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Cancelled Diddy Rong Racing Sequel Revealed

Diddy Kong PilotIt's really sad to see how far developer Rareware has fallen since its Super NES and Nintendo 64 heyday.  While publishing under Nintendo's banner, the famed developer revived the dusty Donkey Kong license and made it relevant again with games like Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong 64, and a racing spin-off title featuring a collection of Rare characters in one package toplined by Diddy Kong.  1997's Diddy Kong Racing brought car, hovercraft, and airplane racing to the masses in one package, and considering how well it sold, it's only natural that there would've been interest in a sequel.  Rare was hard at work on an all-flight handheld addition to the franchise featuring tilt controls when the company was sold to Microsoft, so it's understandable why Diddy Kong Pilot for the Game Boy Advance never saw the commercial light of day.  Eventually the game was overhauled to spotlight Rare's own Banjo-Kazooie property and the renamed Banjo Pilot was published by THQ in 2005, but now a beta version of the Diddy Kong incarnation of the game has surfaced online thanks to RareWare Central.  Check out this video clip of the unfinished game in action.

Nintendo had the option of publishing the game, but passed on it (notably, while the game was under consideration at Nintendo, some of the Diddy Kong team went on to work on a Battletoads revival for the GBA that also met an untimely end).  This version of Diddy Kong Pilot is particularly rough around the edges, but the actual finished Banjo Pilot isn't much better.  Consider these comments from one of the developers who worked on the revamped project, Paul Rahme:

5 months in, we had the game mostly playable - I was working on bosses and I think the last few weapons were being implemented. We estimated around 1 more month before it could go into QA. Then, out of the blue, we just got told to stop working on it, reskin the original project, and that they wanted it done in 1 month's time.‬

‪Not a chance - it took 1 month to just get it building & running again (with lots of help from Jens, who we had to keep pulling off Perfect Dark Zero to show us how to get things compiling, converting, etc). The game was pretty unstable, and we spent about 5 months changing the graphics and bugfixing. We couldn't get any music changed as the musicians were all busy on the Xbox 360 launch projects, so the game went out with DK style music in, I think there are even still monkey sounds in the "results screen" bgm.‬

Not only is there Donkey Kong-type music in Banjo Pilot, there's a Donkey Kong Country song in the game.  This so-called "Grassland" track is actually a remixed "Jungle Hijinx" theme.

While I'm sure that Diddy Kong Racing could have led to a worthwhile sequel, Diddy Kong Pilot and/or Banjo Pilot are not it.  That honor should belong to the Nintendo GameCube title Donkey Kong Racing, although considering that project was also canned following Rare's departure from the world of Nintendo and that a Rare-developed enhanced version of the original Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo DS managed to break so much of what was fun about the original title, it's highly unlikely that we'll see gorillas invited to take the wheel of a vehicle again any time soon.

(via GameSetWatch)