Planet Zoo AMA! (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit - 18 September 2019 - 2PM UTC / 3PM BST

The reason for posting the questions thread on Reddit is that Frontier can reach new players on the PC Gaming Reddit who might not be familiar with Planet Zoo. On the forums you will typically find players who have already pre-ordered the game or are already familiar with the game. It's about reaching new audiences.

That being said, I agree that it would be nice to have a Planet Zoo AMA here as well, as most of the loyal players can be found here on the forums. :)
Isn't an AMA session by definition a way for FANS to reach a favourite creator?
Even if it's not, it's a very awkward way of advertising, then.

It's like if a random guy on a street approached me and told me I can ask him anything. What the hell am I supposed to do with that?
What will a new potential customer ask Frontier? "Hello, will the game be good?" "Is there going to be a Steam sale on lauch date?"
Or they will just talk random crap. (apparently more likely)
It doesn't make sense.

Anyway, I don't want to come across as salty. I just genuinely don't understand what are they trying to achieve.


Volunteer Moderator
Isn't an AMA session by definition a way for FANS of a favourite creator?
Even if it's not, it's a very awkward way of advertising, then.
I see what you mean and I agree to some extent. It would be great to have an AMA on the forums, where their fans are.
That being said, I'm just a simple volunteer who doesn't have anything to say in that regard, so I'm going to enjoy the AMA on Reddit.

Maybe someone could post a summary of the AMA on the forums once it has ended.
I see what you mean and I agree to some extent. It would be great to have an AMA on the forums, where their fans are.
That being said, I'm just a simple volunteer who doesn't have anything to say in that regard, so I'm going to enjoy the AMA on Reddit.

Maybe someone could post a summary of the AMA on the forums once it has ended.
Oh no, my rant wasn't aimed at you in the slightest!
I appreciate you posting this info and I'm going to hope somebody will post a summary here, once it's over as well.
The place where the planet zoo AMA is on reddit is probably a bad part of reddit to do an AMA on, especially when most the people on that subreddit hate DLC, even if its not bad DLC. The planet zoo reddit isn't as toxic from what I've seen.


Volunteer Moderator
Planet Zoo Developers - AMA!

Hello fellow Zookeepers!

This is a collection of all of the questions that were answered by Game Director Piers Jackson, Art Director Marc Cox, Lead Programmer Andrew Chappell and Lead Community Manager Bo Marit from Frontier Developments, developer of Planet Zoo, copied from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) that took place on the subreddit of PC Gaming (r/pcgaming).

Tip: if you're looking for something specific, then use the search feature of your browser to search for specific words that may have been mentioned in this AMA.

Enjoy reading! 🦒

Hi. Is there any hope with integration with planet coaster to make some kind of...Mega park?
Bo Marit
Hi Wumpaone, thanks for your question! I take it you're a Planet Coaster player :D (yay!)?​
While Planet Coaster and Planet Zoo exist in the same universe, they are ultimately a different game experience.​

Will there be any mammalian or bird exhibit animals?
Favorite animal is all of them :) but if I had to pick one I'd say the Elephant.
Bo Marit
Hi Dlynnb2006! Thanks for your question :) the Elephant is a great pick - one of the most emotionally intelligent animals around.​
Our Exhibit animals consist of a varied roster of reptiles and creepy crawlers (many of which we've not yet announced)!​

One more question if I may! Since you added my favorite animal, the hippo, did all of your favorite animals get added to the game?
Bo Marit
What a lovely question, doublebwl! Good to know you like the Hippo as much as we do!​
I can only speak for myself, and the Cheetah is definitely in game, so I'm very happy! (Although I'm LOVING the African Wild Dogs in the game as well!)​

Hi there! I was wondering if Sandbox mode had to be unlocked like it does in Jurassic World Evolution? Oh and my favorite animal is a Red Panda!
Bo Marit
Hi RedPanda1316, what a surprise that the Red Panda is your favourite ;)!​
Happy to tell you that Sandbox is available from the very start and does not have to be unlocked. Just to let you know that Sandbox won't be available in the Beta next week, but it'll be there for you upon launch in November.​

I am a big fan of the old Zoo Tycoon games and interested in planet zoo. Are you going to release marine animals and prehistoric animals like the old games? Also my favorite animal is the cheetah. Thank you for the ama.
Bo Marit
Hey TitaniumGoldAlloyMan (epic name there...) - my favourite animal is the Cheetah also! And thank YOU for being part of the AMA.​
We currently don't have any announcements on that, I'm afraid - we're focusing on launch at the moment but we will be keeping our eyes on your feedback after that as well.​

Will thememaker toolkit be released at launch/earlier into the game's life?
Bo Marit
Hi LostMyMag, and thanks for the question :)
There's currently nothing to announce about the Thememaker's Toolkit for Planet Zoo - but happy to hear that (I assume) you've used it in Planet Coaster!​

