Planet Zoo: Console Edition – Everything You to Need to Know

2019's Planet Zoo is making its way to consoles. Here's everything you need to know before its release next week.

Posted By | On 18th, Mar. 2024

Planet Zoo: Console Edition – Everything You to Need to Know

Of the many titles that could have made the jump to current-gen consoles, Planet Zoo from Frontier Developments is probably one of the more surprising. It launched in November 2019 to good critical praise and sold over one million units in six months. There was extensive post-launch support, and it enjoys a 93 percent positive user review score on Steam.

So, the sudden announcement that it’s coming to Xbox Series X/S and PS5 on March 26th almost came out of nowhere. Nevertheless, if you never played it on PC, here are 15 things you should know before picking it up.

Similar to Planet Coaster

If you ever played or even heard of titles like Planet Coaster, then Planet Zoo’s concept will be very familiar. It’s a management title where you create and manage a zoo. Like similar titles from Frontier, the appeal is in the realism and min-maxing your zoo to be the very best.

Dozens of Animal Species

The main calling card of Planet Zoo is offering the most realistic animals in a game (circa 2019, at least). There are 76 different species in the base game, from the Aardvark and African Elephant to the Bonobo and Cheetah. Each behaves exactly like their real-world counterparts and even animates realistically, which makes it all the more rewarding to observe them up close.

Special Requirements for Each Animal

Of course, you usually can’t throw different species into a zoo willy-nilly and expect things to work out. You have to build the corresponding environments in keeping with their natural habitats (the Snow Leopard and Timber Wolf, for example, would prefer colder settings), consider their endangered status and the effect predators can have, and so on.

Day/Night Cycle and Dynamic Weather

Planet Zoo

Planet Zoo features a day/night cycle and dynamic weather system, with weather patterns like snow and rain naturally occurring. They each have different effects like snow dropping the temperature and causing animals used to warmer climates to take shelter and become less active. However, depending on your zoo’s environment, you won’t even see conditions like rain (which can bring its own set of challenges).

Hiring Staff

When constructing your ideal zoo, getting the right animals and satisfying their needs is only one part of the job. You also need to hire staff, from caretakers and mechanics to security guards and veterinarians. Of course, they also have needs, with happiness ratings depending on the workload, salary and working environment. Pay attention to their thoughts whenever possible since they just might let slip what they’re lacking. They can also be trained to become more effective at their work.

Research and Conservation

As your zoo grows, you can go into research for different species, unlocking better quality food and enrichment items. You can also research diseases to prevent an outbreak, especially when dealing with crowded zoos. Conversation is also a major goal of the game, especially when dealing with endangered species. To that end, you can construct signs throughout the park to inform guests on different topics and raise their education level.

Zoo Buildings and Pieces

Planet Zoo

Management is a key part of Planet Zoo, but there are plenty of ways to create a standout zoo thanks to numerous building pieces. You can customize the zoo with different tiles, lighting, trees and more, adding in rides like monorails, boats and safaris for guests. With numerous architectural themes, your zoo can look sleek and contribute to global conservation.

Career Mode

As one of the four main game modes, Career Mode features 12 different scenarios for players to complete. Your mission is to traverse the world and help zoos that are on the cusp of collapse, whether it’s “The Ape-renticeship” with its ape and monkey focus or “Steeped in Pollution” which involves toxic waste disposal and building up a quarry as a zoo. Each offers different animals, weather conditions and objectives to complete, with the difficulty rising throughout.

Sandbox and Challenge

Other game modes include Sandbox, which, as the name implies, gives you everything from the outset. Unlimited money, resources, all animals, all research – it’s all available for those who want to chill out and build to their heart’s content without any pressure. Challenge Mode is the opposite, giving you a fixed amount of money and Conservation Points while letting you tweak the difficulty, continent, terrain type, biomes and more. If you’re looking for tougher scenarios and unlocking all research again, it’s the way to go.

Online Franchise Mode

Finally, there’s Franchise Mode, an online-focused mode that features the Animal Market, where players can buy animals from others (with some terms and conditions) in a shared economy. There are community challenges to complete for Conservation Points, which help build more zoos and acquire new animals. You can view various stats, from the number of animals in the zoo to their cash value and guests.


Blueprints are player-created structures which can be shared and downloaded for free. There are over 100,00 such structures on the Steam Workshop, ranging from shacks and restaurants to entire sprawling zoos. And thanks to console cross-platform sharing via Frontier Workshop, Xbox Series X/S and PS5 players can download blueprints and use them in their creations. How extensive the support is remains to be seen, but it’s a nice feature to have out of the box.

Deluxe Edition Content

The base price for Planet Zoo: Console Edition is $49.99, with pre-orders netting three more animal species – the Pygmy Hippopotamus, Komodo Dragon, and Thomson’s Gazelle. However, purchase the Deluxe Edition for $59.99, and you get 16 more animals with two extra scenarios set in Southeast Asia’s rainforests and wetlands. Overall, it’s not a bad option for those who want a little more content for an additional $10. Those seeking a bit more, however, can always invest in the…

Season Pass

Planet Zoo

For those who want even more content, there’s the Ultimate Edition for $119.99. It includes the Season Pass, providing access to 14 DLC packs for console players (which will launch sometime in the future). Additional animals, scenarios and pieces for buildings, scenery and more are included with the DLC, from Arctic animals to scenarios set in locations like Transylvania. All of these DLC packs are visible on the Steam Store, so you can check if they’re worth the price of admission before diving in.

4K Ultra HD on Series X

Frontier Developments hasn’t revealed the resolution or frame rate for Planet Zoo on either Xbox Series X/S or PS5. However, the Xbox Store listing for the title lists 4K Ultra HD support, so at least that can be assured on Series X (and more than likely for PS5). It also supports HDR10 and keyboard and mouse support if the console-specific controls aren’t for you.


According to HowLongToBeat, completing Career Mode should take about 39 to 40 hours on average. It can go up to 57 or so hours, presumably by dipping into the other modes, but completionists can rack up over 100 hours of gameplay. When you factor in DLC and community-created content with the additional scenarios, animal species, building pieces, blueprints and much more, that number can go even higher.

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