What’s Next For Planet Zoo

So, not really sure what to name this thread but it’s basically about the current state of the game, why I feel the game’s interest in declining, and what’s ahead for the future (some speculation)

There’s no doubt that the state of Planet Zoo as of right now, October 15th, 2020, is at a pretty low point. Not much communication, speculation, gameplay content from creators, news, updates, and just plain excitement. And this seems to be a pattern with the game throughout the (almost) year it’s been out for. In between the SA and Arctic Packs, in between the SA and Australia Packs, and right now in between the Australia Pack and the next one. There’s about a month of excitement and enjoyment in the community following and preceding the certain DLC. But, that’s only 2-3 months out of the year... that’s just not enough. Since there’s no excitement in the community, I’m not excited to play the game. This game is still incredible and I play it almost every single day, but these days it’s kind of a drag to get ideas, and just enjoy playing.

No way what needs to happen is a big question. Do they go for smaller packs and less frequent or larger packs and more distant. I, personally am in favor of smaller packs more frequently, to keep the creative juices flowing not just for me but for the overall excitement of the game. The anniversary is quickly approaching, just under three weeks now. So, if they are doing something for the anniversary, which I’m sure they are (whether it be a DLC, free animal, update, etc.), we would know about it maybe soon, as soon as in under two weeks.

Now I know a lot of people want Marine DLCs and Aviary DLCs. Guess what, it ain’t happening... for now. The next DLC will not be a marine or aviary expansion/dlc, 99% sure of it. It will most likely be a normal DLC but this one needs to pack more of a punch. These DLCs, while really good, run dry after a few weeks. I know quarantine and COVID has slowed down operations with Frontier, but now as the world is (slowly) getting back to normal, I feel like it’s time for a little more engagement, even if it’s just a quick message from Chante giving a little hint or teaser to what their working on. Just something to keep us intrigued, and to keep us playing.

So I’m interested to see what y’all think isn’t going to happen with the game going forward. Will we get an anniversary DLC? An anniversary update? What will it be? Will we even get one before the end of the year? Let the speculation begin!
 
Before they 'pump' out the next content they should focus on fixing the annoying bugs, of which a large bunch were only introduced or amplified with 1.3. My impression from Discord and streams is that a part of the declining interest comes from persistent issues, which affect a lot of players. I mean, new players even reported that the first campaign mission is heavily bugged. It's now been almost been two months with this mess.
 
I think the lack of communication between packs is an issue, but it doesn't mean that there won't be lots of content at some point. I can't tell someone to be patient when I want to know myself. I'm pretty sure we'll get a new pack in December (maybe November if no anniversary pack) and I'm suspecting something small, at least 1-2 animals though, for an anniversary pack. Mind you, that's suspecting but not expecting. I'll be disappointed if we don't but I won't feel they owed it to us or anything.

I agree with marine (if ever) and aviaries. That's a whole several levels (literally) of coding that doesn't appear to be in the game - as yet. Both of those not only have the animations there's a different plane of motion that has to be accounted for, within the hitboxes. I'm hopeful we might see something of that by the end of 2021.

While I am fine with a 3 DLC per year, roughly 5 animals per pack, and the cost is alright as well, I'll be honest, I'd love an individual habitat animal each month and no group packs - low cost $2 USD maybe per animal, and every quarter there's an additional animal that's an exhibit animal at $1 USD. And then some building packs released every 3-4 months for around $5 USD. That way, if you didn't like some animals you could completely pass on them or if you financially needed to be super choosy about what animals to get, you just get the ones that are "must haves" for you. it also would free the developers to do away with any kind of theme for habitat animal releases - any kind of biome, continent or animal group could be possible every single month.

A set up like that would keep "new content" coming in every month, sometimes twice a month, even if the actual monthly releases wouldn't be that large, just one animal.
Alternately, if you wanted to buy into a yearly "season pass" at a slightly lower cost, as in know you you'd want all the animals and packs regardless of what they are, that could also be a possibility; of course, you still only get the animals as they are released each month, you just have already pre-paid for it.
 
Do people just ignore the fact that with every DLC there's a huge update?
Usually bigger sim games get big update every month and then huge update before DLC release. Not only bug fixes, but improvements, small amount of free items etc. But I must say that I do not see that many bugs lately.
 
Certainly needs to sort problems first, especially the slapdash Management System and Construction, Also certain Animations.
Problem is Releasing a Few Animals 3 times a Year, most people will be bored of the Game and moved on.
I do not play much myself because of this. Something needs to happen even if just an Editor for Construction.

