In honor of Conker’s 18th birthday, we have a look again on what made Dangerous Fur Day so nice.
Have you ever met Conker? Uncommon’s binge consuming and foul-mouthed anthropomorphic squirrel? He’s a handful and loves a pores and skin full. Earlier than Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day has even began, we watch Conker casually take a chainsaw to the N64 emblem. It’s a positive signal of issues to return. Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day might appear to be your typical cutesy platformer at first look, however your typical platformers don’t normally comprise graphic violence, sexual innuendos, drug abuse and LOADS of bathroom humour. What number of platformers have you ever performed the place the overwhelming majority of issues are solved by urinating on issues?
Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day is actually not a sport you’ll affiliate with Nintendo’s family-friendly picture, however its distinctive attraction, high quality, and humor have cemented its repute as a cult traditional. Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day bares all the standard hallmarks of a AAA Nintendo sport while additionally being one of the vital quintessentially British video video games ever launched.
In some ways, Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day is the N64’s very personal sitcom. Conker’s journey begins after a heavy night time out within the Cock and Plucker Pub. After battling his hangover in a cleverly constructed tutorial part that breaks the fourth wall (one thing that sport does usually, and really properly), Conker is thrown into quite a lot of comedic conditions that usually play out like a montage of South Park and Glad Tree Mates episodes going down in Tim Burton’s head.
In some ways, Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day is the N64’s very personal sitcom.
However Conker hasn’t at all times been the functioning alcoholic he’s now broadly often called. Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day was developed by British sport studio Uncommon and initially began life as Twelve Tales: Conker 64. It was your typical 3D platformer, closely influenced by the chic digicam work in Tremendous Mario 64. However there was a problem: Uncommon was additionally creating Banjo-Kazooie similtaneously Twelve Tales, and it made no sense for Uncommon to be basically competing with itself. Banjo confirmed probably the most promise, and one thing needed to change with Conker. Chris Seavor, who labored because the lead artist on Twelve Tales, had an concept.
“I used to be watching plenty of South Park on the time and I believed: I’m wondering if I can do one thing like that. We needed to do full speech and…as a result of we knew [the Banjo team] weren’t doing full speech, we thought we are able to trump them on this one!”
The group put collectively a brief gameplay demo: a easy fetch quest during which Conker is tasked with serving to a Queen Bee retrieve her stolen hive from a gang of offended wasps. Seavor admits that the gameplay was comparatively easy, nevertheless it was the dialogue and characters that introduced the set-up to life.
“There’s this joke the place he brings the hive again, the queen bee will get her revenge and these huge machine weapons come out and kill [the wasps]. It went down an absolute bomb with Tim (Stamper). When Uncommon noticed it they only mentioned: that is gonna work. And so they mentioned, proper, do 100 extra of these – come again while you’ve executed them and we would have a sport right here.”
Twelve Tales grew to become Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day with Seavor taking the reins as director. Thankfully for Seavor and the group, they didn’t face hurdles one may anticipate whereas creating a model new sport beneath Nintendo. Uncommon had a confirmed monitor file of success, and the writer positioned plenty of belief within the developer consequently.
“The underlining factor to recollect was we have been making an attempt to make a superb sport, greater than we have been making an attempt to make a humorous sport, the funniest bit was simply servicing the gameplay actually,” mentioned Seavor. “And everybody on the group has an analogous sensibility and sense of humour. We have been principally given no boundaries.
“We had outlines for the duty, for the story, for the actual little narrative and had an concept what the gameplay could be – mechanically you’re doing this and that may imply this occurs for a motive and then you definately get the punchline.”
Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day would go onto characteristic over 100 distinctive characters, from a milk-addicted Panther King to a cat-hating Grim Reaper. All of those characters required distinctive voices and impressively, a group of simply three folks voiced the entire characters within the sport, and Seavor explains that no less than 50% of the sport’s script was ad-libbed.
“A few of the jokes and concepts for traces – when it comes to the particular joke, the character and the way they reacted – was scripted,” mentioned Seavor. “However how they mentioned it and the way it might play out after that was simply what sounded proper.”
For a sport taking a lot affect from South Park, it’s not stunning that Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day is full of popular culture references. For Seavor, motion pictures akin to Saving Non-public Ryan and The Matrix have been good parody materials and ended up taking part in a elementary function in serving to to form gameplay mechanics. You’ll additionally discover frequent nods to Terminator, Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange and masses extra.
“In some methods [parody] drove the narrative,” mentioned Seavor. “You molded the story round what the parody was gonna be and it labored. It was a steadiness as properly between gameplay and we couldn’t simply have a tonne of cutscenes and nothing else occurring in between so there nonetheless needed to be some conventional sport improvement sat behind that. It was the glue for all of the cutscenes. There was plenty of selection in there with plenty of completely different gameplay which is what we needed to go for.”
“You molded the story round what the parody was gonna be and it labored.
The Matrix parody noticed a leather-clad Conker raiding the Federal Reserve Financial institution, dodging and returning bullets in slow-motion capturing segments. Conker’s tackle Saving Non-public Ryan was a duplicate of the Normandy seaside storm. The tip result’s a heady mixture of difficult platforming, fluid capturing sections and hack-and-slash brutality. It was a novel sport not like the rest on the Nintendo 64.
“There’s a lot code in that sport, just about each job was some new little bit of gameplay code written, mentioned Seavor. “It was fairly by the seat of your pants. We’d sort out any downside as we got here throughout it. If I’d have identified how a lot of those mechanics have been in there… I’d most likely have been a bit extra intimidated by what we have been doing.”
On the time, Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day was a outstanding sport on the energy of its technological achievements alone. It received a BAFTA for Finest Interactive Sound, beating the likes of Max Payne, Medal of Honor and SSX. Conker continues to be among the finest audio experiences that the Nintendo 64 has to supply, that includes full Dolby encompass and an enormous MIDI soundtrack that bounces between quite a lot of completely different genres to serve the sport’s aesthetics (no shock there’s a rhythmic part in a single monitor comprised solely of fart noises).
It’s simply as spectacular to take a look at. The group spent weeks optimizing Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day to try to match as a lot content material as attainable into the N64 cartridge and managed to take action with out the necessity for the N64’s reminiscence enlargement cartridge. There are plenty of moments the place Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day places Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 to disgrace; its environments shine simply as vivid and the eye to element within the facial animations for its characters are outstanding when you think about what number of characters are within the sport. Each single character in Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day is oozing with character and attraction.
As I revisit Conker to want him a cheerful 18th birthday, I can’t assist however marvel what’s subsequent for the online game world’s rudest ever mascot. Conker could seem destined to spend his remaining years at Uncommon in everlasting hibernation, however Seavor is at the moment engaged on a religious successor: a violent, cosmic-horror sport impressed by the works of Lovecraft. Fortunately, if Seavor’s description is something to go by, there’s nonetheless hope but for one more sport like Conker’s Dangerous Fur Day.
“It’s actually violent. The principle character is sort of a feminine model of Conker. It’s all little tales, it’s satire and we’re gonna parody stuff like horror motion pictures. And I’m gonna take the dwelling piss out of the sport business as a result of it’s completely ripe for that…”
Mat Ombler is a contract journalist who writes about music and video video games. You’ll be able to observe him on Twitter @MatOmbler