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DF Retro: Donkey Kong Country + Killer Instinct - A 16-Bit CG Revolution!
Dec 16, 2017 •

Digital Foundry's video feature about the Donkey Kong Country series features behind-the-scenes stories from some of the games’ developers. It includes a brief section about Rare’s experiments on a Virtual Boy version with quotes by Environment Art Director Steven Hurst. Following is a full transcript of the section.

Around the same time though, another very small team within Rare started experimenting on another piece of a Nintendo hardware.

Hurst: “I was kind of drafted on to help a programmer just look and see what was possible on the Virtual Boy, so I had taken some of the sprites that had been done for the Game Boy version and put them into the Virtual Boy.”

If you couldn’t guess this was a very early project that never really made much progress, thus there’s not really any official media available for it.

Hurst: “It would have taken a lot of work to get the game running and also because the Virtual Boy was proven not to be the success that Nintendo maybe had hoped. It was an interesting project, but I don’t think it ever really got off the ground beyond a few scrolling screens of graphics.”

Hurst: “It was essentially a 3D, black-and-white (while red-and-black) version of DKC. I suppose you could compare it to the Game Boy version, it would be similar to the Game Boy but with full 3D. The effect that we had was very very good, we managed to get a very solid looking game. But the techniques that we needed to do it were very laborious because normally when you do an image or a sprite you just do it from front on and as we would have to render out two different things from either side to get the 3D effect. So, instead of just rendering out one image, you render out two, from different eyes, if you like.”

With the Virtual Boy off the table the rest of Rare including the DKC3 team moved on to other projects centered primarily around Nintendo’s next generation Nintendo 64.