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Donkey Kong 64 was originally designed as a 2.5D platformer


The huge collectathon that is Donkey Kong 64 was originally meant to be a 2.5D title rather than full on 3D. However, as we know that changed and the developers at Rare settled on a 3D platformer in the vein of Banjo-Kazooie, Conker 64 and Mario 64. The news comes as part of a recent interview with Mark Stevenson, the game’s former lead artist. Here’s what was said by Mr. Stevenson.

“It was a monumental task, a massive game, a massive amount of work. Also it was in development for around 3 years, the team that created DKC3 moved onto it after shipping that game, but about 18 months into development it was rebooted, the team was changed up with the leads on design and software getting replaced and the game changed from being a more 2.5D platform to what it turned out to be more in line with the Mario and Banjo structure of open 3D level that got a lot of reuse. The original plans of trying to recreate the DKC format of tonnes of A-B levels just wasn’t going to be feasible from a production point of view.”

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9 thoughts on “Donkey Kong 64 was originally designed as a 2.5D platformer”

  1. I’d be happy with a new switch exclusive to tie up the retro studios trilogy.
    Maybe retro was working on this before mp4

  2. Meanwhile after it was released in 1999 the devlopers did…….nothing. that’s a game devlopers routine make a game, finish it, release it. Look at the comments and positive sells and not have a sequel on the back burner.

    And we know AAA can do sequels immediately…….Mario Galaxy 2 and BOTW2 says “Hi.”

    1. You don’t actually know if they had another game in the works or not. They were a developer, not a publisher. They don’t need to just make games, they need to sell that idea to a publisher who wants to invest money into making it a full title. They could have head 12 games on the back burner and simply not have gotten interest from publishers.

      1. I doubt it. Nintendo is independent what took Luigi’s Mansion 3 so long to come out after Luigi’s Mansion 2? Where is Metroid since it debuted on Wii? That’s how I know they didnt make no DK 64 sequel immediately.

      2. Now Banjo-Tooie they made immediately. Banjo-kazooie Came out in 1998 Tooie came out in 2000.

        If a Sequel can debut within 2 years after the 1st then you know they worked on a tittle immediately.

        Why would you make a sequel immediately amd just have it sit in the vault? That’s stupid.

  3. I wish it had stayed that way. DK64 was like the gravestone to the genre of collectathons.
    But I also remember back on the N64, you bought that system to play games in 3D. There were quite good games like Mischief makers or Yoshi’s Story that were especially underappreciated due to them being 2D games. If Rare would’ve done a 2D DK it just wouldn’t have worked at all for them so they might have just trapped themselves with Banjo Kazooie and Toie being bigger then its predecessor. They were literally forced to do something even bigger in 3D, everything else would have felt like a step backward at that time.

    Today we know how great this could have been, looking at Tropical Freeze though I gotta say Retro Studios are way better when it comes to real game-design and mechanics than Rare has ever been.

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