A Plea for Difficulty Options

I am really looking forward to the game, but as with many games released these days I have concerns about the challenge that the game will present. I know that a hard zoo tycoon game wouldn't be the most financially successful, yet I hope that Frontier will add a range of difficulty options that will allow everyone to be happy playing it.

I have in mind the following things: it should be expensive to procure animals, and if it’s a rarer species it shouldn’t even be possible without a proven track record in-game of caring for the animals and possessing successful breeding programs. In that vein, it should be very difficult to get certain animal types to breed in captivity. It should require a highly attractive environment with little stress from guests. If the ultimate goal of the game is to use the zoo to make new animals that can then be reintroduced into the wild, it should be difficult to achieve as it is in the real world.

But how could it be made difficult, since anyone can make a huge enclosure which contains a large amount of stimulating objects and trees/water? I think there needs to be two biting constraints on the aspiring zoo tycoon: land and guest happiness (which affects money). Land is a good one, other than in ‘sandbox’ mode there shouldn’t be enough land available to make alot of animals extremely happy with their enclosure. Should the player focus on less animals that are happier (which will ultimately bring in less money for investment but more successful breeding) or more animals that are less happy (where the money can be used in various ways)? This is a tradeoff that is essential in zoo crafting.

The second constraint is more familiar. Zoo visitors want to see all of the animals up close doing interesting things, they don’t want things to obstruct their view nor do they want large enclosures or to see animals sleeping (yet they will also say they want the animals to be happy and enclosures to be large so the zoo doesn’t feel like a prison). As the zoo relies on income from visitors it is essential to please them, but the animals interests almost always conflicts with the visitors wishes. It should be essential to come up with innovative layouts to try and satisfy both parties (made all the harder from the land constraint), and it should also require compromises from the user.

Anyway, for all the above reasons and more a Zoo tycoon should present a real challenge, which will also go a long way to increase lasting appeal. I just hope Frontier add difficulty options that go in this direction, or at least allow the game to be modded so that difficulty mods can be added.
Top Bottom