News Article

A Hat In Time Developer Claims Donkey Kong 64 Was Instrumental In Killing Off Collection Platformers

Posted by Andy Green

Believes modern platformers should strike a balance

Wind-Waker lookalike A Hat In Time is currently being developed by Gears for Breakfast after it smashed through its Kickstarter goal.

It's a cell-shaded homage to the classic N64 plaformers and though it's currently only down for a PC and Mac release, the developer has expressed its desire to bring it to Wii U. The N64 was full of great collect-a-thon platform adventures with the likes of Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day to name but a few, however, Jonas Kærlev, who heads up Gears for Breakfast, believes there was one title on the system that played a huge roll in killing off the genre: Donkey Kong 64.

In an interview with Polygon, Kærlev said Donkey Kong 64 wasn't fully to blame but that it certainly played its part:

Donkey Kong 64 did a lot of things wrong, in that it was very tedious to collect everything in order to move on. A lot of people don't want that. They want to be able to breeze through the game if they so desire, but there are also people who want to collect everything, and get stronger and better.

However, he wants to see the genre make a comeback as its now become a quick experience that features little in the way of collectables:

I think that modern games are sort of like a roller coaster, you start at A, and get to B. They've streamlined the experience as much as possible, and I just think studios don't consider that some people want to stick around and try everything.

Kærlev wants to make a collectable platformer that plays more like Banjo Kazooie rather than Donkey Kong 64 as he believes more people would be interested in playing a game that allows you to play through levels at your own pace.

The Kickstarter campaign currently has 18 days left to run and has raised more than $114,000 - impressive considering the original goal was a mere $30,000. All but one stretch goal has been met, should it reach $150,000 a new song will be created by Grant Kirkhope, the composer behind games such as Banjo Kazooie, GoldenEye and of course Donkey Kong 64.

At the beginning of Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts for the Xbox 360 L.O.G. removes collectables from the game claiming people don't want this type of gameplay anymore. We're not sure many wanted to play a Banjo game that featured Mumbo Jumbo as a car mechanic either but that's what we got.

Is Kærlev right? Did Donkey Kong 64 go too far in its collectable nature? Sound off in the comment section below.

[via polygon.com]

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User Comments (66)

6ch6ris6

#1

6ch6ris6 said:

i love collecting things in games. it has to be funny things though or they have to give my charakter more strength

RupeeClock

#2

RupeeClock said:

They certainly had a point, Banjo Kazooie handled the collectathon aspect of the game down very well.
You could move from one stage to the next quite easily by satisfying a good amount of jiggie goals and note collection in one stage. You didn't have to worry about getting everything, as the other collectables were not necessary for goal progression aside from the usual ammo and health, and other collectibles gave perks like upgraded health.
Back-tracking was kept to a minimum with only a few jiggies in past stages needing moves taught in future stages, and getting all 100 notes in a stage was only necessary for the 900 note door. Can't remember what was behind that final door though, but I don't believe it was the final boss. The final boss did not require all 100 jiggies either, but still quite an ample amount of them.

bahooney

#3

bahooney said:

I do agree that DK 64 was an absurd amount of collecting. But I wouldn't say it helped kill the genre. With each new generation of kids, they'll be interested in different things. So now, it's all about FPS's. That's a whole different beast that has nothing to do with DK.

erv

#4

erv said:

I think donkey kong was one of the best platformers there were, mostly because of the swinging and height mechanics - a bit like the strengths of the prince of persia series, especially the sands of time.

I don't understand why, once we got this great new 3d setup going, everything had to forget about the vertical dimension. Donkey kong did lots of these things right, and the collecting and characters were great.

Maustallica

#7

Maustallica said:

I would agree with this sentiment.

