Planet Zoo beta confirmed along with a new gameplay trailer complete with lemurs and baby hippos

Planet Zoo
(Image credit: Frontier)

Frontier has revealed a new gameplay trailer for Planet Zoo during Gamescon 2019 along with the announcement that there will be an early access beta available to players who pre-order the Planet Zoo Deluxe Edition on Steam. The beta is set to start on September 24 and will run until October 8 ahead of the official launch on November 5. The beta will let you playtest Planet Zoo’s new Career and Franchise modes. Players who snap up the Deluxe Edition will also get additional digital content including special animals such as Pygmy Hippopotamuses, Thomson’s Gazelles and Komodo Dragons. 

The narrative-driven Career mode features a new story where players will be taken on a “globe-trotting campaign, placing them in charge of zoos around the world.” The beta will include the first scenario and give you the chance to try out the zoo management system and meet some of the animals featured in the full game, as well as some “as-yet unrevealed animals.” Oooh. The gameplay trailer shows off all kinds of different wildlife we’ll be caring for, along with a look at the veterinary side of things, and how you'll be able to build up and designing your zoo. Planet Zoo is set to put a lot of emphasis on the welfare of the animals under your care, and will give players an authentic experience by giving you lots of information surrounding all of the animal’s habitats and needs, so you can give every furry friend the best life possible. 

In the Franchise mode, which is described as a blend between sandbox and simulation, you’ll be able to manage, build, research and develop your very own franchise with other Planet Zoo players around the world. The beta will let you try out new features like its online Animal Exchange system where you can trade animals to “increase the genetic diversity and wellbeing” of your zoo. Frontier say that at launch, Franchise mode will introduce daily challenges and weekly community goals that will bring players together to achieve a shared objective. Planet Zoo is already shaping up to scratch anyone's zoo management itch, and fulfil our dreams of caring for wildlife and learning a lot about them in the process. 

We've got some Planet Zoo tips to help you out if you're having trouble. 

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.