I don’t have a question, I’m just here because I’m stoked for this game and can’t wait to learn even more.
Bighorn sheep and addax are my favorite animals to work with but I can’t pick an overall favorite animal!
Bo Marit
Thanks cassieface_, what a lovely comment, thank you for your support!​

Just wanted to say thank you to you guys for doing this with us!
Bo Marit
Thanks for having us!​

Thank you guys so much for doing this ♥
I do have a few questions which I hope you can answer:
  1. Are we able to use our saved file from the beta in the launch version?
  2. Will beta have all the features of the launch version, or will things or animals be left out of the beta version? If so, can you tell us what will be excluded of the beta?
  3. Will the sandbox map be as big as the Planet Coaster sandbox map?
  4. Will all animals and themes be available when playing sandbox or will you still need to unlock stuff in sandbox mode?
  5. Will there be a scenario editor like we had in Planet Coaster?
  6. Will there be settings in the sandbox mode where you can turn off, for example, the radius around the staff buildings that will make guests unhappy?
  7. Can you tell us more about the camera option we saw in the game but couldn't click;)? Will this be a cinematic camera like we have seen in JWE or something different?
  8. Will guests be able to interact with building items like staff do (walk over them) or are they bound to use the paths only? And will guests avoid for example walls on a path and walk around it, or will they walk through it? And will we then get kerbs (or barrel planters :p) like in Planet Coaster to make sure they walk around it?
  9. Can you explain more about how babies and adult animals grow and in what stages?
I know you probably are not able to answer them all.. but at least then I tried :p hihi!
Thank you guys again,
Much love,
DeLady ♥
Bo Marit
Hi lovely Lady! Thanks for being here! I can definitely answer a couple of these :)

  1. We actually released loads of info about the Beta today: - all saves will be invalidated for launch.
  2. I'd say check out the post above, there's loads of info in there! (short answer: the Beta is a focused selection of animals and one Scenario only to not spoil the story)
  3. It is the same size as the Planet Coaster Sandbox map :) Yay for lots of building!
  4. Everything is available in Sandbox :) the game is very much like Planet Coaster in that regard.
  5. I cannot answer this at the moment.
  6. There may be some toggles but Sandbox Mode options won't inherently change the way the game works.
  7. I cannot answer this at the moment, sorry!
  8. Nice try Lady!
  9. Animals scale throughout their lifetime. We did a Developer Journal on our official forums that has a lot of information, but basically animals have a Juvenile and Adult stage, and animals only scale throughout their Adult phase (so they can go from young adult to "full grown" adult :) )
Hope this clarifies most of them! Thanks to you (and your Discord) for being here!​
<3 Bo​

Hi! Thank you guys for doing a AMA! My questions are - How did you decide what animals would be in the final release vs saved for future DLC? And, have you made any pathing tweaks with PZ vs PC?
Piers Jackson
It was quite a tough decision there’s so many animals that we could choose from. Ultimately we created a really long list and aimed for a good degree of diversity including some animals you’d expect and some that you wouldn’t. We also wanted a diverse range of conservation statuses from critically endangered to least concern.​
Bo Marit
Here is Piers' answer on a similar question in the AMA :)
Thanks for your questions by the way, always nice to meet fellow Planet players! The pathing system is very similar to Planet Coaster, but we have added the amazing Staff Paths feature, which is sure to give you a good think about how to place your paths and optimise your Staff schedules!​

That answers very little, so I guess I'll have to wait until you guys reveal the other themes. It's slightly frustrating, because I'm almost done planning ahead what I wanna build with the current themes. Still, thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
Bo Marit
It does give you a good indicator of the amount of content that will be in the game ;) and we've stated since announcement that the game will have just as much, if not more, creativity options for you to build and play around with! As Marc said as well, we're so excited to see what you'll create <3​

Hello! I just set my alarm to wake up to ask questions for my 9 year old daughter. She has talked about Planet Zoo every day. I homeschool her and I love her to play games like this to learn about animals.
Her favorite animal is the snow leopard and here are her questions. 😊
Will there be a tutorial?
How will the animals grow up? Will they go from babies straight to adults?
How do the animals get sick?
Can the animals die of old age?
Thanks so much for doing this AMA!
Bo Marit
Hi Gamermom36! As a woman in games, this warms my heart! I hope you can share some of her experiences with the game with us in November.​
Thank you for the questions, we love the Snow Leopard as well, so fluffy!​
- There's definitely a tutorial in the game; in Career Mode (the main story) the first couple of Scenarios are tutorial-focused so you can get to grip with the game.​
- Animals grow up, yes. They go from Juvenile to Adult, but their Adult phase scales depending on their age and genetics.​
- They can get sick if they're not taken care of, or if there's not enough genetic diversity.​
- Yes, animals can die of old age.​
Thank you again for being here! <3​