I had massive expectations for Donkey Kong 64 at the time and I ended up 101%-ing it, but on reflection, I didn't really enjoy a lot of it. I always think Rare kind of got the wrong end of the stick when it came to designing 3D platform games; they looked at Mario 64's system of collecting Stars to open up new levels and designed a series of games in which the objective is to trundle around expansive levels in a pedestrian manner, picking up trinkets here and there simply for the sake of collecting them. They seemed to miss that Mario 64 used its Stars as rewards for completing sections of gameplay, or goal markers at the end of engaging manual dexterity challenges.

In Banjo-Kazooie, this didn't show so much because the levels were streamlined and well-paced, but by DK64 the formula had become bloated, and it exposed how perfunctory the actual game engine was. Most of the moves and abilities you unlocked weren't particularly fun or tactile to use in their own right; they were essentially just glorified keycards, granting you access to larger sections of the level so you could COLLECT more STUFF. Nowhere was this more apparent than the musical instruments, entirely non-interactive power-ups that simply involved standing on a pad, pressing B and watching doors open or trinkets raining down on your head. Frankly, it became numbing after a while.

I can't say whether DK64 "killed" the genre, but I stopped bothering with Rare's 3D platformers after that. I'd be surprised if I was alone in that!

Big_L91

#8

Big_L91 said:

id say DK64 was the only game that the huge amount to collect was a problem. it was the fact that there was 5 characters and there for 5 different sets of collectables on each level. requiring you to explore each area fully 5 separate times. this was far, far, far too much imo and is the reason dk64 is my least favorite of the 3d n64 platformers.

GamecubeMan

#9

GamecubeMan said:

I loved Donkey Kong 64. However, from what I hard it was basically a beta test for rare and they went on to perfect the 3D genre with Banjo Kazooie. So in that regard if Rare went on to make bigger and better things, I guess one coulf bring up the arguement that Donkey Kong 64 was flawed. Nevertheless, its a shame that Donkey Kong 64 will probably never see the light of day considering Rare is owned by Microsoft now!!! :(

Riquerico

#10

Riquerico said:

I agree that DK64 had too much collectibles, but I still loved it. Banjo-Tooie was much more balanced and polished in my opinion. Collection platformer is still one of my favorite genres and I'd love to see it come back to the spotlight!

rjejr

#12

rjejr said:

@bahooney - Agreed. Collectibles don't kill games, guns do.

Never played this, hardly knew it existed, but the videos looked pretty good. I didn't play this or Banjo-Kazooie or Conker or anything else on the N64 b/c I never had one (except Mario 64 on VC) but open world 3D adventure games are my favorite.

Bahooney had it right though, games w/ guns killed collectibles. Best example of this, my all time favorite game is Jak and Daxter. The 2nd game they turned it into Grand Theft Auto by adding guns and car-jacking and even mission based levels. 3 was just more of the same. Ratchet and Clank is very similar but started w/ guns and guns became even more of the focus as the series progressed.

The game I'm currently looking most forward to, (that I'm aware of though this will change in the next 24 hours I hope), is "Knack" on the PS4. Hopefully the collecting doesn't get too carried away.

mikeyman64

#13

mikeyman64 said:

I couldn't agree more with his view on modern games. There's a place for linear worlds and streamlined games (ala certain Final Fantasys), but I have personally felt that games have been dumb'd down recently. Mario Galaxy is a good example for me. Very good game, yet I can't help but feel lacking after beating it. It was just too much of a blow through title. Granted, the game was designed with more of an older Mario Bros layout than it was with Mario 64, so that could be the main difference right there.

Now, that being said, DK64 was one of my favorite titles ever, let alone for the N64. I never noticed it having too many collectables, but that's probably just because I loved it. They might have been able to make the collectables non-crucial (as in, you only need 70% to move on) but you go too far with that and the game isn't really a collecting platformer any more.

I think that there's a sweet spot for those oddballs that don't like collecting things in their platformers. It's just a matter of making one that will draw the crowds back.

Gregor

#14

Gregor said:

@Kodeen remember the guy who made Fez? Something Fish. Just look at him. You don't know which way indie devs will go.

LtAldoRaine

#15

LtAldoRaine said:

I know that DK64 has way too much collectables,but I still love it. But the way it's paced, it feels more like an adventure game than a platformer. Even Banjo-Tooie,which has a better balance of those elements,feels like that to me too.

That said,as much as I love games like SMG,I kind of wish people nowadays made some games like Rare did. I only played Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie for the first time last year(yeah,I know),and I was blown away.

ueI

#16

ueI said:

I was under the impression that DK64 was well received at the time of its release, but he's probably right. I noticed a similar progression going from Mario 64, to Sunshine, to finally Galaxy.

KeeperBvK

#17

KeeperBvK said:

@GamecubeLad

You do realize that Banjo-Kazooie came out well before DK 64, don't you?
And in case you were refering to Banjo-Tooie, well, that was a far better game than DK 64, but it was hardly inspired by it. DK 64 and BT took pretty different roads, so calling one of them the "beta test" for the other seems pretty far-fetched to me.

Kodeen

#18

Kodeen said:

@Fusion14

True, but until this guy starts acting like Phil Fish, I think he should get the benefit of the doubt about being a reasonable human being.

kkslider5552000

#19

kkslider5552000 said:

Well of course it was instrumental! Donkey Kong had drums and Diddy had a guitar etc. It was very instrumental!

slim80

#20

slim80 said:

one of the best of all time,and the fact it has hours of gameplay.this game is longer and bigger than most games today

jedisquidward

#21

jedisquidward said:

I REALLY love DK64, it was one of the first games I ever played. But they really do make a good point. I still immensely enjoyed the game, but I can easily see how others wouldn't.

DESS-M-8

#23

DESS-M-8 said:

@GamecubeLad But I'd imagine that Donkey and the actual game and code are all owned by Nintendo. There is no way that Rare own Donkey Kong 64.
God, silicon knights made most of eternal darkness and it was their own original design and concept but Nintendo ended up owning the title, the sanity effect along with whatever else.
An actual Nintendo IP game made by a company they owned, I guarantee that 100% of the rights will lie at Nintendo. F-zero GX was made made by sega but who would you think owns that game???

Mike1

#25

Mike1 said:

I think it's really sad that DK64 gets so much flack. It was a good game. Maybe it was a little too big, but still great. And how exactly did DK64 kill of the collectables genre? Super Mario Sunshine had you collecting shine sprites too, and that was even harder because you had to collect the first 7 in each world.

hydeks

#26

hydeks said:

@babbeltje I had the same pack, but NA version :)

I disagree with the guy. DK64 was an awesome game, even the multiplayer was amazing! DK64 was the game that made me want the n64 more than anything, and I thought the collecting in that game was fun. Sure the game was harder than most n64 games, but it still remains a classic to me.

piperrobbie

#27

piperrobbie said:

He's entitled to his opinion of course however I have to respectfully disagree, DonkeyKong64 was one of my favorite (if not my favorite) games for the N64, I loved everything about. I played it when I was around 7 or 8 so I really had no idea what I was doing but I loved collecting more and more things and finding new parts of the levels, and the characters themselves I thought were super! I really didn't mind having to get so many things before being able to go to the next level because I had so much fun enjoy the level itself, I was in no rush to move on.

Stuffgamer1

#29

Stuffgamer1 said:

DK64 DID go overboard with the collectables, IMO...but the thing is, I still like the genre and I wish people were still making those games. So it's good to hear that that's the goal of the Hat in Time team. :)

Pachterkid

#30

Pachterkid said:

Donkey Kong 64 had way too much stuff to collect. I like collecting things in games, to a point anyways. DK64 got to the point where it was just tedious. As a child it took me 72 hours to get 100% completion, and by that time I was so sick of the game that I never wanted to play it again.

People think that DK64 was such an amazing game, but it really wasn't. Those people loved the SNES games and then, because it was a 3D platformer, they immediately thought that DK64 was the greatest thing ever made.

