Diddy Kong Racing is an arcade / multiplayer racing game developed by Rare and released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997. As we can read in an interesting retrospective article on the game published on GamesTM (an english magazine) and reported by MundoRare, originally DKR was born as a prototype for a new Real Time Strategy game for the N64 with a caveman / time-travel theme, worked on by a team of four (Chris Stamper, Lee Musgrave, Rob Harrison and Lee Schuneman).
The RTS proto did not last long and soon the team decided to evolve the project into a fun racing game, that would have been more compatible with N64 gamers. The previous work did not get wasted as they used some of the RTS assets (as a mammoth) to populate the racing game in its early stages of development.
As we read on Nintendo Life:
Musgrave confirms that this was never the case. “Just before Diddy Kong Racing, there was a month’s worth of work on a strategy game that I did with Chris Stamper, but that was in the style of Command & Conquer and not related. I rendered a few catapults, but other than that it didn’t go anywhere and died after a month. We had a go at it, but in the end it looked like the racing game had more legs”.
As Rare did not want to just create a carbon copy of Mario Kart, they decided to add some adventure elements in the game, that were influenced by Disney World. At this point of development, DKR was known as “Wild Cartoon Kingdom” and the world was a lot more theme-park based, with a central HUB that interlinked the different attractions (idea that was keep in the final game).
As the Wild Cartoon Kingdom concept convinced the bosses at Rare, they decided to organize a whole team to work fulltime on the game, and the project evolved into “Adventure Racers“.
Nintendo had no involvement in DKR’s early stages and Rare was free to develope their racing game as they want: and that’s how Adventure Racers became a sequel to RC-Pro AM, an old Rare title published for the NES. In June 1997, the game was known as RC Pro Am 64. There were no cars or go-karts, but 3-wheeled vehicles.
As we read on Nintendo Life:
But when — and more importantly, how — did Pro-Am 64 actually become Diddy Kong Racing? Musgrave fills us in: “Pro-Am 64 had gotten to a stage where it was being called exactly that; the title screen was done, and it had all new IP invented characters. We got to July 1997, and it turned out that Banjo-Kazooie was going to be the game for Christmas”.
At E3 1997 Rare finally showed RC Pro Am 64 to Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, that offered Diddy Kong to the game. The Pro-Am 64 team wasn’t happy with having Diddy Kong in the game but finally agreed as the Donkey Kong franchise was a more sellable one.
Some assets from the RC Prom AM 64 stage and other unused / beta items were left hidden in the game, and they were recently found using WWWarea‘s image modifier code. Check the RC Pro-AM 64 balloon at 1:30!
Lucas used to change the magic carpet and there the result http://www.therwp.com/forums/
Also an interesting beta video was found in an old german promo-VHS, uploaded on Youtube by AlanarWindblade. As noticed by LerakoLanche from the Spiral Mountain Forum, there are a lot of differences in this footage:
1:01 – Krunch used to be called Krash. There was probably a dispute between Rare and Naughty Dog for the similarity of Crash Bandicoot which waranted the rename.
1:22 – The inclusion of “Rareware coins” instead of bananas on the tracks. These were most likely removed to prevent confusion when collecting Rare coins and Silver Coins.
1:44 – Different image for the Blue Balloon Boost, looks like a yellow ball with a green N.
2:51 – MUCH different looking overworld. This portion is actually the area around Snowflake Mountain, but it’s been modified signifigantly. The area features a second Taj pad, a second yellow ramp which looks to lead back to the Dino Domain area and a large hole in the wall where the door to Snowflake Mountain should be.
3:00 – NEW area for Dino Domain instead of just going up the ramp, there’s an entire area for it. More footage will be seen at 3:24
While digging through the game, Jake and Runehero came across a list of names for a sound bank. In that list there’s a reference to ProAM64 (that could have been replaced with the voice that shouts ‘Diddy Kong Racing!’ as it was right beside ‘Press Start’) and a level name ‘Jewel Mines’ and ‘Twighlight City’. Jewel Mines was a prototype / beta name for the level Haunted Woods, and Twighlight City was the prototype / beta name for Star City.
It’s interecting to notice, that the cancelled Dinosaur Planet 64 was originally meant to be a sequel to DKR.
Also, Jake is working on a beta hack for Diddy Kong Racing, to restore part of the unused content in a playable form. You can follow this Beta Remake project at the Rare Witch Project Forum!
The last video is an unused music called Sea_2b.
Also, Coolboyman with help from Subdrag found more unused areas hidden in the game’s code (see last video).
0:20 – Generic Level
2:46 – Unused Lagoon
4:15 – Unused Volcano
5:40 – Cube Test
6:55 – Snow Mountain
Some more info from Dave Wise:
Thank you for your email.
The Sea_2b was originaly planned for the level with the pirate ship in.
As for the Taj – we clearly had a change of plan.
Much too long ago to remember the details.
Thanks to Robert Seddon, Jake Ford and Lucas Araujo for the contributions!
More beta / unused stuff videos: