gameplay  is often found in balance and I believe players will appreciate the improvement to gameplay by optimizing these  systems. “Zoo Tycoon” fans will find themselves at home with the core game loop and key mechanics, while new  players will find they can instantly grasp the core game and get hands on creating their zoos due to the improved  accessibility.

In addition to optimizing the existing systems, we are bringing a lot of really cool new features to the “Zoo  Tycoon” Franchise.

The animals are the core part of our “Zoo Tycoon” franchise. So we are making sure we create the most beautifully  rendered animals, animated to capture the essence of what you’d experience when at a real zoo. The player can get  up close to our stunning animals by switching to the animal camera that focuses in on the selected animal to give  the player the truly staggering amount of detail going into these models which makes them look as realistic as  possible.

They can also get close to the animals through the enrichment interactions that utilizes Kinect on Xbox One to  create a level of interaction between players and their favorite animals which wasn’t possible before.

Combining natural gestures to interact directly with your animals via charming enrichment interactions and  intuitive voice commands to access menus and infographics in the most intuitive way possible. We are bringing a  level of immersion never before seen in a “Tycoon” game and it’s all possible due to the power of Kinect on Xbox  One.

Another new feature we are super excited about is the animal conservation and preservation component within the  game. There will be a great deal of focus on captive breeding and saving/rehabilitating and releasing animals back  into the wild once they’re ready. Once released into the wild, the player can keep tabs on each animal to see how  they’re progressing and adapting to their new home.

That desire to support the conservation and care of these animals is at the core of our community challenges. We  love the idea of bringing gamers together and putting that collective passion towards the education about and  conservation of the very animals that make this type of game possible.
For example, we are delivering in-game updates based on real world events that raise player awareness regarding the  animals they love. These real world events, made possible by our strong partnerships with great companies like the  Association of Zoos and Aquariums, are turned into in-game challenges. For example, if certain challenges are  successfully completed by the “Zoo Tycoon” community of players, Microsoft has committed to donating resources to  help assist the preservation of these animals. We love the idea of dedicated people making games for passionate  players who in turn have a positive real world impact on the animals that make this franchise possible.

Education is also an important part of our franchise and players will be happy to know that each exhibit will have  a plaque attached to it containing all the important information relevant to the animals in that exhibit. We feel  strongly about educating players to drive awareness of the state of these animals in the real world. Hopefully we  will inspire players to look into conservation efforts or support one of the many good animal conservation causes  out there.

As with all games in the “Zoo Tycoon” franchise, satisfying the needs of the animals is still at the core of the  experience, while trying to balance that against the needs of your guests. Fans of the “Zoo Tycoon” franchise will  appreciate the improvements while still feeling a strong sense of familiarity. We’ve also improved on the original  Campaign mode by adding in an adaptive challenge system which will help the players expand and maintain their zoo  while throwing in a few curve balls to keep the player on their toes.

We also have more of a focus on getting down into the park and running around amongst the guests, although the  player who wants to stick to Tycoon mode and fly around up in the sky can still do so. While running around the zoo  the player will be able to see their guest’s needs as they’ll play specific animations to show how they’re feeling.  The player will also have to do other little jobs such as cleaning up litter to keep the park clean, cleaning out  the animal exhibits and delivering food stock to concessions to stop them from running out. We have also added in a  buggy to allow the player to travel around their park much quicker than running around, it handles really well and  is a fun addition to the game.

One of the exciting new games we announced at E3 was the return of the wildly popular “Zoo Tycoon” series. For the  first time on consoles, this newest chapter of the famous franchise will be available on both Xbox One and Xbox 360  later this fall. Microsoft Studios and Frontier Development are working hard to ensure that fans of the series feel  right at home and have an authentic “Zoo Tycoon” experience, while providing new and exciting features that are  only possible on the Xbox platforms.

“Zoo Tycoon” is being developed by Frontier Developments – the studio behind “Kinectimals” and “Kinect: Disneyland  Adventures.” We recently had the opportunity to have an in-depth chat with Jorg Neumann, Studio Manager with  Microsoft Studios, about the latest developments.

Tell us more about “Zoo Tycoon” for Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Jorg Neumann: “Zoo Tycoon” is a celebrated franchise with a tremendous and passionate fan base that deeply cares  about this premier animal tycoon experience. We knew from the outset that it was critically important to retain the  magic of “Zoo Tycoon.” We feel a great sense of responsibility to the fans and are incorporating the excellent  feedback and suggestions we’ve received from them over the years. By bringing the franchise to the Xbox consoles,  we are able to add awesome new gameplay experiences and groundbreaking social dimensions that will make this the  best “Zoo Tycoon” experience ever.

We’ve heard numerous times that players want a “Tycoon” experience that is designed from the ground up for the  consoles. At the top of everyone’s list is the desire to make the creation of highly personalized zoos more  intuitive and easier, while maintaining a high degree of creative freedom and self-expression. It’s amazing to see  just how much Frontier has succeeded and how easy it is to create the zoo of your dreams.