TeslaChippie

#31

TeslaChippie said:

Wow, I'm surprised at the comments here o.o I mean, my brothers and I played the crap out of that game and loved every second (and it took us six hours--SIX HOURS-- to beat Mad Jack, because we had a faulty controller that didn't allow full run speed). We found the exploration needed to find extra bananas exciting rather than tedious. Taking multiplayer breaks helped iron out the tension too. Hmm. Maybe we were just to sort of kids Rare understood~

smashbrolink

#32

smashbrolink said:

I still remember DK 64 as one of the best collect-a-thon titles I've ever had the pleasure of owning.
The only exception to that was the 100 Bananas that every Kong had to collect per level.
I liked the mechanic of having to get them for the sake of opening the boss door at the end, but downsizing the number of bananas in each level would have been a good idea.
Other than that, I don't think it being a collect-a-thon was a mark against it.
If anything, it saw just as much time in my N64 as Banjo-Kazooie did.[though not as much as Banjo-tooie]

Therefore, I only sort of agree with the author.
Yeah, there were way too many normal bananas, but I didn't mind that enough to believe that there were too many collectibles period.

Also, I was insulted by Nuts&Bolts insistence that "That's not the kind of game people want anymore".
Microsoft needs to BURN, a thousand times over, for not only using that travesty of a game to defile the good name of Banjo-Kazooie and the rest of Rare's franchises, but to also try and press its own thoughts about what we do and do not want.
WE KNOW WHAT WE WANT, MICROSOFT, AND IT IS NOT! YOU!

Rect_Pola

#33

Rect_Pola said:

It was a huge overload with not only things the team had to work for, but every character had their own supply of bananas, ammo, blueprints, coins. And I hated how you were forced to have multiple people get enough bananas to move on to boss battles. In Banjo-Kazooie, your progression relied solely on jiggies, which only came from beating a world's challenges or reaching select locations through that were a challenge in themselves. The bananas were just lying around, marking walking tours of the level, not the challenges built into them. I honestly forgot the point of those challenges were the golden bananas until I looked it up. It was too much stuff in environments that got real old after the fifth run around.

ungibbed

#34

ungibbed said:

I must admit that even now, I still like the game to this day with my N64 still hooked up to the same 1080p Sony Bravia that my Wii U is hooked up to. I liked searching the levels and getting the 100% mark.

Besides that, who could ever forget the DK rap intro! Ha!

tsm7

#35

tsm7 said:

The only problem with Donkey Kong 64 is that many of the collectibles were required but didn't provide a satisfying reward for your efforts.

Macarony64

#36

Macarony64 said:

And what are they basing this from? Donkey kong 64 was the top platformer ever it has huge replay value. If what they want is to crear a platformer that just last 4 hours count me out.

Suicune

#38

Suicune said:

I've had the piece of crap since 2nd grade and STILL haven't beaten it. Same with Majora's Mask.

I'm a grumpy person.

sketchturner

#39

sketchturner said:

DK64 is one of my top 5 favorite N64 games, but I still think this guy's statement is valid. While I personally love the OCD level of obsession required to collect everything, it was clearly a turn-off for a lot of people. Jet Force Gemini created a knee-jerk reaction as well, but that was not as high-profile a game, so I think DK64's impact was greater.
Conker's Bad Fur Day seems like a reaction to this hatred that developed for platformer collectathons. Conker is definitely a platformer, but the collecting is almost trivial compared to simply progressing through the game via various challenges. I think for the masses, Conker has a much more appealing pacing. It just sold poorly due to the mature content being on a Nintendo system and also due to being released so late in the life cycle of the N64.

SCAR392

#40

SCAR392 said:

There was alot to collect, but I wouldn't say that had everything to do with the game. There was plenty of platforming, puzzles, exploration, and quick reflex type stuff going on in order to collect stuff.