I grew up playing the first two Zoo Tycoon games and they were a major part of my childhood. I'm so happy to see that Planet Zoo is shaping up to be a worthy successor and so much of the game is looking absolutely fantastic! I do have a few questions though.
  1. I purchased Planet Coaster as soon as Planet Zoo was announced to learn the building system, and in the process eventually started making the layout for my 'dream zoo'. However, I've found that even the largest possible map size in PC is a bit on the small size for what I want to make. Will Planet Zoo have a map at least the size of the largest in PC, or possibly bigger? And if it not at launch, would it ever be considered for a dlc?
  2. Were there any animals that were selected because a particular dev or content creator liked them? Like say Aardvarks or Camels or something weren't initially in the list, but a concept artist or animator or popular content creator really liked them so they made it into the roster?
  3. While I imagine feedback from Planet Coaster was taken into account, was any feedback from JWE taken on board? If so, what kind of things did you take from the feedback from their?
  4. During the Beta Period, will you only be taking feedback on bugs/balance concerns or will feedback on things like animations, sounds, etc be considered?
I really cannot stress enough how thankful I am that a company is finally making a new zoo game with creative freedom and amazing looking animals. I thank you all for your amazing work for this amazing looking game and I hope the game is a huge success!
As for my favorite animal, I love all tapirs, but I have a special place in my heart for the Baird's Tapir since I got to see one days after it was born at a local zoo when I was very young, and I was so excited to see this species made it into the game!
Bo Marit
Hi DeneralGegenerate (gave us a good chuckle trying to pronounce your name correctly)! Thanks so much for your kind words, lovely to hear you're looking forward to the game. Let me try to answer your questions:​

  1. That's amazing, hopefully you're having fun with the game - took me a while to Gold Star all my levels! The Planet Zoo Sandbox map will be the same size as Planet Coaster.
  2. Good question, Piers has already answered a few about how we selected our animals; it's a big team so a lot of our personal favourites made it into the game!
  3. Absolutely! We've been so lucky to have active and helpful communities on both Planet Coaster and JWE who give us their honest and constructive feedback, so that's really helped us post-launch. There's a couple of features from JWE that we've learned from/been able to incorporate in Planet Zoo like Power and Weather. Our teams are very talented and all of our combined experience has led to where we are today :) they really have put so much work into this, it's incredible! It'll be nice to see you discover all the little details they've worked into the game.
  4. Both! We will have the Issue Tracker for all bug reports, and we are creating a dedicated Beta Feedback forum where you can discuss your thoughts and experiences with Planet Zoo. Happy to hear from you!
I know the intent of the game is zoo building and management, but is there any intent in the future to add any other attractions to the safari and train? Nothing on the PC scale of course, but attractions that might enhance the zoo experience while not being too much of a disrupter for the animals. Something like a jungle cruise and underwater sub/viewing station for marine life?
edit: Favorite animal is the gorilla. Can't wait to see these guys in game.
Bo Marit
Hi Moneyb03! Thanks for your question! At the moment you are correct, we've only announced the Steam Train and the Wildlife Tour; there will definitely be a few more rides when the game launches, with their main function being transporting guests around the park and giving them an even better view of your animals!​

Hi! :) How many animals are there altogether?
My favourite animal is a duck.
Bo Marit
Hi Alwlau, at the moment we can say it's many more than 50, with a load more for you to discover when the game launches. The Beta next week will focus on a selection of animals :) hope you'll enjoy the game!​

Hiya! Will vendors and staffing work similar to how they worked in Planet Coaster?
Bo Marit
Hiya Blightborn! Great question! Yes, they will be very similar to Planet Coaster: your staff has needs, they will have to be managed in terms of pay, training, and roster. There's also a couple of staff types that weren't in Planet Coaster like the Veterinarian and the Zookeeper. Hope you're as excited as we are!​

Will you be at EGX in London next month?
Hope to see you there!
Bo Marit
Hi Salamol! We will definitely be there, there'll be more information on that soon!​

Do animals have to be unlocked to be used in sandbox mode?
Bo Marit
Hiya mjmannella, no they do not! Everything will be unlocked in Sandbox, similar to Planet Coaster :)

Cant wait till next week! The game look's awesome so far. Im curious about the other animals to come. But ill wait =D
My fav animal is the fox. But i dont think they will be in the game sadly
Bo Marit
That's lovely, you won't be disappointed :D

Hi there and thanks a loooot for doing this !
Just three questions for me here ! (btw, deluxe already preordered <3)
  • First, we saw a screen of a Discord conversation wich was about aviary system on PZ, is it fake or not ? Will we have birds like macaws or so in the game ? (I'm in loooove with birds !)
  • Second, will there be more big reptiles like the 2 crocodiles and the Komodo dragon ?
  • And last (but not least !), will there be some semi-aquatic animals like sea lions in Zoo Tycoon 2?
Thanks again for doing this AMA, you rocks !

