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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft is to release a new Zoo Tycoon game designed specifically around mobile platforms, although it will also work on desktop PCs.

Zoo Tycoon Friends was announced during a company keynote at Evolve, part of the Develop Conference being held in Brighton. It will be available for Windows 8 and Windows Phone as a free-to-play title and will hit app stores this summer (ie. soon).

The game borrows some elements from the classic Zoo Tycoon franchise - which had an outing on Xbox One and Xbox 360 late last year - and it offers users a chance to build their own zoos. It also features cross-play mechanics, so you can start a zoo on one device - a Windows 8 PC - and then continue building it on another - such as a tablet or Lumia handset.

microsoft announces first windows zoo tycoon game for 10 years zoo tycoon friends also for wp8 image 4

Over 40 different species will be available to house in a zoo, with different habitats to construct. The game also adapts to different control methods, so should work as capably with mouse and keyboard as touch.

Interaction with the animals is key to success, and babies can be looked after in order for them to grow into healthy adults. There will also be the option to visit friends' zoos to help them care for their animals.

Xbox Achievements will be available, as will leaderboards.

Naturally, as a free-to-play game, although it will be a free download, there will be cash-bought items or incentives. Microsoft is yet to detail exactly how that will work and the in-game pricing structure.

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Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 8 July 2014.