The second most sought after feature by fans is the desire for a greater connection to the animals they care for. I  believe players will be very excited to see how we’ve integrated Kinect into the experience to deliver a whole new  dimension of interaction in “Zoo Tycoon.” There is something special, almost magical when you have animals that  recognize you, your voice, and that react to your movements and instructions.

Another area fans really wanted us to focus and innovate on for the new “Zoo Tycoon” is the social experience. Xbox  Live backed by the cloud is the perfect platform for this ambition. We absolutely love the idea of building and  maintaining the zoo of your dreams together with friends.

What does this mean for gameplay? You can upload your zoo to the cloud, share it with your friends, and have up to  4 players simultaneously contribute to the creation and maintenance of a zoo at any one time. Collaboration is a  key part of this new “Zoo Tycoon” and we believe it will open up the experience on a truly global scale.

Xbox Live really is the key to establishing what will be the first worldwide community of “Zoo Tycoons.” For the  first time, players from around the globe can share their zoos, communicate with other Tycoons directly via Skype,  loan and trade animals with each other and engage in large scale community-wide conservation efforts. Players will  be able to come together and work on achieving a goal related to the care and support of these amazing animals. Not  only will they receive special awards for their participation, but we intend to also support related real-world  conservation efforts, which I’ll talk about later.

These are just some of the new groundbreaking experiences that we can bring to “Zoo Tycoon” via the power of Xbox,  Live, Kinect and the cloud. We can finally deliver the gameplay vision we’ve always wanted to bring to the console  platforms and create the best “Zoo Tycoon” experience ever.

How is it different from “Zoo Tycoon 2?”

Jorg Neumann: “Zoo Tycoon 2” is the perfect reference for our game because it allows us to look at what made this  fantastic franchise so popular and to look at how we can learn from the previous titles in the series. We aim to  pay homage to what has gone before while enhancing the core experience. New features which utilize the power of  Xbox One will enable the best console experience for our consumers, with the most accessible, collaborative and  stunning “Zoo Tycoon” game in the series. We feel a great responsibility to the fans of the series and it’s  important to us that we retain the magic of “Zoo Tycoon” while delivering on gameplay that is in large part formed  with the feedback we’ve received from players.

Construction and the “Tycoon” aspect of the game are incredibly important to the franchise and game as a whole.  Certainly there was some temptation to simply reuse both systems from the PC series, however we identified a need  and opportunity to develop a system that plays to the strengths of the console experience.

We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to offering players accessible, intuitive systems that work well on a  console controller and interface, balanced with the greatest level of depth possible. After all, the best gameplay  is often found in balance and I believe players will appreciate the improvement to gameplay by optimizing these  systems. “Zoo Tycoon” fans will find themselves at home with the core game loop and key mechanics, while new  players will find they can instantly grasp the core game and get hands on creating their zoos due to the improved  accessibility.

In addition to optimizing the existing systems, we are bringing a lot of really cool new features to the “Zoo  Tycoon” Franchise.

The animals are the core part of our “Zoo Tycoon” franchise. So we are making sure we create the most beautifully  rendered animals, animated to capture the essence of what you’d experience when at a real zoo. The player can get  up close to our stunning animals by switching to the animal camera that focuses in on the selected animal to give  the player the truly staggering amount of detail going into these models which makes them look as realistic as  possible.

They can also get close to the animals through the enrichment interactions that utilizes Kinect on Xbox One to  create a level of interaction between players and their favorite animals which wasn’t possible before.

Combining natural gestures to interact directly with your animals via charming enrichment interactions and  intuitive voice commands to access menus and infographics in the most intuitive way possible. We are bringing a  level of immersion never before seen in a “Tycoon” game and it’s all possible due to the power of Kinect on Xbox  One.

Another new feature we are super excited about is the animal conservation and preservation component within the  game. There will be a great deal of focus on captive breeding and saving/rehabilitating and releasing animals back  into the wild once they’re ready. Once released into the wild, the player can keep tabs on each animal to see how  they’re progressing and adapting to their new home.

That desire to support the conservation and care of these animals is at the core of our community challenges. We  love the idea of bringing gamers together and putting that collective passion towards the education about and  conservation of the very animals that make this type of game possible.

For example, we are delivering in-game updates based on real world events that raise player awareness regarding the  animals they love. These real world events, made possible by our strong partnerships with great companies like the  Association of Zoos and Aquariums, are turned into in-game challenges. For example, if certain challenges are  successfully completed by the “Zoo Tycoon” community of players, Microsoft has committed to donating resources to  help assist the preservation of these animals. We love the idea of dedicated people making games for passionate  players who in turn have a positive real world impact on the animals that make this franchise possible.

Education is also an important part of our franchise and players will be happy to know that each exhibit will have  a plaque attached to it containing all the important information relevant to the animals in that exhibit. We feel  strongly about educating players to drive awareness of the state of these animals in the real world. Hopefully we  will inspire players to look into conservation efforts or support one of the many good animal conservation causes  out there.

