I don’t know if it’s liberating or disappointing for Frontier Developments to see their premiere Kinect titles retooled for controllers and re-released to puff up the Xbox lineup. For me it’s totally liberating as I was eager to start both games but quickly tired of recalibrating the Kinect and feeling my arms go limp after pretend petting elephants.
But Frontier was on par with Rare when it came to their dedication to Kinect. They weren’t just shoveling out titles to cash in on the fizzling motion control fad. Frontier put some real heart into the darling little Kinect launch title Kinectimals and expanded on it With Bears!. It was the wholesomeness of Kinectimals that I feel landed them the chance to combine their love of amusement park sims with the most beloved amusement park of all: Disneyland.
Again, they could’ve done the cashgrab and slapped a fresh coat of paint (and Mickey bars) on their Thrillville engine. But from what I remember they put as much love into Cinderella’s dress as they had the doe-eyed Kinectimals. Then they became one of the few studios going all-in on Kinect for Xbox One where they combined all their past experience and expertise for Zoo Tycoon.
Four years later, Microsoft has finally given up on Kinect and set their internal teams on Frontier’s founding titles to make them 100% less demanding to play. Now
Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection (alongside Rush: A DisneyPixar Adventure, not from Frontier) are available for $30 and are Play Anywhere compatible on PC and Xbox One. Like I said, it’s great news for gamers — those who skipped the titles because of Kinect or are just now coming to Xbox looking for family-friendly fun — but I can’t help feeling a little remorse for all of Frontier’s efforts as well.