Frontier Developments revealed more information about the upcoming Planet Zoo beta, set to run from September 24th through October 8th. Beta access will only be available to those who preorder the Deluxe Edition of Planet Zoo, which also comes with three exclusive animals, as well as some wallpapers and the soundtrack. During the beta, Frontier will also run a series of community events, with the opportunity to win prizes along the way. Additionally, as this is a beta test, bugs are expected and thus the beta will come with an issue tracker, so Frontier can work on making the launch as smooth as possible. While we’re just a few days away from the start of the beta, Planet Zoo will launch on Steam on November 5th.
The Planet Zoo beta will ship with just the first mission in the story mode, as well as the savannah biome in franchise mode. The post on the Steam community didn’t expand upon what either of those modes would entail, but it does suggest that you will be able to trade animals with other players. Various rides, attractions, staff, and animals will be available for purchase, as well as many foliage and decoration options.
Interestingly, Frontier is also turning on the Steam Workshop for the beta so players can share blueprints with one another. There’s no guarantee the beta blueprints will carry over to the full game, as beta saves will be incompatible with the full release. Additionally, none of the Deluxe Edition’s exclusive animals (Komodo dragon, pygmy hippopotamus and Thomson’s gazelle) will be available either, nor will sandbox mode.
Lastly, the community events will range from a creative building competition to livestreams from Twitchcon and the Frontier office. The developers also have “some exciting things planned” for World Animal Day, which falls on October 4th. The posting suggests the beta events are just a hint of the live events to come for the animal management simulator. The earlier-released Planet Coaster still regularly gets updates and live events posted online, which suggests that Planet Zoo will easily see support for years to come.
Frontier made their mark several years ago with the resurrection of the Elite brand in Elite Dangerous. More recently, Planet Coaster and Jurassic World: Evolution have led Frontier to work on more planetary-based games, though still squarely within the simulation genre. The studio previously worked on the reboot of the Microsoft-owned Zoo Tycoon franchise for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, which released to mixed reviews. Still, several management simulators later, Planet Zoo hopes to build upon Frontier’s already strong track record. We’ll get a chance to check out their efforts when the Planet Zoo beta kicks off on September 24th, and when the wide release hits on November 5th.