Frontier Developments had a Zoo Tycoon-style title in the works for Xbox 360 called Microsoft Zoo, before it was scrapped in favor of Kinect launch title Kinectimals.
Frontier’s former lead artist and UI team lead Anil Glendinning revealed some details about the game and shared a few screenshots over on his blog. “Part zoo creation and part animal interaction, this third person adventure was all charm and laid the groundwork for what would eventually become Kinectimals,” he wrote.
“Zoo was aimed as a family product and the art style of the UI was designed to target the game’s key demographics of families and children “tweens”. With the GUI artist coming from a marketing background and having worked with the similarly targeted brands of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, the goal was to design a GUI that was fun and inviting to use for kids and adults alike.”
“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 colorful interface that matched the vibrancy and charm of the Zoo game world.”
It appears that Frontier managed to capture the style and lovable atmosphere of the original games, based on the screenshots below. Work was halted on Microsoft Zoo after the publisher decided to push for games that would work with Kinect. The developer has since released Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Kinectimals: Now with Bears.