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Dinosaur Planet concept art revealed, Timber from Diddy Kong Racing was originally set to be the star

Timber gets the shaft again!

The secrets behind Dinosaur Planet keep coming! Just a few days back, a prototype version of the N64 build was leaked online, bringing us tons of gameplay footage. Today, we find out that another RARE character almost landed the starring role!

In a feature on VGC, former RARE dev Kev Bayliss reveals that Timber from Diddy Kong Racing was actually going to be the lead in the game. This is the second time Timber was meant to be the star character, as he was originally going to front Diddy Kong Racing. Once again Timber got the shaft though, as RARE went with a wolf character, and then transitioned to Fox McCloud.

Accord to Bayliss, Timber would have appeared as a time-travelling tiger with a rucksack, fingerless gloves, a baseball cap and a small dinosaur for a sidekick.

Along with that, Bayliss also shared a bunch of concept art from the original pitch for Dinosaur Planet/StarFox Adventures. You can see the gallery of art here.

Dinosaur Planet, RARE's cancelled N64 game that became StarFox Adventures, leaks online

A RARE piece of history

Back in the later days of the N64, RARE was working on an original title for the platform called Dinosaur Planet. That release was eventually cancelled, and RARE took what they had and reworked it into StarFox Adventures for the GameCube. Many have wondered just how far along that N64 version, and now we know, thanks to a new leak.

A playable build of Dinosaur Planet on the N64 has been leaked online, courtesy of the video game preservationists at Forest of Illusion. This build of the game comes from December 2000, two years before the game made its jump over to the GameCube. This build of the game was purchased from a private game collector in Sweden.

This version of the game isn't perfect, but it's good enough to run on actual N64 hardware, albeit with some issues. You can see gameplay footage from today's leak in the video above.

Thanks to CM30 and Enigmaxtreme for the heads up!

CollegeHumor and Nintendo were working on a StarFox claymation project akin to The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Mission failed...

TV personality Adam Conover has not one, but two big stories to share with Nintendo fans. He shared new details on the Legend of Zelda/Netflix project that fell apart, but that's not his only secret. Turns out Nintendo was working on another animated feature with a different company altogether.

While most will know Adam Conover from the TV show Adam Ruins Everything, his first big break was at CollegeHumor. While he was working at that company, Conover says that CollegeHumor and Nintendo were partnering up for some sort of StarFox project. It seems this was a claymation feature, rather than a game. According to Conover, the feature was going to be similar in style to The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Why didn't this project ever see the light of day? Conover says the leaks of the Legend of Zelda live-action series with Netflix made Nintendo upset, so they not only cancelled those plans, but plans for other projects outside of games at that time. That means the StarFox claymation feature was a casualty of the whole Netflix situation.

It's a shame Nintendo decided to yank support, as this project sounds like it could have been really cool! You can hear the whole conversation about it at the 39:47 mark above.

StarFox Command dev explains why the game didn't have more traditional StarFox levels

The Miyamoto mandate

StarFox Command was a portable entry in the StarFox series that kept all the battles in all-range mode. Why didn't the game allow for classic-style StarFox missions? Dev Dylan Cuthbert explained in an interview with Nintendo Life.

"If we’d have had more time, I would have liked to add some 'standard' Star Fox levels with forward-scrolling, but at the time Miyamoto was adamant that we stick with free-range modes. That was part of his 'Star Fox should explore new things' initial direction on the project. I would have liked to expand the mothership sequence more too, adding variation and different things to do, allowing you to enter mothership for an on-rails sequence, perhaps."

Starlink: Battle for Atlas priced at £12.59 / €14.39 on the Switch eShop

Worth it?

Starlink: Battle for Atlas never really made a big splash on any platforms, but it ended up selling best on Switch nonetheless. Looks like Ubisoft is still trying to squeeze some cash out of this one by offering a special deal in Europe.

As long as you don't mind going with the digital version, you can grab Starlink: Battle for Atlas for the extremely low price of £12.59 / €14.39. This offer ends on Sept. 17th, 2020, so you've got a few days to mull the purchase over.