PS : My favourite animal is The Komodo Dragon !! Love that this beast is in the game !!
Bo Marit
Hi Tyranno97, thanks for your post. While I can't really answer your questions, I will say that our official communication goes through the official channels, NEVER on Discord. So if it's not posted by us, it's probably fake ;) Take care now!​

It'd be great if you guys would let us modify the rigs or the animations/skins of the animals a la Zoo Tycoon 2's Radical Remake. But your past history seems averse to modding, so...
What's your official stance on modding? Any plans to let us modify factors of the animals a la Wildlife Park 2? As in, we're able to modify the litter size, age range, amenities requirements, terrain requirements, et cetera? If not in-game, then in the game folders/files?
I'm especially curious of the genetics/DNA system. Because although it may never be as complex as Species: Artificial Life, Real Evolution, its presence is enough for the verisimilitude.
Bo Marit
Hiya TagalogON, thanks for your question, and taking the time to write us :) You clearly have a lot of experience in the modding community!​
We're not averse to modding - we know the modding community are capable of doing great things! We've implemented Thememaker's Toolkit for Planet Coaster last year, you can read more about that here:; I know it's probably not the modding you mean, but it's definitely elevating the level of creativity some Planet Coaster community members asked for.​
For Planet Zoo we're focusing on launching the game in November with the same high level quality bar as our other games. The team have a strong vision, and want to make sure that vision is brought to life.​
I appreciate your feedback, and as always will be sure to pass it along.​

Future animals:
Can we expect future content to be bundled into/only expansions such as an aquatic themed expansion, or are we going to see anything similar to Jurassic world with the low-priced mini packs with 3 dinosaurs?
In addition to this, will the community goals we can work towards allow us to unlock new animals or variants/patterns?
Im just interested in seeing how we get to expand our park diversity, thank you!
Bo Marit
Hi Mistmay, whilst I can't answer your question on future content - we're focusing on Beta and launch!! - I can tell you that with the community goals there will be unlock rewards (not new animals and patterns, more info later!)​
Take care now!​

Hi, everyone are there going to be DLCs and possibly expansion packs? My favorite animals are penguins and Quokka
Bo Marit
Hi CichaelMlifford, thanks for your question! As you might understand, we can't answer your question as we are fully focused on our Beta next week and our launch in November!​
I would like to say that we always love hearing from our community and will be monitoring feedback closely. We love the games we make and always aim to support them however we can.​

Hi Bo,
Are you from the Netherlands?
Bo Marit
Hi Ricardo! I am yes, thanks for asking.​

Hey team!
Really looking forward to seeing what Planet Zoo is like - the original Zoo Tycoon was one of my absolute favourite PC games as a kid, and I still bust out Zoo Tycoon 2 every now and then! The limited building options stop me from really getting into it though so I'm loving the free-build approach you've taken!
My question is probably one you are going to hear lots of today - how many animals will you be bringing into the game? And what is the range / variety going to be like? The trailers and sneak previews look amazing but are very African-Savannah-themed - will there be other climates involved such as Arctic, Tropical Rainforest, Coastal / Reef, Deep Ocean, etc? One of the highlights of Zoo Tycoon 2 was the sheer range of wildlife available!
Favourite animal - hard to pick between either the Red Panda or the Manatee! If either of those make an appearance I can guarantee they will have the most extravagant exhibit dedicated to them!
Looking forward to the big release!

*Edit - forgot to mention, I've just purchased Planet Coaster today in the Steam sale, so I am going to be buuuuuuusy!
Bo Marit
Hi ConTheJedi! Thank you so much for your lovely comment, and for trying Planet Coaster - we hope you enjoy it <3 it'll definitely be a good warm-up for Planet Zoo.​
At this point I can confirm there's many more than 50 animals in the game, and we'll not be revealing everything ahead of launch - so there will be a bunch of nice surprises on 5 November! There's also a good variety to the animals, Piers answered a few questions about how they came to the animal roster in this AMA.​
Have a wonderful time in the Planet universe!​

Hi everyone! Thanks a bunch for all the good work! My question: what are the map sizes going to be? Something like PlanCo or even larger? :D
Bo Marit
Hi Charpace, the Sandbox map in Planet Zoo is the same size as in Planet Coaster. Thanks for your question!​

Hi, i have another question :)
Are you planning to reveal all animals before release or will some be a suprise for when you play it the first time yourself? Thanks!
Bo Marit
There will definitely be surprises upon launch!! Get hyped <3​

Hey bo! Im loving all the animals especially the asian elephant. My question is what kind of support can we expect after the games release? Something closer to planet coaster or jurassic world evo?
Bo Marit
Hi OmnivorousPeacan! You know that we love our community and we've planned loads of exciting activities for Beta, launch, and beyond. We care deeply about your experience and feedback, so I reckon that will drive us forward for a long time, for all of our games!​

