When you think of the titles of some of Nintendo's most iconic platform games, many of them just make sense as they are: Super Mario World, Kirby's Dream Land, and Donkey Kong Country. It all fits as a naming convention, right? Well, according to ex-Rare dev Kev Bayliss, the inclusion of the word 'Country' in Donkey Kong Country for the SNES actually has a more significant meaning behind it.
In a reply to a question on Twitter as to how the addition of the word 'Country' came to be, Bayliss confirmed that the game had been known as 'The Country Project' during development, owing to the fact that Rare was effectively situated in the middle of the countryside. Bayliss states that Nintendo had simply decided to keep 'Country' in the name, and so Donkey Kong Country was born.
While the information might be new to many, the current Creative Director at Rare, Gregg Mayles, also provided the same account back in 2018 when asked a similar question by a fan:
It's certainly an interesting glimpse into how one of Rare's most prestigious games was christened. Rare would of course go on to work on two direct sequels to Donkey Kong Country before providing significant support for the Nintendo 64 with GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker's Bad Fur Day. It developed just one game for the GameCube with Star Fox Adventures before being purchased by Microsoft in 2002 for $375 million.