Frontier Developments had a Zoo Tycoon title in the works for Xbox 360 called Microsoft Zoo before it was cancelled by the publisher.
According to Frontier’s former lead artist and UI team lead Anil Glendinning, Microsoft Zoo was an attempt to take the Zoo Tycoon in a new direction on the console.
“Part zoo creation and part animal interaction, this third person adventure was all charm and laid the groundwork for what would eventually become Kinectimals,” wrote Glendinning on his website.
The game was also the first title Frontier to use Scaleform SDK for its GUI development, and was to be a family product.
“Coming from a marketing background and having worked the similarly targeted brands of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, I wanted to design a GUI that was fun and inviting to use for kids and adults alike,” wrote Glendinning.
“For the look of the GUI I took inspiration 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 colors and combined with hand drawn illustrations and woodcut style prints, I aimed to create a rich and colourful interface that matched the vibrancy and charm of the Zoo game world.”
It does look adorable, and as someone who played the Zoo Tycoon games, I have to say looking at the UI screeenshots, it looks like Frontier did a great job capturing the feel of it.