I was more into Roller Coaster Tycoon than Zoo Tycoon, so I absolutely loved Planet Coaster. I do think that perhaps as a management sim it was a little vanilla, but in terms of the creation tools it was amazing - and that’s all I was really there for. I tried to make a universal studios styled park based on films solely released in 1997. I actually made a pretty good version of LA convention centre to house my Face/Off ride - and there was a merry go round at the heart of the park deep underground that basically was surrounded by screens replaying the opening of The Pest.
I’m not really expecting them to get involved in the grim realities of zoo keeping as they did with planet coaster. But hey I made a theme park with an extremely dark heart, so I guess it’s a case of make what you want of it?
Off the back of Jurassic World: Evolution, which was a licensed game and potentially had limitations with what the developer could actually do with the IP, I’m hoping Frontier can make the necessary improvements on their own branded product. They have a really good animation team and based on what they did with the dinos in Evolution I’m expecting it’ll be amazing. I guess the creation tools will be similar to planet coaster too. Last year, they released the ability for players to upload their own 3D models to the game, which was basically flinging open the reserves.
With Planet Zoo, I guess I’m just wondering what the moment to moment gameplay is. With PlanCo you could just spend huge amounts of time on a coaster track meticulously testing it and building around it as you accumulated wealth and it was done. My idea of heaven really…
As with Jurassic World: Evolution. There was a huge thrill in watching your newly made dinosaurs walk out into the park for the first time, like I said the animation was amazing - if a little cut and paste between the different dino types. The main problem was the actual moment to moment gameplay, which got old very fast. Fence is down, or feeders need replenished, you have to get a ranger jeep to fix it. You could automate it but it was probably quicker to manually do it yourself. Fences break for no reason, dino escapes and you have to do the same thing with a helicopter. It just got very repetitive and killed the game for me.
It could have done with more automation of the menial tasks, but I guess if that were to happen, you probably wouldn’t have much to actually do in the game. I felt there was a way to perhaps make the game more about chaos management, what do you do you actually do when disneyland breaks down and the pirates of the carribean actually start eating all the tourists. I’m all for for more realistic sims that give you more grey decisions to make - give me theme hospital but set within a struggling understaffed and busy NHS hospital. I think you are getting more and more of these kind of sims today - like Frostpunk for example or even Papers, Please, but you probably can’t expect it from the bigger developer houses.