A look at David Braben's "Microsoft Zoo" (cancelled Xbox 360 title)

#1


Frontier Development’s follow-up game to its award winning ThrillVille series, was Microsoft Zoo. A game that aimed to take the venerable Zoo Tycoon franchise in an exciting new direction.

Part zoo creation and part animal interaction, this 3rd person adventure was all charm and lay the groundwork for what would eventually become Kinectimals. Zoo was also the first game in Frontier to use the then relatively new Scaleform SDK for its GUI development.

Zoo was aimed as a family product and the art style of the UI was designed to target the game’s key demographics of families and children “tweens”. With the GUI artist coming from a marketing background and having worked with the similarly targeted brands of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, the goal was to design a GUI that was fun and inviting to use for kids and adults alike.

For the look of the GUI, inspiration was taken from junior arts, paper-craft and imaginary journals that could be kept by characters from adventures such as Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn and Tarzan. Using mainly earthy hues, saturated colours and combined with hand drawn illustrations and woodcut style prints, Frontier aimed to create a rich and colourful interface that matched the vibrancy and charm of the Zoo game world.








With Kinect on the horizon, this project was followed by Animals, which was then to become Kinectimals.
 
#30
Nice concept, but I wonder if such games aimed at children shouldn't rather push things like wild parks rather than regular zoos (or maybe it does, but in that case the name is not appropriate). I mean, zoos are fine and all, there are many animals I would never have seen in real life were it not for them, but it's still not an ideal way to take care of wild animals.
 
#31
I didn't know that blue for boys and pink for girls was much of an issue nowadays, must have missed that. I don't see much of a problem with these kind of gender stereotypes to be honest. Does this colour thing harm anyone?


I was so gutted when this was cancelled. It was a lot of fun :(
a friend was working on this. He was gutted it got shelved.
heh, is that your friend? ;D



Wow, so he didn't release anything since 2006s "Thrillville".

Thats almost 7 years now.

Crazy business.
Lost Winds, Kinectimals, Kinect Disneyland, and some others (?)
 
#34
Oh come on... let's remove everything from everywhere because it could be associated to any stereotype. Boys and cars, Girls and Barbies, Women getting pregnant, Guy loving a Girl...
I'd be less upset with the screenshot if it didn't rely completely on this stereotype to convey which is which.
 
#35
Oh come on... let's remove everything from everywhere because it could be associated to any stereotype. Boys and cars, Girls and Barbies, Women getting pregnant, Guy loving a Girl...
And what's wrong with trying to engender a society without gender stereotypes? Are you afraid that you'll lose your identity because some of it is tied to associations you see as inherently masculine?
 
#41
Gimmicks, more stupid gimmicks from Microsoft. Glad it got cancelled.
Getting this instead of Kinectimals would seem like a very good deal to me. I would expect Viva Pinata to be another starting point as well as Thrillville.

The name and concept "Microsoft Zoo" would have had a lot more potential like expanding to windows. Kinectimals did not appeal to me at all, but the Kinect ties may have clouded my opinion of it.
 
#44
Getting this instead of Kinectimals would seem like a very good deal to me. I would expect Viva Pinata would have been their starting point.

The name and concept "Microsoft Zoo" would have had a lot more potential like expanding to windows; Kinectimals is the gimmick we got instead of MSZOO or even Animals.
Kinectimals was a good game, gorgeous to look at, and very cute. I wouldn't trade it for this, but I'd be glad if we'd gotten both.
 
#49
Was there no pressure to integrate Kinect? I don't know how closely you're linked to the project.
From what I understand, this was cancelled and work on another animal project was started when Microsoft put full force behind Kinect. Similar things happened with other Microsoft-published projects, they all either got cancelled or completely reworked (and then either released or cancelled heh). I guess we have some other people on the board who could provide some better information about this case.