Donkey Kong Racing (lost build of cancelled Nintendo GameCube racing game; 2002)
Donkey Kong Racing was one of two sequels of the classic N64 game Diddy Kong Racing. It was going to be released on the Nintendo GameCube some time in 2002.
Known playable characters in Donkey Kong Racing included Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Tiny Kong, Kiddie Kong, and Taj the Genie from the trailer; plus Crankey Kong and Lanky Kong were shown in an internal render for the game. It is rumored that some of the original cast from Diddy Kong Racing could have returned as Taj would be a playable character in the game.
The world of Donkey Kong Racing was going to include forests, jungles, and seas that were going to be stitched together into one seamless overworld. The tracks and scenery are blurred so much, "It was up to you to decide where the track met amidst marauding rhinos, schools of darting piranha, swarms of agitated wasps and other roaming wildlife bent on mischief." The game was also going to have a lot of realistic features, like fading sunlight and swaying trees. The game was also going to have Dolby Surround Sound for the music, even to go as far as to put together an orchestrated soundtrack.
One of the main differences from this game to Diddy Kong Racing was that instead of riding in various vehicles, you would be riding on the backs of different animals from the Donkey Kong Country series. The animals known to could be ridden on includes Rambi (Rhino), Enguarde (Swordfish), Ellie (Elephant), and Zingers (Wasps). Expresso (Ostrich), Chomps (Shark), Flitter (Dragonfly), Glimmer (Anglerfish), Necky (Vulture), and Army (Armadillo) was shown in the trailer so it is presumed that they would have been rideable in-game. Each animal would have a different size and color, with special abilities according to how big the animal was. Bigger animals could destroy objects, and smaller animals could move a lot faster around obstacles. The player could also be knocked down from their animal, in which you had to do a "Track and Field" esque button mashing activity to get back on the animal.
When competing in races, the player could pick up fruits/prizes for their specific animal. Giving them enough could make them become, what the team, called "true thoroughbreds." In other words, you can collect fruits to upgrade your animal for max potential.
There was going to be a multiplayer mode in the game. Up to 4 people would be able to play at a given time. Very little, however, is known about the specifics of this mode.
Donkey Kong Racing made its first (and only) appearance at E3 2001, where a teaser trailer for what the game had in store was shown. It was said to be released somewhere in 2002. The game was anticipated to be shown at Space World 2001 or ETS 2001, but that unfortunately never happened. During that time, Rare Ltd. was not getting enough money from Nintendo to fund the project. Knowing this, Tim and Chris Stamper (the heads of Rare Ltd. at the time) went to Nintendo to offer the rest of their company, but to much of their surprise, Nintendo refused their offer. Tim and Chris Stamper went looking for a buyer until 2002, when Microsoft bought them for $375 million.
Effectively, people thought Donkey Kong Racing was over, due to the fact that Rare doesn't have permission to use the Donkey Kong trademark. This was not the case though, as when, in 2004 ,it was asked if the game was still being developed, the Rare team said "Well yes and no. It's not called Donkey Kong Racing anymore, it's not on the GameCube anymore and by this point I'd imagine so little of the original art and code remains that it's barely the same game anymore, but yes it's still coming out. In some form." The game, known as Saberman Stampede was also later canned.
As it stands right now, a few images and the E3 2001 trailer is all that is left online of the game.
- The Mario Wiki article on Donkey Kong Racing Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- A Mundorare article on Saberman Stampede with some information on Donkey Kong Racing Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- The Wikipedia page for Diddy Kong Racing, includes some information on Donkey Kong Racing. Retrieved on 22 Oct '17