Microsoft reveals Zoo Tycoon Friends
Microsoft has announced that they are releasing a brand new game in the Zoo Tycoon series. Zoo Tycoon Friends is a free-to-play title that will launch on Windows 8 and Windows Phones. First impressions of the game seem to indicate that it is similar to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions that is currently available. The game, which will allow players to build their own zoo by constructing buildings and caring for animals, will release later in the summer.
One of the new features introduced by Microsoft is the ability to transfer your save to the cloud allowing you to play the same file across multiple devices. Zoo Tycoon Friends also has less detailed graphics, looking much more like the free-to-play titles that are available on smartphones and Facebook. The game will also support microtransactions, allowing players to buy in-game currency with real-life money.
The Zoo Tycoon series has been going since 2001 on PC. The original game was positively received and led to a number of expansions before a sequel was released in 2004 along with additional content in 2005. In total there were seven full expansions released for the two games up until 2008. Microsoft ended their contract with development studio Blue Fang Games in 2009 and the developer then shut down in 2011.
Other Zoo Tycoon games have also been released for other platforms, including versions for smartphones and handheld consoles such as the Nintendo DS. In 2013, Microsoft released a brand new Zoo Tycoon game for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Developed by Frontier Developments it had many of the same gameplay mechanics that were present in Zoo Tycoon 2. This new title included a 15 hour campaign story mode along with 101 different animals. However, it released to criticism around the fact that it was less in-depth than previous titles and had an overly complicated user interface.