Hey, just wondering how many levels career mode will have? P.s I love snow leopards - so cute!!
Bo Marit
Hi BlackPrincess8, the Career Mode will have a full story to follow with lots of Scenarios; we are excited to have you explore them (and get Gold Stars!) upon launch.​

Hi Bo and team!!! Will there be collision in the game? (Like animals not going through each other kinda thing?)
And will there be different coats/patterns/fur shades to animals?
So excited for the game. THANKS FOR EVERYTHING YOU GUY DO!!!
Ps. My favorite animal is the snow leopard!
Andrew Chappell
Hi 100ker! We have some clever tech to allow for variations in animals patterns and some colour variation in fur. This is all driven by our animal genetics system, and looks really cool when you have a herd of zebra with different stripes!​

Hi guys - will animals have complex social needs and problems to solve - like bull elephants being kept separate from females and calves or zebra stallions being hyper-aggressive?

Will we be able to build underwater tunnels for our crocodiles and other aquatics?
Andrew Chappell
HI palindiil! Yes, animals do have complex social needs to fulfill. While we don't require you to separate out calves and females from bulls, having multiple bulls in the same habitat will likely cause them to fight. You'll need to separate them, or trade them with other players - enrichment items alone aren't going to placate an angry elephant...​

Hi there! Just curious since this type of game is up my alley, is there dev-console-type cheats? If so, how robust are they (spawn in animals, create emergencies)? Or would that just be Sandbox mode?
While I like a challenge, I love how I can just mess around if there are cheats available.
Andrew Chappell
Hi AMemoryofEternity! Some cheats from Planet Coaster may make it over to Planet Zoo, especially some old favourites like TegidCam (Hi Tegid!). We'll be looking at adding some more post-release, the team have plenty of ideas but we're always interested to hear cool suggestions from our community too :)

This is for Marc and Andrew: Of the animals we've seen so far, what was your favorite animal to design/program respectively and why?
Andrew Chappell
HI 1Seventy! Our whole team has done an amazing job making the animals in Planet Zoo feel really special. My favourite (so far, no spoilers!) is the Ring Tailed Lemur. Seeing them climb around a climbing frame, or relax arms outstretched in the sun is really cool.​

Will there be animated video boards like the ones on planco?
Andrew Chappell
Hi KennnyJ71! Thanks for mentioning this, these were one of my favourite additions to Planet Coaster. We aren't including these for release, but your feedback is important to us and we'll keep them on our radar.​

Another question, are there plans to incorporate any guest interactions (feeders, petting zoos,etc)?
Again favorite animal is Elephants
Andrew Chappell
Hi dlynnb2006! We do have interactions between guests and animals - they'll stop to view them, and potentially take photos of them too. Placing your feeders near to guest viewing points will help them get a really good view of your animals, but we don't currently have any plans for petting zoos. Badly behaved guests can also throw their leftover food into habitats, which animals will eat and can potentially get sick from, so make sure you have plenty of bins and a well trained security guard on standby :)

Hello Frontier!
My question is: are you considering implementing a multiplayer? E.g. manage a big zoo with 2 people?
PS: I'm so excited for the game!!
My favourite animal is the Bengal Tiger!
Andrew Chappell
Hi MissPepperdragon! I love Bengal Tigers too :) We don't have any plans for mutiplayer, but we do have an entirely new game mode for you all to try. Franchise mode will let you trade animals with your fellow community and work together towards improving animal welfare and conservation efforts. Look out for a special Community Challenge during the beta next week...​

Will there be other campaign scenarios besides India?
Andrew Chappell
Hi RedPanda1316! Yeah, we have a full story with lots of different scenarios for you to play as part of our campaign. The first scenario of career mode is available in beta but we will have many more characters for you to meet and locations to discover in the full game.​

Hey Guys!
Can't wait for the game.. more excited for this than I was for Red Dead Redemption 2 on console last year! I've pre-ordered the deluxe version, my question is when will the beta game be available to download on Steam? Will it be a day or two before the 24th?
Many Thanks!
Andrew Chappell
Hi robjmartin! Planet Zoo will be running wild on the 24th at 4PM BST. We're not planning on supporting preloading for this, but we think the game download should be around 10gb. You can find more information about the beta on our forums -

Hey Frontier! Im just wondering the nature of animal biomes, one biome in particular. Jungles. Will we be able to make our own lush jungles ingame?
Marc Cox
Hi Whynotpie, thank you very much for your question. Yes indeed, you will be able to create your very own jungles where your Zoo guests can wander through tree lined paths in such a way that they feel part of the natural environment of the animals around them.​

