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DKC: Tropical Freeze Creators Discuss Game Refinements, Development History in Interview

by Aaron R. Brown - February 25, 2014, 4:54 pm PST
Total comments: 5 Source: Official Nintendo Magazine UK

Twenty years of monkey business and counting.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze creators Michael Kelbaugh and Kensuke Tanabe were recently interviewed by Official Nintendo Magazine. They dove into not only the features and characteristics of the new DK title, but also the long, fruitful history of the franchise.

Both Kelbaugh and Tanabe have been involved with the series since the days of the original Donkey Kong Country, though not always working directly together. Tanabe explained, “20 years ago, I worked on the localisation (the Japanese version) of the Donkey Kong Country series under Miyamoto-san...At that time, I never had an opportunity to meet Michael directly. Only, after 10 years, when he became president of Retro, we finally got to speak face-to-face.”

The two also went on to explain why they think Retro is able to hone in on the strengths of the franchise. “There is an entire legacy of video gaming veterans still working at Nintendo that we continue to learn from,” Kelbaugh stated.

Tanabe also mentioned that a lot of people that work at Retro are much younger and played Nintendo games when they were kids. “I believe that, because they know how much fun it was to play the games themselves, they are extremely passionate to make current users feel exactly the same way. What I can do here is to explain to them the ideas behind the Nintendo games that they enjoyed in their childhood. Maybe that's the reason why they were able to recreate the fun of Nintendo games without losing anything.”

And without losing anything, Retro has made a number of refinements with Tropical Freeze. A lot of time was spent working on the fur (as requested by Satoru Iwata) and increasing animation quality. David Wise, the original composer of Donkey Kong Country, was also added to the project. “This, combined with Kenji Yamamoto and Scott Petersen, lent itself to a simply amazing soundtrack and special effects effort,” Kelbaugh said.

Features were also implemented so players can play at whichever difficulty they choose, although this does not mean that the difficulty has been lowered. Kelbaugh added, “You may recall that the original Donkey Kong Country series on the SNES was hard. Very hard! If we were to make Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze easier, it really wouldn't be a Donkey Kong Country game, would it?”

Here’s the full interview, in which the two creators share their favorite levels, talk about team relationships, and guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze released February 21 in North America and Europe and February 22 in Australia for the Wii U.

Talkback

KITT 10KFebruary 25, 2014

Before I first started playing I wasn't too excited at first because it really didn't seem like there was anything new to it aside from Dixie and Cranky being added. But loving Donkey Kong Country like I do I got it anyway. When I played it didn't take me long to love the game, (took about a quarter of a second to do so). I definitely love the detail in the game's graphics. I especially love how detailed DK's fur is in the game. I would however love to see a DKC like they had on the N64, that one was fun as well. But still, this is a great game and I look forward to play it more as time goes on.

Disco StuFebruary 26, 2014

Quote from: KITT

I would however love to see a DKC like they had on the N64, that one was fun as well.

That's dangerous to admit around here, as the vast majority of people on the NWR forums seem to harbor an intense hatred (or at least dislike) for Donkey Kong 64.  There are a few of us who loved it then and still love it.

KITT 10KFebruary 26, 2014

I'll admit the so called "rap" singing in the opening sequence was horrible beyond words, but the game play itself was fun. That's what I liked about the game.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, February 26, 2014

Donkey Kong 64 was too bloated for its own good, had way too many things to collect, had confusing level layouts, required playing the DK arcade game twice just to see the final boss, and other issues. I enjoyed it when I played it, but I haven't touched it for over ten years. My opinion might change.

Luigi DudeFebruary 26, 2014

Quote from: Phil

Donkey Kong 64 was too bloated for its own good, had way too many things to collect, had confusing level layouts, required playing the DK arcade game twice just to see the final boss, and other issues. I enjoyed it when I played it, but I haven't touched it for over ten years. My opinion might change.

Yeah, this sums up the game quite well.  There was a good game in there that was fun at times but there was so much tedious stuff you had to put up with it got ridicules.

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