For what it’s worth, I really thought that Kinectimals was a great game for kids of a certain age. It wasn’t particularly deep or thought provoking and its mechanics were simple but it let you play with a tiger and I’m always going to be in favour of that.
Now, thanks to a post over on NeoGAF, we get a look at one of the cancelled projects that seems like it influenced Kinectimals quite a lot. It’s from David Braben’s studio, Frontier Developments, who later made the cuddly big cat (and bear, if you got the DLC) Kinect title.
Microsoft Zoo was intended to be a kind of half zoo-builder and half animal-interaction game that had roots in the Thrillville series and bore similarities to Zoo Tycoon. The GAF post is based on the user interface design, pointing out that it was targeting tweens and families with a kind of skeumorphic, almost papercraft look.
There’s not much more info than that, and the screens below, but the influence this gave to Kinectimals, once Microsoft’s publishing focus shifted to its motion control technology, is very clear.