I'm really looking forward to building over-decorated zoos in Planet Zoo. Because of that, I have a question: What themes are gonna be in the game, outside of the ones revealed so far?
Edit: My favourite animal is one not revealed in Planet Zoo so far: The moose. I'm a master's student in ecology, and I fell in love with them when I had to write about a possible reintroduction of moose in the Netherlands during my bachelor's.
Marc Cox
Hello there otakusteve and thank you for joining us today !​
I'm very pleased to hear you're keen on wanting to build over-decorated zoos. I don't think you're going to be disappointed with what we'll be revealing very soon and the themes we've shown so far, African, Indian and Modern are hopefully clear indications that subsequent content is going to be just as exciting to create with. We've had a huge amount of fun researching different architecture from around the world and we have a very comprehensive and fun set of scenery for you let your imagination run wild.​
Very interested to hear of your own valuable pursuit in ecology and hope that's going well for you. As for the moose, what a spectacular creature to choose.​
It would be so great to see some of your creations on Steam in the future - we'll look out for them :)

Hi everyone!
Let me start off by saying how super hyped I am for Planet Zoo, I think I've told that half of Amsterdam by now haha
My question is a very community oriented question. But how much influence will we have as a community on which animals make it into the game in the future? Did you guys already have certain animals planned from the start or will you guys be keeping a close eye on the community and their wishes (for example alot of people on the subreddit have been waiting for more Australian animals).
Whatever the case is I will still be purchasing everything from Frontier from now until the end of time but I was just curious :)
P.s. my favorite animal is the Bornean Orangutang (I had one in my local zoo that I loved seeing every week who sadly passed away in 2007)
Marc Cox
Hello MHadri24, it's very kind of you to take the time and join us here today. Thank you for spreading the word !​
At Frontier we take the community ideas and comments with enthusiasm and ultimately want to do as much as we can to fulfill everyone's dreams. We're not really much different as developers in that everything people ask for is pretty much what we would like to see too.​
I really hope you enjoy Planet Zoo as much as we've enjoyed making it. Have fun !​

Thanks you for your AMA ! How much time did you needed to realise a game like Planet Zoo ? (from the idea to the release)
And #TeamLion :D
Marc Cox
Hey there itchibli, thanks for taking the time to ask a question.​
From our initial research trip and early concept up to the release date is a little over two years. This is quite an epic game for us. The attention to detail and desire to emulate the behaviours of the animals has produced the highest number of animations for any game we've ever made at Frontier. We're nearly there !​

Can different species be mixed in single environments?
there any "food-chain" AI?
Can I put a salt-water crocodile in the primate enclosure and...see what happens?
Don't judge me....who didn't, at the earliest opportunity, put a T Rex in with the Triceratops in Jurassic World Evolution?
Marc Cox
That's a great question kidnapalm and let's be honest it's going to be the first thing lots of people are going to try first in the game :) Essentially you're free to do whatever you like in your Zoos ! The simulation will take care of all the results you might expect and feedback to the success of your Zoo. I guess it might depend on how hungry your crocodile is :) Thank you for taking the time to drop by today and I hope you enjoy playing the game.​

One of my favorite things to do at a zoo is to see all the creepy snakes/spiders. Will we be able to create and customize small terrarium exhibits?
Marc Cox
Hi Ballwhacker. I'm with you on the creepy stuff, it's those creatures I tend to find myself studying the most at a Zoo. One of our biggest desires at the planning stage was to give you, the player, an opportunity to add the smaller critters to your Zoo and, given the amount of customisation you can do elsewhere, it would've been remiss of us to not have the option of varying the layout of their homes. In short, yes, you'll be able to do this. I hope you enjoy the game and post some of your creations up on the Steam workshop, we'd love to see what you come up with !​

Hey! Honestly you guys and what you're doing is amazing! My favourite animal is the binturong! They smell like popcorn! I'd like to work in conservation in the future and I'm obsessed with different cultures and ecosystems. It feels like you're making a game designed for me! And it looks like it'll be one EPIC game! I just love it! I hope you are having a whale of a time creating this pawsome game and I can't wait! Thank you!!!
Marc Cox
Hello there Flyingleopard5 ! Thank you so much for following us and taking time out today to contribute. Also, thank you for mentioning the binturong. What a spectacular creature and I didn't know they smell of popcorn :) Really hope you enjoy playing the game, it's been a huge amount of fun to make and we're so happy to see comments from players like yourself who are so passionate about wildlife and conservation. I wish you well in your worthy ambitions, the planet needs more like you!​

I know next to nothing about your previous work or this game despite being a building simulation.
Why should I buy it?
Marc Cox
Hiya stadiofriuli. That is a really great question and thank you for posting it. I'm sorry to hear you've not had a chance to play any of our previous titles but what I do know is that if you're a fan of creative games and simulations then Planet Zoo is absolutely not going to disappoint you.​
We love creating gaming experiences that bring players into worlds of their own creation. This game builds, quite literally, on our experience of highly creative sandbox modes coupled with a management simulation system that can be as in-depth or 'hands-off' as you please. Our work on the animals and their unique sets of behaviours and animations is, even for me, quite breathtaking.​
I hope you get a chance to play it sometime and let us know what you think. Many thanks for your contribution and have a great day :)