Personally i would like to see a Folder System in Management for Workers, tends to get messy after a while.
Better Construction pieces, would be great too.
Even though a Great Game, and working through a difficult time, most of which can be done at home, it seems the Games is losing popularity.
I looked at that one with Dinosaurs in the Making, but that is of no interest to me. Love to see Living Animals, especially the Endangered ones down because of GREED and Cruelty
 
I would like to see more open communication from Frontier, bottom-line. Last month they hired a new community manager and I thought that would help things, but so far I've only seen one or two posts by Chante over the past month and a half. It's getting so tired. How a company thinks this level of communication with their player base is acceptable, I definitely do not understand. It's not even like it has to always be about the game, they don't even make casual conversations with us anymore. They're not doing themselves any favors.

As far as in game content I would like to see, here's a list of animals and corresponding behaviors, foliage and scenery I would like to see over the next, say, two years.

Animals
  • Either the White rhino or Black rhino. I think I personally prefer that Black because of conservation listing. Both are common in captivity.
  • Meerkats, and a unique enrichment item or two to go with them. Maybe a large rock with burrows in it that they can run around in with special animations, or a specific rock or tree stump item that lets them get on top and stand guard.
  • Either (or both honestly) the Olive baboon and Hamadryas baboon. I want at least one for sure. The Hamadryas would be a little bit more unique.
  • Servals, and a special animation for them to jump from the ground to the top of the scratching post we already have. These guys can catch birds on the wing, their abilities should be showcased!
  • American alligator
  • Cougar/puma/mountain lion. Here's the thing about these guys though, I need Frontier to do a good job on the babies. That means the eyes are colored correctly, the fur has spots as it is supposed to etc. They should absolutely not just look like smaller versions of the adults. This is my biggest pet peeve with the Cheetahs, the Cheetah cubs look terrible.
  • American black bear. I know some won't want another bear, and that's fine. I just like them, I think they're cute and I enjoy seeing them when I go hiking. Sue me.
  • Moose (Generic is ok I guess, sort of like what they did with the Gray wolves, but I would say preferably the Alaskan subspecies. It's the biggest)
  • Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Two NA sheep species might be a bit much, but these guys are always a nice filler animal in between the big tickets. And they contrast nicely where Dall sheep live in the cold Arctic, these can be found in the hot Sonoran desert.)
  • Binturong/Bearcat. I imagine these would function similarly to how the Red Pandas do in game. I would maybe like Frontier to work on the frequency of ground behaviors to climbing behaviors, in order to increase the time spent in trees.
  • Any two gibbon species. MUST have full brachiation animations and behaviors, otherwise don't bother adding them. If this happens, the Orangutans can be adjusted as well. I have never used the Orangutans because of how unrealistic their behavior is ingame.
  • Iberian Lynx
  • Arctic fox
  • Fennec fox
Foliage
  • More Mediterranean/scrubland types of plants
  • More low to mid lying bushes
  • More trees that aren't just big fluffy balls of leaves. Trees that are taller and skinnier, that you could actually see through/around
  • More flowers
  • More grasses
  • More palms, especially palmetto plants
  • More fruiting plants. Such as fig trees or berry bushes
  • More desert plants

Scenery
  • A North American theme based partially around log cabins/frontier based decor, and partially around Native American culture and art. Similar to what was done with the Aboriginal people in the Australia pack. I would put an emphasis on the style of the Pacific Northwest cultures.
  • Some backstage pieces
  • More artwork for the animals we already have. For instance, give the Komodo dragon some artwork in the style of the Indian animals, with the painted tapestries. Or, give the Baird's tapir a statue. Things like that.
  • More educational boards and themes/artwork
 
Problem is Releasing a Few Animals 3 times a Year, most people will be bored of the Game and moved on.
People lose interest fairly quickly with almost every game. I'm always a bit surprised when people are expecting something else because this happens almost everytime?

How a company thinks this level of communication with their player base is acceptable, I definitely do not understand. It's not even like it has to always be about the game, they don't even make casual conversations with us anymore. They're not doing themselves any favors.
I agree with the less casual conversations but to be honest, when they do - a lot of people ask for the basics: "Will you be adding my suggestion? When more DLC? When console version (twitter and instagram)?". Some people aren't doing the community a favor with that attitude either :D.
Mentioned this a couple of times: But what if you don't like what they have to announce? The Planet Coaster announcement for console (they are fully focused on console and have nothing to announce for PC) did not get the best responses. Personally would be glad if I bought a game and it has 3 years of support/DLC.
 