Einherjar

#41

Einherjar said:

I a HUGE sucker for collect a thon games and especially RAREs titles. I found Banjo Tooies interconnected level structure to be far more frustrating than the sheer number of collectables DK64 had to offer. There is another reason that kept me, and maybe others, from getting into this game that is never really mentioned. And that is / was the retail price, since it had to be bundled with the expension pack.
And to be honest. I miss collectables with a purpose. Today you only get stuff for achievments or stuff like "find 5 of X to unlock a picture in the art gallery" which is, in the age of the internet, more than pointless.
Every collectable in Banjo / DK64 hat a personality of its own, some of the where mandatory for progression and, at least for me, that made it all the more fun to collect them all. Lets compare it to, say, Arkham City. You also have tons of stuff to find and "collect" but nothing is really that worthwhile.
I really really miss the golden age of collect a thons.

tanookisuit

#42

tanookisuit said:

He's dead on right DK64 went overboard. What you have there is a game that takes basically a 100hours to knock off. The game is just too big for its own good in multiple ways. The overworld itself just as a map to go into stages is vast and takes a long time to hoof even with teleports. When you finally get into stages, they're massive too and require a lot of looping back around spaces as you progress. Each kong can pick up a good deal of bananas and other junk, but each also have a good pile of specific bananas, skills, and specific items they can rack up and only them. Essentially you have this huge freaking game that's nearly a dog just to navigate and then you need to backtrack most of every single stage with slight deviations based on the kong+unique skills five times over to do it all and finish the game. That's overkill and entirely unfun. I recently found another cart of this within the last month and it turned me off again to it within about an hour or two. I've never quite enjoyed these types of games with lots of collect-a-thon junk since the N64 era, but when they breeze along like a Mario, Conker's, or Rayman2 type style game I'm happy.

Luffymcduck

#43

Luffymcduck said:

Man, miss 3d platformers. Rare was really good at making them. DK64 had a little bit too much collecting but nothing that would have killed the game.

NintendoPro64

#44

NintendoPro64 said:

It's a shame the 3D Platformer has fallen to the wayside. I wish we had a generation where both 2D and 3D platformers could be equally prominent. :(
But I must say this year has been relatively kind to the genre. We have Sonic Lost World which will have 3D in both versions (sheer win for 3D on handheld BTW! :)) and we also have that Pac Man game. I know it hasn't caught many people's imagination, :P but I'll be getting it for my nostalgia with Pac Man World 2 on Gamecube. Indies are also contributing with Hat in Time here and Jett Rocket which has actually been delayed to include more open sections. :) And to top it off, we have new 3D Mario on the way which is supposed to be massive in scale. Needless to say I am excited! :D

As for the collectathon issue, I think Super Mario 64 has always set a good standard. Just make a certain amount of stuff necessary to progress but not too much that it becomes a drag for casual players.

TheN64Dude

#45

TheN64Dude said:

It did go a LITTLE too far in that aspect, but that's my favorite thing to do in a video game is collect things. DK64 is still my favorite game of all time.

Caryslan

#46

Caryslan said:

I might sound really old-school when I say this, but I like 2-D platformers alot more then 3-D ones. I never got into the 3-D Mario or Sonic games in the same way that I did their 2-D counterparts. Almost all of my top platformers of all time are 2-D ones, and the only 3-D ones I would put on the list would be Super Mario 64, Sonic Adventure, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations.

I grew up on the Sega Genesis and I loved the platformers that were on that system. To me, 2-D platformers tend to be more focused, more action packed, and don't rely on stupid gimmicks like chasing a rabbit to beat a level.

I can see why 2-D platformers have made such a strong comeback. They are easier to get into, and tend to be more enjoyable games overall. I simply don't like most 3-D platformers, especially the ones that require you to complete goals, jump through hoops, or collect items to beat a level.

Plus, I hate how the modern Mario games require you to have a certain number of stars to advance in the game. What happened to just beating a level and fighting a boss?

I know 3-D platformers have their fans, but its not much of a surprise to see them decline while 2-D platformers have grown in popularity again.

To me, 2-D platformers will always be better:)

Spoony_Tech

#47

Spoony_Tech said:

Seems it killed Rare too! Almost killed Donkey Kong as well. I think Nintendo seen which way the wind was blowing and jumped ship!

