When Rare was given the chance to work with one of Nintendo's most famous intellectual properties, it created one of the SNES' truly classic 2D platformers. However, Donkey Kong Country not only gave Kong a new lease of life; it gave him an entirely new look which has become the accepted template ever since.
What, you may ask, would the game have looked like if Rare's designers had stuck to the 'classic' Miyamoto design instead of reinventing video gaming's most famous ape? That's what YouTube user Spacepig22 pondered, but instead of just pondering like the rest of us he also created his own set of sprites to illustrate what the game could have looked like.
Here's what he said:
In the 90's Rareware was given the opportunity to redesign one of Nintendo's biggest mascots, Donkey Kong, and rendered him using state-of-the-art, prerendered, CG graphics. After seeing concept art though I got around to thinking, "What if Nintendo had been more strict with its IP, and told Rareware to stick with Miyamoto's old design for DK and DKJr?"
This is not a hack. I took footage of Donkey Kong Country, edited DK out with After Effects, and edited in the sprites I made in Maya.
- First I researched DK's old design from arcade cabinets and the gameboy game.
- Using that design, I created a 3D model using Maya. I tried to make the models as 90's as possible, so the arms are two separate objects that overlap at the elbow, and the fingers are separate from the hands, and the fur is a fractal texture (just like in the original DKC).
- Then I animated the models, and rendered sprites at a large size, because rendering it at a small size made it blurry.
- I took those renders into Photoshop, and shrank them down so the idle animations were around 40x40 pixels each (since that seemed to be the average size of both original idle animations). The blending mode was set to nearest neighbor to prevent it from getting blurry.
- Photoshop has this neat feature under Images, Mode, Indexed Color, where you can limit any image to a certain amount of colors. So I took the renders and I limited them to only use the 16 colors (15 colors, 1 invisible) from Donkey Kong's color palette in the game.
- Then I just had to put them into After Effects and edit them into the video. Also, if you do this for yourself, I learned that After Effects doesn't like indexed colors, so after you index the colors, set the file back to RBG, and everything will work perfectly.
We'd love to play this version of DKC, but sadly Spacepig22 admits he has no idea how to create a working patch for the game. Perhaps someone out there can help him, and we'll get to experience this strange version of DKC from an alternate timeline?