EDGE Magazine’s latest issue has an eight-page history about Rare’s past and present. Given how Scribes hasn’t updated in a year in 16 days (Mini-Scribes, while it ranges from “tasty bite-sizes” to “uninspired”, doesn’t really count), the article is the closest thing we might be getting anytime soon. With that in mind, let’s dissect everything that’s DKU-related in an easy-to-read format. You know you love it.
Donkey Kong Country:
-As mentioned in a previous issue of Retro Gamer, Donkey Kong Jr. was originally supposed to be Donkey Kong’s sidekick, but Rare decided to make a new character with Diddy Kong instead. Nintendo wasn’t happy with that choice, as they instead “wanted him to look more like Donkey Kong in a nappy” (which, I guess, was what they ended up getting with Kiddy Kong). Rare wanted “something more dynamic”, so they stuck by Diddy Kong, formerly known as Dinky Kong. Legal issues, however, prevented them from using the name.
-For Post-It fanatics, “every single level was designed” using them and drawings to connect together.
-As we know, it started off as Project Dream. Originally intended for the SNES as a “Zelda-esque” 2D game, until it was moved to the N64 due to the end of the SNES’ lifespan.
-Everyone from Dream, except Captain Blackeye (who Gregg Mayles calls Blackheart; whether that’s Blackeye’s original name or a typo isn’t explained) disappeared when the game began its life as Banjo-Kazooie.
-While Scribes confirmed that the main character was once a rabbit, this feature reveals that he was very short-lived, as in only three days.
-Banjo was apparently like another bear character they had in DKC before Donkey Kong, which gives the impression that either Not-Banjo had an SNES game that became Donkey Kong Country (we know that the Kremlings were originally meant for another ACM title), or Not-Banjo was possibly a placeholder character for the title. It’s definitely an interesting fact.
-Work on Dream took 16 months, while work on Banjo-Kazooie took 14.
-As we also know thanks to Retro Gamer, Kazooie was made for the purpose of justifying wings and legs (the Feathery Flap and the Talon Trot, respectively) coming out of Banjo’s backpack.
Donkey Kong 64:
-Both George Andreas and Chris Sutherland were responsible for the DK Rap, the latter of who is a gangsta’ deep inside. Word, yo.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day:
-When Rare showed the scene where Conker had to piss on the fire monsters to Nintendo, there were mixed reactions. Mr. Arakawa found it hilarious. Former NoA higher-up Howard Lincoln, however, did not.
-Apparently, the ending “featured all the characters hugging each other.” Considering how absolutely brutal the game gets at the end in terms of storyline, you have to wonder how it would’ve worked. Alternatively, the ending seems quite appropriate if it was meant for Twelve Tales or Conker’s Quest.
Star Fox Adventures:
-As we know (and as I don’t let anyone forget), it started life off as Dinosaur Planet. What we didn’t know is that “it was around for a while,” and that development started “quite near” when Jurassic Park came out. Let me put this into perspective: the idea for Dinosaur Planet was kicking ever since 1993. With this in mind, it makes the transition to Star Fox Adventures even more tragic for fans who were looking forward to DP, considering how long Rare were taking to develop the game.
-Also, on the fifth page of the feature, where you can see various forms of artwork and renders, Shabunga was originally much more obese. Just felt that needed a mention.
It’s Mr. Pants:
-For those interested in this game (all three of us, then), there’s even new information on this game. As I still seem to remember, Rare told Gamasutra that IMP had several titles before starring Mr. Pants. The early titles were called Splodge, Nutcracker, Animal Crackers, Sunflower, and, if the list of titles is chronological, Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers.
-Because it became It’s Mr. Pants, the art style followed, in which the drawings seen in the game were purposefully meant to be that way, as the artists all drew left handed to make it look genuinely bad. On another (worthy) note, the development of the game was near the time where Rare felt that their “innuendo-based” humor was past their time.
-The deaths of the piñatas were originally much more cruel. For example, the piñatas would get smashed up, and the other piñatas would eat all of their remains.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts:
-Now this section is tragic to read. Nuts & Bolts was originally a “reworking” of Banjo-Kazooie, but it was due to Conker:
Live & Reloaded’s lack of reception that resulted in the game we have today. Compare that to Kirkhope’s story of Dream on his site, and you can see some interesting consequences. Because of Conker’s Quest, Dream became Banjo-Kazooie. Because of Banjo-Kazooie’s reception, Conker’s Quest became Bad Fur Day. Because of the lack of reception for both BFD and L&R, we got Nuts & Bolts. Which really makes you wonder what would’ve been the current state of Rare if Banjo-Reworkie ever came to be.
All in all, it’s a fantastic read into Rare’s history. Thanks to Forum Member Summersky, you can see the scans and the amazing concept art/renders below. Be sure to read it/get it for yourself if you happen to see a copy in the wild!