Mikau94

#48

Mikau94 said:

I completely agree! Banjo-Tooie is the game that perfected collectathons. You didn't have to recollect notes, you didn't have to switch between characters at the worst possible times and it was fast paced if you wanted it to be. DK64 was tedious to say the least and some of those banana fairies are REALLY hard to find. It's great if you have a lot of time and patience.

Yoshis95

#50

Yoshis95 said:

Im getting so pissed off at people bashing Donkey Kong 64. To this day it is one of my favorite games and it does not deserve this, i think its one of the best nintendo games of all time.

WaveBoy

#51

WaveBoy said:

I've never even played it, and probably never will. :p
It's tough to go back and play many of these Blocky, barren and blurry textured N64 platformers. Banjokazooie did nothing for me either. :p

MasterWario

#52

MasterWario said:

Donkey Kong 64 will always be one of my favorite games because it had so many collectibles

Pianist88

#53

Pianist88 said:

I really miss the freedom of N64's 3D platformers. Games like Mario Galaxy are spectacular, but they take away the sense of self-discovery. Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, and the Banjo games are probably my most satisfying gaming experiences.

GamerZack7

#54

GamerZack7 said:

@RupeeClock: It was a four-piece Jiggy puzzle that rewarded Banjo with a red health bar, effectively doubling his health. :)

As for Donkey Kong 64...I think it is one of the greatest games to ever hit the Nintendo 64 without returning or even making a phone call! I feel so cheated not knowing where it is! :'(

XD375

#56

XD375 said:

Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Tooie were absurd in this way.

Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie did things beautifully.

advance_melee

#57

advance_melee said:

I don't know about you guys but I loved dk64. There was a lot to collect but it was fun! Loved the different characters and worlds. One of my fav n64 games ever

B3ND3R

#58

B3ND3R said:

Um... Jak and Daxter was also a collection platformer... But enough on that. DK64 was an awesome experience on the N64 :D

EpicGamer

#59

EpicGamer said:

@SparkOfSpirit
Erm...Donkey Kong 64 isn't a continuation of Donkey Kong Country, there not even similar at all. The only thing that's the same is the reptiles and King K. Rool being the enemies, and being able to control Diddy Kong.
Donkey Kong 64 is a COMPLETLY different game. Just like how Super Mario Galaxy is different than New Super Mario Bros.

Henmii

#60

Henmii said:

Well, DK 64 may have gone a bit overboard in the collecting department, but I do love me some collecting! I would love a new Banjo Kazooie on the Wii u, with lots of collecting!

Yoshis95

#61

Yoshis95 said:

I think Donkey Kong 64 is better than super mario 64. I hope a hat in time does terrible

Tethers

#62

Tethers said:

For me DK64 was great, way better than Banjo-Tooie and one of the best 3D-plattformers of all time.

ueI

#63

ueI said:

@Yoshis95 If you like DK64 that much, you should be supporting Hat in Time's attempt to revive the genre.

Beau_Skunk

#64

Beau_Skunk said:

I loved DK64, but admittedly looking back on it was a bit tedious, (compared to Mario 64 & Banjo Kazooie) and very easy to get sidetracked from your goals in the game. It also didn't feel like much of a "Donkey Kong Country" game, as you couldn't really stomp on enemies as easily, and the soundtrack's style was different, (love the "Hideout Helm" theme though) but it did have some similarities to the DKC series, I admit, and some nice new ideas added to it, and the series' trademark humor. (Like the comical shooter weapons poking fun at Rare's FPS games.)

LUIGITORNADO

#65

LUIGITORNADO said:

I don't consider Mario 64 a collect-a-thon platformer, it's just a 3D platformer.

I can't stand collect-a-thons. For those who have the patience to play such games, more power to you...I don't have the patience.

Kasplat

#66

Kasplat said:

I adored DK64! But I guess thats because I had a LOT of time on my hands, so the length was great.

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