Are you ready to build a zoo… and save the planet? With Planet Zoo‘s new Conservation Pack now available for download, animal-loving gamers can bring conservationism home with them. We spoke with Kilian Schmitt, Game Designer for Planet Zoo, about the new features fans can look forward to, exciting new animals, and more!
Q: Planet Zoo has always included elements of conservationism—what inspired making an expansion pack entirely about that?
A: Most of our DLC packs to date have focused on specific regions or habitat types, for example the recent Wetlands Animal Pack, which focused on the diverse wetland biomes around the world. Our aim with the Conservation Pack is to highlight the important role real world zoos play in maintaining and saving the planet’s biodiversity through their breeding and reintroduction programs, as well as educating their guests. Both of these are already important aspects of Planet Zoo’s gameplay, so it felt like a natural step to explore this with a dedicated pack.
Q: Are there any features that players should pay special attention to in the new expansion? Are there any pitfalls they should be mindful of?
A: With Planet Zoo: Conservation Pack, we have added a new modular climbing frame set, which allow Siamangs to exhibit their characteristic brachiating behaviors. These are available after researching the Siamang via vet research. Each piece can be used standalone, or the whole set can be utilized to create complex multilevel climbing frames, giving players a chance to get creative. For those who don’t want to build their own frames, we are also providing three blueprinted frames that can be placed in one go.
Q: How have you expanded on the conservation themes already present in Planet Zoo?
A: Alongside some of the most endangered species we’ve brought to the game, including the Scimitar-Horned Oryx which is technically extinct in the wild, the scenery of Planet Zoo: Conservation Pack heavily focuses on a number of aspects of sustainability. Even the new wallset is made of 3D-printed concrete, a more sustainable building material than traditional methods. Many smaller pieces focus on organic shapes found in nature, so create a more natural looking park. A variety of meadow flower foliage and ‘backstage’ props such as gardening tools round off the scenery list to allow players the chance to create the look of a modern eco-friendly zoo.
Q: Alongside this new expansion pack, players will get to enjoy a free base-game update. What sorts of changes/additions should players look forward to?
A: As with every release, we have a number of features and enhancements lined up for this update. Education Stations are a free feature adding new ways to raise guests’ education stats. These interactive objects can be placed in the park and give guests a bonus to education and happiness. Animal Chorus behaviors prompt animals of eligible species to perform calls together. A new sniffing behavior will be available for the Siamang, Timber Wolf and Arctic Wolf, in which they will navigate to and smell newly placed objects in their enclosure, allowing them to react authentically to changes in their environment – and some species are naturally more curious than others. There are several more quality of life improvements to discover, such as smaller habitat gates and updates to guest group behavior as well!
Q: Which of the new animals is your favorite, and why?
A: Przewalski’s Horse is an amazing and beautiful animal with a very turbulent history – this endangered animal used to be extinct in the wild, but nowadays there are semi-wild populations roaming around their original habitat in Mongolia again, all thanks to the tireless conservation efforts from organizations around the world. We’re very happy to welcome it to Planet Zoo’s varied animal roster.
Q: Is there anything else that you’d like Planet Zoo fans to know ahead of this release?
A: To mention the new climbing frame set again, I’d love to add that all other animals that can navigate thin climbing beams will also be able to use this new set of pieces for their normal climbing locomotion – any climbing animal can travel across the frame while a Siamang simultaneously swings below them.
Q: What would you recommend that budding conservationists do to support endangered wildlife when they’re not playing Planet Zoo?
A: While Planet Zoo is a great way to learn about animals, everyone can contribute to wildlife and environmental conservation with small individual actions outside of this too! Growing pollinator friendly flowers and being mindful to not contaminate or damage the environment while out in nature are some tiny ways to protect local habitats!
For those interested in larger scale projects, donations to zoos, wildlife reserves and other organizations working on and supporting rewilding and reintroduction programs can be a great way to support conservation efforts. For instance, we have collaborated with Shepreth Wildlife Park for “Capycam,” a fundraising event for one of our recent releases, to help their organization, the Shepreth Wildlife Conservation Charity continue doing their amazing work.
Planet Zoo: Conservation Pack is available now on Steam. For more information about building your own zoo in Planet Zoo, visit Fandom’s Planet Zoo Wiki!