As with all games in the “Zoo Tycoon” franchise, satisfying the needs of the animals is still at the core of the  experience, while trying to balance that against the needs of your guests. Fans of the “Zoo Tycoon” franchise will  appreciate the improvements while still feeling a strong sense of familiarity. We’ve also improved on the original  Campaign mode by adding in an adaptive challenge system which will help the players expand and maintain their zoo  while throwing in a few curve balls to keep the player on their toes.

We also have more of a focus on getting down into the park and running around amongst the guests, although the  player who wants to stick to Tycoon mode and fly around up in the sky can still do so. While running around the zoo  the player will be able to see their guest’s needs as they’ll play specific animations to show how they’re feeling.  The player will also have to do other little jobs such as cleaning up litter to keep the park clean, cleaning out  the animal exhibits and delivering food stock to concessions to stop them from running out. We have also added in a  buggy to allow the player to travel around their park much quicker than running around, it handles really well and  is a fun addition to the game.

What’s it like to work with Frontier again?

Jorg Neumann: What people may not realize is that we’ve never stopped. We’ve been working with Frontier  continuously for over six years now. We initially started on a zoo-related concept back in 2008, but ultimately  decided to put that project on hold in order to focus on an experience that was based on a deep and emotionally  meaningful connection between the player and one single animal. That experience, “Kinectimals”, launched with  Kinect in 2010 and is now one of Microsoft’s most successful franchises. After the success of Kinectimals, and the  follow-up “Kinectimals: Now with Bears” in 2011, we had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the world- class people at Disney Interactive and the famous Imagineers at Disney who are responsible for Disneyland in  California. We had a wonderful experience recreating the magic of Disneyland in the form of “Kinect: Disneyland  Adventures”, which was released for Christmas 2011.

After that, we started working on “Zoo Tycoon” again and focused the development on fully embracing and utilizing  the features of Xbox One and Xbox 360. We have a wonderful and very collaborative relationship with Frontier that  has already yielded three excellent and charming console games and we can’t wait to bring this new and re-imagined  version of “Zoo Tycoon” in glorious HD to the fans out there!

When can we play “Zoo Tycoon?”

Jorg Neumann: Very soon! As you could see from our E3 teaser trailer, the game is coming along well and it’s going  to be the best “Zoo Tycoon” title to date. We are planning to have a fully playable version at GamesCom in Cologne,  August 21-25. For those who can’t make it to Cologne, the game will be available for everyone for Holiday 2013.

 

“Zoo Tycoon” on Xbox One

Fact Sheet

August 2013

 

Publisher:    Microsoft Studios

Developer:    Frontier Development Ltd.

Genre:        Simulation

Format:        Blu-ray for the Xbox One video game and entertainment system; Xbox Live-enabled

Availability:    November 2013

Price:        Xbox One – $59.99 USD (SRP)

ESRB rating:    E

The wildly popular “Zoo Tycoon” series gets fully reimagined and is set to crank up the excitement, challenge and fun of building the ultimate zoo. Easy to start and to play, “Zoo Tycoon” on Xbox One gets you up close and interacting with the animals and zoo, offering intuitive controls and fun tutorials that are enjoyable for players of all ages. Create your own unique zoo layouts, adopt and care for animals, and manage your zoo with up to four of your friends on Xbox Live!  You can also participate in large scale community-wide animal conservation efforts in the game that effect real-world efforts. Play smart because animals and guests will react to your creative choices and ultimately decide your chances to become a “Zoo Tycoon.”

Game Features:

  • With more than 100 visually stunning animals, the largest and most detailed zoo environments ever, reactive gameplay and a real calendar tie-in, this zoo simulation will charm “Zoo Tycoon” fans and new players alike.
  • Perform intuitive, face-to-face interactions with your animals, including adopting, caring for and releasing them into the wild.
  • Get closer with Kinect. Your zoo animals will recognize your voice and react to your movement.
  • Design, build and manage your zoo. Keeping your animals happy will keep your guests happy; and happy guests mean more money flowing into your zoo.
  • With up to four friends joining in on the fun on Xbox Live, together you can all take part in the creation and management of your zoo. *1
  • Trade your favorite animals with friends, share your favorite zoo moments, and participate in multiplayer challenges and community events.
  • Interactive educational entertainment. Children and parents can broaden their knowledge of the animal kingdom to improve their zoo keeping skills.
  • Participate in community-wide animal conservation efforts in the game that effect real-world efforts.
  • Exclusively in the Xbox One version, enjoy greater visual fidelity, larger zoos, more animals, game DVR capability, Skype chat and four person multiplayer over Xbox Live and Kinect capabilities.

 

*1 Online multiplayer requires Xbox Live Gold Membership (sold separately).

 

Screenshots

 

Source: IGN's YouTube Channel, Pocket-lint, The Official Xbox YouTube Channel, Xbox Wire
Thanks to 123KINECT visitor dirtyvu for submitting this news!