How is interest defined and measured?
Differs per person.
Steam makes it easy to see how much hours your steam-friends play the game, for example in the last 2 weeks.
I got 30-40 people in my steamlist who bought PZ.
Checked that one, every now and then.

Forum has become more quiet, some discord channels too, social media posts has less likes/comments.

You got interest spikes when they release DLC, but fades after that.
You could also look at steam statistics to get a general impression of interest.

So, different ways to look at it.
Personally played 2-3 hours a day (and in the weekends more) and since July only 2-3 hours per week? -at most-
 
I would like to see more open communication from Frontier, bottom-line. Last month they hired a new community manager and I thought that would help things, but so far I've only seen one or two posts by Chante over the past month and a half. It's getting so tired. How a company thinks this level of communication with their player base is acceptable, I definitely do not understand. It's not even like it has to always be about the game, they don't even make casual conversations with us anymore. They're not doing themselves any favors.
This. So much this. Now, I exaggerate now to make a point, but at the moment it feels like this:
"Oh, it's friday again, lets post an animal fact."
"Oh, it's monday again... Damned,I lost the list of content creators. Lets post the weekly tweet and see who is streaming PZ. Doesn't matter who. Advertisment for free, yay!"
"Oh, another week. Can someone do a quick search what we can share from the workshop? We just call the spotlight differently each day, no one will notice anyway."
"Hey Planzoofam, three month are over, buy our pack!"

There was soooo much more heart in communication prior to release. Frontier seemed to be way more sensitive about the general mood of the community and reacting to it. They even did react to popular threads and discussions. Remember a lot of us were worried about the future of the game and Bo tuned in to say, she can't share future plans but we need not to worry? It wasn't much, but it was a warm gesture and a proof that Frontier did indeed read the room.

The lack of communication is the reason why my following predictions are somewhat a wishlist. It's what I would have expected pre-south america pack and what I would still expect if there wasn't that worrying wind of change here. Truth be told: At the moment I feel like Planet Zoo is a byproduct of Planet Coaster that should fill the gap between the end of the support of Planco PC and Planet Coaster console edition. At the moment, I don't think anymore, that Frontier realizes and / or accepts that the Planet Zoo and Planet Coaster players, though somewhat overlapping, need different things in a game. The DLC model is a great example: The way it is, for many players, it does not work out well. I like the idea of an animal per month to buy and I also like the idea of bigger DLCs. Both in combination would be my dream solution. But here is what I think will actually happen:

- They will continue their DLC type by region and the small animal roaster that will come with it. Meaning: Europe, North America, Asia and Antarctica will be coming. Looking at Planco, I hope we get a wild western theme with North America, I think (not wish for) a somewhat Paris and Bavarian inspired european pack, a Japan-inspired asian theme and maybe a busy modern city theme for asia.

- We will get 4 flying birds and 4 swimming animals in two different packs. Fishes will be exhibit animals, nothing major.

- The end. The sad end. The moment it is now, they are just going over a checklist and then they call Planet Zoo done and have filled the gap until the release of Planet Coaster 2.

And to make this crystal clear: IF Frontier changes things, I still think this game has a potential of being as long-lived as The Sims or Cities Skylines. But things NEED to change for it. And I just don't feel like Frontier has interest in it or is willing to open their eyes to the potential this game has.
 
Last edited:
Transport overhaul: multiple/different vehicles on each of the rides - re designs with new vehicles - steam train African with narrow gauge rails and cute trains and carriages- wild India- with luggage atop of the train and a decapitated version.
Long monorail trains with forward facing seats and windows for cold environments.
Cable car gondola with Planco enclosed cabins (for cold climates) and maybe a chairlift version - boats - jungle cruise type; wider and larger capacity, and pirates of the Caribbean type with small drops and lifts - and channels that can butt right up against enclosure walls - and a paddle steamer would be nice too.
 
Yea tbh, I find the silence of Frontier and the lack of quantity/quality of the DLC to be quite disheartening. I don't want to say that Frontier has become super money hungry after JWE but i feel the game is lacking a lot after a year.
 
Last edited:
The only thing these threads ever seem to produce is the same long list of requests and demands that we see all the time. IMO the communication issue is the only thing worth discussing.

