Rumors say that a new Donkey Kong game in the Donkey Kong Country series was planned for the Super Nintendo in 1997, made by Rare and Nintendo. However in 1998, the Rareware staff thought the project was too big for the SNES and moved Donkey Kong Country 4 to the new Nintendo 64 console. In early 1999 Rare changed DKC4 into Donkey Kong Ultra for the 64DD, which would later be released on cart as “Donkey Kong 64”.
Lost characters and places from Donkey Kong Country 4 would be Bella Swan (originally Ditzi Duck), a ditzy and forgetful swan who always said people’s names incorrectly, The Sorcerer (the main villain of the SNES version) and The Wicked Sorceress (the main villain of the N64 version). 3 unused jingles that has been found in “Banjo-Kazooie” could be releated to the unreleased Donkey Kong Country 4.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is a side-scrolling 2.5D platform game developed by Retro Studios and released by Nintendo for the Wii console on November 21, 2010, in North America, December 3, 2010, in Europe, and on December 9, 2010, in Japan. It is the series’s first traditional home console installment since Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and also the first Donkey Kong Country entry not to involve Rare during the development. (Info from Wikipedia)
Development on Donkey Kong Country Returns started in 2008, but it wasn’t until E3 2010 that it was revealed to the public.
On the Gameplay and E3 trailers, we can notify some small things:
-Health Icon is a sightly different.
-Game general Font is much different.
-0:32 = When Donkey Kong bounces on the three enemies consecutively, he does not preform a spin followed by a somersault, like he does in the final version.
-0:47 = Diddy and Donkey Kong team Icon is Cyan, on the Final Version, the color is Blue.
-1:00 = The bombs on this stage is much more faster them the Final Version.
-1:06 = It’s possible to see again the Cyan color, but on the 2-Player Mode.
-1:13 = On the final version of this stage, it doesn’t have “automatic” barrels.
-1:20 = The stage don’t have storm and darkness.
-1:36 = Different scene.
An another gameplay video (which was playable after the E3 event), shows other miscellaneous stuff:
-Font, Health Icon and other lighten stuff is a little different.
-At the end, the background is Yellow, on the Final version, it shows as Green.
On an ANOTHER video, it shows a MUCH different title screen, and other stuff (which was already shown on the other videos)
-Different Title Screen (the Buttons, the Logo, the Font and specially the Background)
An Show at the Television did show DKCR gameplay (at before releases)… It shows again the other stuff, but we can also see other stuff:
-The Instructions appears from no where, at the Final Version, the Tutorial Pig appears in the background and explains the controls
The video below shows some animations of Donkey Kong Country Returns:
Progressing into the Beta related stuff, when you progress in the game, you unlock some concept arts… They are separated into enemies, characters, levels and others… Some interesting stuff of those concept arts, are the Levels… Much levels have been changed in the development, such as Golden Temple… Some characters did changed too, such as Rambi, which was to be much more Realistic…
It was also found on the Game Disc, that DKCR was to have 4-Player modes, still is unknown about it, but probably other Kongs could be in, similar to New Super Mario Bros. mechanism. Maybe was scrapped because of Copyrights of RARE:
Click to zoom-in, it will open in another tab
Those images shows the stuff from previous videos, like the different icons, fonts and etc.
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.
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.
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!
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).
Hi Jake 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. Kind regards, Dave Wise.
Thanks to Robert Seddon, Jake Ford and Lucas Araujo for the contributions!
Here are some beta / unused finds from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest! Robert Seddon linked us to another interesting topic in the DKC Atlas Forum, where Kiddy14 has found out about a beta video of DKC2 with lots of differences from the final version! In there we can see that there’s no fog in Web Woods, the Lava Lagoon has no lava and there are Klaptraps around there, the player can not swim in the water and there’s a storm in Mainbrace Mayhem and Krow’s Nest. For more infos check the original topic in the DKCA Forum! Also, they found some unused sprites for Dixie and Diddy Kong. There was also a character cut from the game. His name was Mr. X. It is speculated that he was supposed to be the boss of Gusty Gulch but never made it to the final game and was was replaced by another boss named Kreepy Krow.
Robert Seddon has linked us to another topic at the DKC Atlas Forum, where The Kirby has an interesting theory about an unused DKC3 SNES sprites for an enemy that was later used in the DKC3 GBA port. The Kirby writes: “My theory is that the TNT Knocka, is actually an enemy that exists in DKC3 SNES’s coding, but was never used, and when the developers for the DKC3 GBA port discovered this enemy (among other things) they decided to save themselves the trouble and use all of these new gameplay elements to create Pacifica, where a few of the new levels contained something that didn’t previously exist in any of the DKC3 SNES levels. It was probably a way they could rehash the old as new.” You can read the full topic in here! Props to The Kirby for the find!
Qyzbud has noticed that the following rendered background level with the KREM Co. sign (click on it for a bigger version) was never used in the final game, but in DK64’s factory level (Frantic Factory) had that name “KREM Co.” in it, on a clock somewhere and the world map for ‘Mekanos’ in DKC3 features KREM Co. written on the roof of the building where you fight the boss, KAOS.
1- The game’s subtitle was “Dixie’s Double Trouble”. 2- Arich’s Ambush doesn’t have a little branch in the right tree. 3- There aren’t any “happiness” indicators in Swanky’s Sideshow game. 4- The brother bear featured in the video moves weird, plus he’s gray. (The Brother Bear is gray because he is Blizzard) 5- No little boxes in the top-right part of the screen when visiting the brother bear. 6- Apparently Funky still wasn’t a mechanic, he’s still air-boarding! 7- Mechanos has no factories in it (in the world map). 8- Dixie stays in place. 9- Kiddy’s Idle is the same as his when winning a bonus for the first time. 10- There’s an odd dock level. To the left there’s a Y banana formation, a buzz and a steel barrel. Probably an early design from Lakeside Limbo. 11- Ellie in a snow level! 12- There are Neeks! In Doorstop Dash, Squeals on Wheels and Lakeside Limbo. 13- Dixie isn’t shaded. 14- THERE IS A RIPSAW IN BARREL SHIELD BUST-UP! 15- Bananas aren’t animated. 16- A banana bunch over the first Neek in Squeals on Wheels is missing. 17- A DK Barrel is missing in Barrel Shield Bust-Up.
More differences were found thanks to Discrosh:
The mice gauge is missing on Squeals on wheels.
The entire world map is different.
A mice is missing in Barrel Shield Bust-Up beginnig (below the missing DK barrel).
The Minkys and the barrel Shields are missing in Barrel Shield Bust-Up.
The “house area” in Skidda’s Row is different from all “house areas” in the Skidda’s Row final version.
Gabrielwoj have found a game problem which seems that RARE Ltd. removed a Barrel Sprite but didn’t removed on it’s configurations. The problem is similar to MissingNo, the sprite have been removed in the game, but the configurations haven’t.
Kvinxx has made us to notice a topic from DKC World Club, where he found another ad of DKC3 but from USA. There are no noticeable differences.