With water, can we make a gradual slope into deeper water? Rather than having either all shallow or all a drop off!
Marc Cox
Hello there Terriere ! Yes. We have some new terrain tools for you that make this kind of operation easy to do. You can be precise about angle, scale and rotation of the terrain volume brushes. Thank you for your great question.​

Hello Frontier team! I got a few questions, feel free to answer any or one.
  1. How do you approach creating the environments in the game? How many people work on each stage and how long does it take you guys to fully create one theme? I'm a game art student and curious how the development works.
  2. Will there be rare genetic mutations of fur colours? (For example Albino lions)
  3. Will be be an aquarium expansion?
I love fishes so I hope we'll get an aquarium expansion in the future, but as for the confirmed game animals I'm in love with the springbok antelope!! <3 Can't wait to see them in game.
Marc Cox
Thank you for posting such great questions Nin-kaii.​
I can answer the first question for you.​
The environments are split into three main components. The first two, terrain and foliage, come together to compose each biome specific to a world location. For instance the tropical biome has textures for the ground and rocks that are appropriate for areas of the world with those climates while the trees and plants are also picked for their suitability. A complete set for tropical could take up to two months with around 3 people working together.​
The third component is themed scenery.​
This has been chosen based on typical human architecture, past and present, that could be found in regions of the world where we would also find the animals included in the game. Including the concept art we would have 8 artists generating the assets for the theme working over a period of around 3 months.​
We have much more that contributes to the composition of a zoo, everything from transport rides to exhibits and barriers to keep the animals in (or the guests out?). Not to mention the staff buildings and facilities. Somehow we’ve managed to do it all in the space of about 2 years. It’s an epic game :)
I wish you well in your studies and success in your career goals.​
kindest regards,​

Hi Bo,
Just wanted to say that I love what Frontier is doing with PZ. I wanted to ask some questions as to the nature of the game
  1. How did they make it so the patterns of animals like zebras and tigers are unique?
  2. What was it like programming the climbing and how long did it take?
  3. Is there any concept art that I can look at on websites like ArtStation?
  4. Will animal models vary such as with manes, horns, tusks, antlers, etc?
  5. Will there be maps that aren't just in the middle of nowhere like PC? I'd especially like zoos within cities similar to London, Berlin, Central Park, and Vienna.
Marc Cox
Hello there tigris115. So kind of you to post these questions.​
I can answer the question on animal patterns !​
Patterns are a clever use of what we call ‘alpha masks’ applied to the animals textures. These can be adjusted and randomised by code with the values then stored to be used in the genetic make-up of these specific creatures. These numbers are like a unique ‘footprint’ for each animal. We didn’t want to give you a ton of animals all looking the same !​
We’re really happy with the results and shows just how much detail we’ve added to Planet Zoo for the player to enjoy.​
kindest regards,​

How did you choose which animals to include in the roster? For instance, the mandrill is quite an uncommon animal, as is the aardvark, in zoos. What criteria did you use? Or was it more of a balance between common-rare animals?
Piers Jackson
Hi Double_Blunderbuss It was quite a tough decision there’s so many animals that we could choose from. Ultimately we created a really long list and aimed for a good degree of diversity including some animals you’d expect and some that you wouldn’t. We also wanted a diverse range of conservation statuses from critically endangered to least concern.​

Hello! I’m very excited for this game, and the fact that you’ve put in my fave animal (the hippo) with so many glorious animations is awesome!
My two questions are: what were the trickiest animals to add to the game (whether because of their unique anatomy, animations, behavior, etc.) and what is the team most proud of accomplishing in this game?

Piers Jackson
Hi doublebwl. It was probably the Bornean orangutan. All of the primates are difficult to model because the facial details are close enough to a human’s that you can notice when they look wrong. Beyond that the orangutan also pushes the fur render due to its fur length and let’s not forget that they have the ability to climb! Regarding what we’re most proud of I think it’s probably our locomotion system which has to cope with player generated terrain, water and climbing.​

Hello Frontier!
My question is: How far is animal diversity needed to satisfy your guests, lets say i would want to make a tiger sanctuary would this be possible or will the guests be unhappy?
My favorite zoo animal is the Capybara, would love to see it in Planzo :D
Kind regards,

Piers Jackson
Hi Jan-Bas. Diversity in your zoo is primarily important for attracting numbers of guests, low diversity equals low guest numbers. Your guest can come into a single species zoo and get a great view but you’ll not be giving them the best experience possible.​

when trading are animal prices set by the player or is it based on the genetics/appeal of the animal?
Piers Jackson
Hi GrimGamingUk. We set guide prices based on species, genetics, etc. However, you are able to set the adoption price as you see fit.​

Will the power supply be affected by the map you select i.e solar is poor on maps with cloud cover/snow storms in which case wind is better with the opposite being true in say desert environments?
Piers Jackson
Hi GrimGamingUk. Solar and wind power are affected by the biomes you place them in and you’ll need to keep solar uncovered for it to work.​

Thanks for the AMA, can't wait to get my hands on PZ in November. I'm a zoo enthusiast and been to many in the UK, what would you say is the best zoo you have been to?
Also, are any zoo environments, enclosures or management scenarios based on zoos in the real world? If so, which zoos have inspired any of the content in the game?
Oh and my favourite animal is probably Giant Otter

Piers Jackson
Hi TJSimpsonz. The team has been trying to visit as many zoos as they can (often whilst on holiday) and we have been to a number of zoos in the UK as a group. Of the zoos I’ve personally visited I was particularly impressed with Chester and I think they’re doing fantastic work both in terms of research and conservation.​
Regarding habitat inspiration we’ve been gathering as much data on how zoos set these up as we can and have incorporated elements into the design. For example going back to Chester I think we all took inspiration from their Islands area which does a really good job of creating a natural looking environment that spans both the animal habitat and the guest area.​
I have some questions:My own question: Will paths also be included in blueprints like the terrain?
Questions from DeLady's Discord server:Sjakie: How long does it take to make an ingame animal from scratch to a finished animal?
Arciel: 1. How many people work together on one animal? Like how many people have touched or worked with it?2. What was the biggest challenge to overcome when developing Planet Zoo?3. What criteria does the dev team use to pick the animals for the game?
Bosjesman: Would it be possible to get an extra option for trading, to choose if you want to trade animals with only steam friends ? So that you can filter your trade market with animals traded by steam friends?
Koda: Will there be a guidebook or something that tells us when certain species of animals can live together or not? Or do we have to discover the combination possibilities the hard way?
Thank you! We are all looking forward to planzoo!

Piers Jackson
Hi TheUselessAccount.​
We’re still looking at supporting paths in blueprints, it’s definitely feedback from the Planet Coaster community that we’re aware of.​
The time it takes for the team to build an animal from scratch to completion depends a lot on how unique it is. Each animal has to go through our Character Art, Rigging, Animation, Audio as well as Design and Code to work on the behaviour so it’s really hard to put an exact number on it, but it’s substantial!​
Our biggest challenge in my opinion has been our navigation and locomotion systems, they’re very, very complex.​
Currently we’re supporting open trading with the entire community to get our adoption market established, but feedback on this will be important to us.​
We will provide a ‘Zoopedia’ and it will give you a lot of information about the animals including which ones provide interspecies enrichment.​

Hi guys! Very excited for this game as we haven’t had a good one since Zoo tycoon 2.
A lot of people are curious, because while planet coaster was an incredible canvas to create awesome theme parks, a big complaint is that it lacks in deeper management aspects. Has this been fixed with planet zoo and if so, in what ways?

Piers Jackson
Hi dtg109,​
We’re confident that we have deep management activities and hope you’ll agree when you get to play Planet Zoo.​
The management detail revolving around the animals is comprehensive. You need to provide them with a suitable environment, this includes navigation space, water, climbing, terrain types, plant coverage and suitability, supply cover, provide food, water and enrichment and maintain appropriate temperatures! This is all while juggling the social needs of the animal and increasing space requirements as they reproduce. Animal husbandry in terms of maintaining genetic diversity is also important for their wellbeing and keeping an eye on the adoption market will be important in making this happen.​
We also have a diverse set of staff, each of whom has their own important role to play in maintaining the zoo. Hiring the right number of staff, training them and possibly, most importantly, making sure the facilities they need are in close proximity to the animal habitats they’re looking after creates a loop in management efficiency. We’re not going to make this too easy though, all facilities need to be powered and both power and facilities must be kept away from the guests, otherwise it ruins their experience. Spatial management and the use of workzones and staff paths will be critical to the success of your zoo.​
There’s more, but I hope this gives you an idea as to the level of detail and management complexity we’ve aimed for.​

Bo Marit
Hi everyone, we've been so overwhelmed with all of your great questions, so thank YOU very much for being here and giving us a chance to speak about Planet Zoo with you. We have to get back to work now, but we'll do our best to tackle a few more questions before the end of the day. Thanks again for your questions, and thanks to the mods for having us!
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How does AMA work? I was on Reddit at the right time yesterday, but didn't find a place to write. How exactly does it work? Where could you ask the questions? I would like to know about the next AMA.

Thanks :)

EDIT: Ok now I found the area, Next time it would be helpful, if frontier paste the final link
Thanks @Joël for your hard work of covering all questions! :D And of course thanks to all the lovely AMA people who did so work so hard answering all those legit questions. Sadly I couldn't ask anything in person, but the lovely community of DeLady's Discord shared my questions and I'm happy with the answers :D Thanks again all :D
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