Former Rare staffer Chris Seavor is someone that Nintendo Life fans should hopefully be pretty familiar with; not only was he the creative force behind the seminal N64 title Conker's Bad Fur Day, but - along with fellow Rare alumni Shawn Pile at Gory Detail - he's also spent the past few years working on The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup, which was due to arrive on Wii U and 3DS but is now slated for a Switch release in the near future (it launched on Steam recently).
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Seavor reveals what his next project will be, and it should have Rare fans pretty excited. He explains that his original plan had been to resurrect Urchin, a dark fantasy title that he had worked on at Rare that never saw release.
However, when he posted a tweet jokingly saying that if people bought Rusty Pup on Steam it would help fund a new Conker outing, he decided to alter the brief a little:
It was a sort-of joke but the response was overwhelming. I've been quite resistant to that sort-of thing for a while. I like to try new things. But I gave it some thought, and thought that maybe we could do a [Conker successor].
While the game naturally won't feature Conker himself as that IP is owned by Rare and Microsoft, Seavor hopes that people will see the same DNA in this new project - although it might not be as obvious as another game created by former Rare employees:
With Yooka-Laylee, [Playtonic's] idea for a spiritual successor was very literal, which was fine. But I think I could do something that is Conker in essence, but is actually something completely new. I've worked something out that people would see and think 'I can see Conker'. There will be little characters that are a bit bizarre, with cartoon violence... comedy, but a lot darker. We'll do movie parodies, but we'll focus on horror films. It will have all these Conker-like elements, but don't expect an anthropomorphic squirrel, or cute visuals. People might see it and go 'that's not Conker', but I think they'll get what I'm doing.
He adds that he hasn't had to throw away all of the work he'd done on the 'Urchin' project, either:
I've got quite a lot of the work done in terms of preparing for the dark fantasy game. But I can actually adapt a lot of what I've already done. You know when things coming together perfectly in your head? Sometimes when you try to add things together, it's difficult to see how it can really work. But with this, straightaway, I could see it. It's super early days. At some point, we'll have something to show. I think people are going to love it and they'll definitely see the Conker in there. We are going to satirise the games industry a bit, so watch out. I might upset some people. But that's fine.
The most exciting thing is that Seavor hints this new game could reunite him with other ex-Rare staffers:
Depending how much money we make out of Rusty over the next year, that will feed into what we can do with aspects of the next game. As an example, we could bring in guest musicians. I've already asked Grant [Kirkhope, former Rare composer] about a section of the game that I think would fit him perfectly. That's the kind of thinking in terms of how we spend our money. But the overall cost will be what it is. I do all the graphics, Shawn does all the code, we have another coder who comes in to help out... that's it.
Regarding Rusty Pup, Seavor admits that it's been a struggle to get the game in front of both journalists and players:
We launched it with very little fanfare... or the most we can get with a marketing budget of 5p. I'm most comfortable tinkering with gameplay. When it comes to actually trying to sell it, it's a nightmare. I just don't enjoy it. I dread it, actually. It is much easier to make a game than to sell one, at least as far as I can tell.
It's hard to get people's eyes on stuff. We got a mailing list for magazines and websites, because we wanted to get some reviews. I just want someone to look at the game... good or bad, I'd rather have bad reviews than no reviews. So we sent out all these codes. Well Shawn did, I'm not actually allowed to interact with people [laughs]. We sent out nearly 80. And aside from Out Of Office responses, we didn't get a single 'thanks for that, we'll have a look'. We did get two in the end. We had [Gamesindustry] and Wesley from Eurogamer. But otherwise, we didn't get a single response. It's kind-of irksome, but I suspect journalists get these things all the time.
[Editor's note: We'll forgive Chris' lapse of memory here because he makes a damn fine meat pie, is a great host and has an adorable dog - he actually gave us a Steam code as well, and we'll be going hands-on with the PC version soon]
Have you played Rusty Pup on PC? Or are you waiting on the Switch version? What do you make of Seavor's revelation that he's making a spiritual successor to what is arguably his most famous game? Let us know with a comment below.