GDC is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, track, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view GDC 2023 session details, speakers and share your favorites via social media. You will be able to build your schedule and access it during the show via export or with the Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

The Making of Zoo Tycoon

Henry Howie  (Game Industry Evangelist, Modulate)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design, Production & Team Leadership

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Zoo Tycoon and its many add-ons and sequels became a household staple for so many game players – male and female, young and old – during the first decade of this century. The story of Blue Fang Games' founding and the creation of Zoo Tycoon has never been told in full before. The original game shipped during the holiday season of 2001. Blue Fang had been founded three years prior, during the summer of 1998. Zoo Tycoon was not the game they came together to make. This session tells the tale of the company's founding, funding, the origin of Zoo Tycoon game and gameplay, pitching to publishers, and how the game's development coalesced with it becoming a much beloved and fondly-remembered franchise.


Attendees will learn of Blue Fang's founding, funding, the origin of Zoo Tycoon and its gameplay, pitching to publishers, and how this produced the fondly-remembered franchise. It is revealing to discover that while things have changed in game development over the last 20 years, some things remain the same.

Intended Audience

This talk will appeal to those new to the game industry, experienced veterans and everyone in between. While it will no doubt be especially enjoyed by those who played Zoo Tycoon and its many add-ons and sequels, even for those who did not, it will no doubt be informative.