As far as the future of the game is concerned, it's getting boring and depressing seeing everyone make the same negative assumptions. None of us have any idea what's in store. Nothing we've had so far can realistically give us any inclination of what's to come. We knew there would be three DLC's at the start (winter, spring, summer). We knew the next two would follow the same pattern as the Arctic Pack. We knew it was going to be S. America and Australia. None of that was a surprise.

We can't assume the next update or DLC or whatever will be more of the same. That isn't how it worked for PlanCo, and it isn't how it worked for JWE. It's bizarre to me that everyone suddenly thinks Zoo is going to remain a boring stagnant game forever more.

We know what to expect for 1.3.4, at least - some minor fixes - but after that it could be 1.3.5, or it could be 1.4.0 with some anniversary goodies, or it could be 1.4.0 with a new DLC at Christmas. If you're getting bored with the game as it currently is then just do what everyone else does and stop playing until something new comes along.

Personally I'm hoping the guys who made Parkitect will make a zoo game. I think that would be super fun.
 
As far as the future of the game is concerned, it's getting boring and depressing seeing everyone make the same negative assumptions. None of us have any idea what's in store. Nothing we've had so far can realistically give us any inclination of what's to come...

We can't assume the next update or DLC or whatever will be more of the same. That isn't how it worked for PlanCo, and it isn't how it worked for JWE. It's bizarre to me that everyone suddenly thinks Zoo is going to remain a boring stagnant game forever more.
Fully agree with this, you took the words out of my mouth. I really don’t understand the pessimism and negativity.
 
I find myself in the middle tbh. I fully understand the pessimism around the game lately:

i) Not much communication/enthusiasm showed by the devs themselves. There's a super hype phase around DLC release and then just stale tweets and 2-3 random posts per week in the forum.
ii) Content creators upload less and less videos of PZ. Ofc it's normal that after almost 1 year the interest in the game decreases so this one is quite understandable.
iii) The DLC model, even though 'expected' by some is starting to become a bit dull. The quality of DLCs is indisputable, and the price is quite fair, but it's been almost a year now reading/listening to feedback, and yet we still get too much themepark-ish stuff and not zoo stuff. Now, I will expand on this specific topic with my personal opinion: themed construction items and pieces are okay but we should have gotten more basic zoo stuff in the first place. Temple ruins and nordic building pieces, however beautiful as they look, are very rare sights in zoos (particularly the latter). Modern zoos are becoming somewhat more themed lately, which is a good thing, but they still have a lot of generic and utilitarian exhibits, buildings and areas, which we don't have in the game right now (unless you are a pro builder and use thousands of pieces). I'm talking about the super requested mesh pieces, of course, but also about more backstage props, signs, playgrounds, more generic fonts, animal gates, barriers, dead trees, natural enrichment items, more variety of exhibits, etc. The Australian DLC went into the right direction with some of their building pieces. Some other stuff like the enrichment tyres from some months ago added another needed realism touch.

And this leads me to my next point:
Regardless of the animal picks (everyone has their own opinion on this), I've seen some improvement in the Australian pack with all these metal, wooden and corrugated pieces, as well as the water pools, for instance. This makes me optimistic to think we'll be getting more and more zoo stuff (and hopefully more animals per DLC) and less themepark-ish pieces, food stands, etc. that seemed to be borrowed from Planco. I also agree that we don't know what's in the devs' minds regarding future content, and I really hope the DLC model is changed a little and shifts towards a bigger animals/building pieces ratio.
I'm also optimistic we'll see new mechanics/features soon. It doesn't have to be aquatic animals or aviaries. Things like educators, vista points or a PZ 'Thememaker's toolkit' (not sure why these are in PC and not in PZ yet...) would be very welcome too.
 
Last edited:
.

As far as the future of the game is concerned, it's getting boring and depressing seeing everyone make the same negative assumptions. None of us have any idea what's in store. Nothing we've had so far can realistically give us any inclination of what's to come. We knew there would be three DLC's at the start (winter, spring, summer). We knew the next two would follow the same pattern as the Arctic Pack. We knew it was going to be S. America and Australia. None of that was a surprise.
That is indeed a fair point and I totally get it. I felt the same when a lot of people went pessimistic and I was still that cheering, confetti thorwing fan girl. (Not saying you are, only talking about my progression here).
It is, indeed, the communication that got me here. It has become half-hearted and it feels like the team is put together by a lot of great people that definately have nice personallities, BUT that do not play zoo games. You can tell some are coaster enthusiasts (hence the love for Planco as their main game), but do not know much about zoos. Honestly, in my opinion, what Frontier needs are people who played zoo games for years and also have a great knowledge of real life zoos. People who also get the community. At the moment, it feels like we are treated like gamers that can not be satisfied anyway. A bit alienated. But all the critique does actually come from a deep love for the game and zoo games in general. I don't feel like CMs and Devs fully got that yet.

Which brings me to my next point, that @random goat mentioned. The posting of content creators went down, Now, as someone who breathes Planet Zoo videos, I can definately tell you, that is not the case :D The PZ universe is richt of good content creators and more come always every day. If someone is in need of recommendations, just message me.

However: The posting of the bigger Planet-verse YouTubers went down. Some are, in all honesty, just not zoo players and are to be fair a bit too lazy (sorry) to get out of their comfort zone and learn more about zoos. I begun to except that and just search for other content creators whenever someone says "but Zoos aren't as diverse as theme parks" and "I'm bored" (If I builded the same low to medium budget in the same biome again and again and again I would get bored as well). But some of those YouTubers actually give very good constructive feedback - but this feedback needs communication and reactions from the Devs. I'm not saying Frontier never reacts (we got awesome free updates), but it's not enough after a year.

Taken both of these together can actually lead to a positive conclusion. There is a huuuge community around this game. Frontier just needs to see it. And to do that, they just need to CHANGE THEIR VIEWS finally. This game is not Planet Coaster. This game needs other things than Planet Coaster. If they realize that, this game has an amazing future. But in the process, they also need to accept that they need new influencers (or pamper the ones that are into zoos more than just giving a key. Get involved in discussions, listen!) new advertisment strategies and another roadmap and communication rules.

Now, programming takes time. changing a roadmap takes time. Communicating that they are willing to do changes does not.If they say on the 5th november "Hey guys, PZ turned 1 year and what an awesome year it was! We are thankful for your engagement and support and we want to say, that we learned a lot about what our players want and need and will be defintatley adressing some of this cool feedback in the next year for PZ." I would be optimistic again.
But if they just say: "Happy birthday Planet Zoo, here are the animal facts of the year, here are some awesome workshop things, we had two interviews with real life zoo keepers, here is a birthday cake as an enrichment item for your animals, okay, bye" I have a hard tome being optimistic.
 
We can't assume the next update or DLC or whatever will be more of the same. That isn't how it worked for PlanCo, and it isn't how it worked for JWE. It's bizarre to me that everyone suddenly thinks Zoo is going to remain a boring stagnant game forever more.
I think "suddenly" is something that really stands out. To me, every game becomes boring at some point, you stop playing the game for a couple of weeks (sometimes even a few months or years) and you actively play the game again for a while. I think that's pretty normal?

Reading the planet coaster forum with the recent announcement about the console version, gives some insight on how people are expecting things. With PC you got 3 years of full support (which is pretty long considering gaming standards) and still demanding/needing updates or content. What do you expect - 5 or 10 years of content?

Some of my favorite gamefranchises only update the game for a year after release. And they just abandon it - no announcement. With most games I own it's just 1 announcement per 1 or 2 months or even 6 months? Early access/indie companies/MMO usually have a lot of communication.
My point being: I'm a bit surprised that people are expecting/"demanding" a lot of communication, when other companies aren't different.
(btw, not an "attack" on people who want more communication but I got a lot of experience on gaming forums and this is pretty unique - so this comes across as really weird)

Honestly, in my opinion, what Frontier needs are people who played zoo games for years and also have a great knowledge of real life zoos. People who also get the community. At the moment, it feels like we are treated like gamers that can not be satisfied anyway. A bit alienated. But all the critique does actually come from a deep love for the game and zoo games in general
Tbh, I really think that Frontier can't fulfill the requests when you look at the suggestions. I think a lot of people bought PZ because they thought it would be an updated version of ZT2.
We got Frontier's version of a zoo game with a focus on building/management.
Normally I would say: buy a game that focuses on animals more but I know there aren't any other zoo games.
But I don't see this as a reason for Frontier to abandon their version/vision of their game and overhaul features because people wanted a different type of zoo game?
Seen quite a few comments on how the animals aren't the stars of the game - well, what if building/management were always meant as the "stars" of the game?
 
Top Bottom