Former Argonaut devs recall Miyamoto's heavy smoking and wild tangents during StarFox's development

It was a very different time for Miyamoto

Netflix's upcoming game documentary series 'High Score' includes a snippet in the final episode about Argonaut and Nintendo working together on StarFox for the SNES. Former Argonaut developers Dylan Cuthbert and Giles Goddard recalled what it was like working within Nintendo's walls, and having Miyamoto hanging out with them. You can see what the pair had to say below.

GG: “They never had anybody outside Nintendo working in the building. They actually made a separate office for us in one room on our own, basically segregated out.”

DC: “The only place in the office where they allowed Miyamoto to smoke was in the place, the area where we were. He’d light up behind us and he’s, like, smoking away. And we’re, like, programming away and we’re like, ‘Oh, is he back again?’ So we’d be trying to implement something quite interesting, and then he just starts talking about trees or something, or, you know, just something completely out there. But we realized after a while that that’s actually the reason why he’s so much a creative genius. It’s because his brain is kind of thinking about all these different things at the same time.”

Platinum on The Wonderful 101 sequel interest, Bayonetta 3 progress, StarFox Zero, and wanting Amaterasu in Smash Bros.

Platinum shares some juicy tidbits

Our friends at GameXplain got to talk to Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya about all sorts of Platinum Games topics, and we've put together a quick summary of some of the juiciest tidbits. Check out that recap below.

- Atsushi Inaba said there's never been a day where they didn't want to do a sequel to The Wonderful 101
- he says it would be nice if the day came when they could make a sequel, but it would be a challenge
- Platinum is interested in working with Nintendo again in the future
- Bayonetta 3 development is "going fine"
- no conversations have happened with Platinum about porting StarFox Zero to Switch
- due to the fan reaction to the dog in Project GG, there might be an expanded role for the dog in the full game
- Hideki Kamiya would love to see Amaterasu added to Smash Bros. Ultimate

Nintendo adds StarFox Zero wallpapers to its free collection

Don't relax, we're not done yet!

Just yesterday, Nintendo shared a collection of free wallpapers featuring their biggest and best characters. Sadly, the StarFox gang was missing from that collection, but Nintendo has fixed that issue today. You can now grab 4 different wallpapers on Nintendo's site, which can be used for your desktop or as virtual backgrounds for your conference apps. Check out the selection here.

GoNintendo Thought: Looking back on the importance of StarFox 64

Never give up. Trust your instincts.

In honor of the late Rick May, I thought I'd put together a piece on StarFox 64. Rest in peace, Mr. May. I hope your family and friends find peace as well. You will be fondly remembered for your contributions to gaming for years to come.

______________________________________________

The collection of prints in the picture above are hanging in my office. I think they're the best pieces of gaming art I have. That might be because of their quality, but it could also have something to do with my love of the StarFox franchise. Out of all of Nintendo's successful series', there's just something about StarFox that has always resonated with me.

When I try to boil down why I enjoy the StarFox series so much, two things come to mind. First off, I love the idea of a team of characters working together. A group of personalities that vary wildly, but they all come together to help one another when it counts. That comradery, that bond between everyone on Team StarFox really makes me appreciate the characters so much more.

The second thing I love about the StarFox franchise is how it's tied to innovation. Most of the mainline StarFox installments aimed to innovate on small or large scales. Sometimes the innovation doesn't sit well with fans, as with the unique control scheme in StarFox Zero. Other times the innovation really wows players, just like it did with the Super FX chip implementation in the original StarFox. That said, I think the biggest innovation the series brought to the gaming industry would have to be the introduction of rumble.

With those being the two elements that I love most about the StarFox series, it's not surprising that StarFox 64 sits atop my list when it comes to favorite installments. StarFox 64 took the personalities we were introduced to in the original game and greatly expanded them through the use of more dialog, and voice acting. It also introduced the gaming world to controller rumble, which has become an industry standard since. Those two aspects came together to create an experience I'll never forget.

When I first heard the voice acting in StarFox 64, I was blown away. Yes, it was low quality and quite goofy, but it seemed to fit for some reason. It was just surprising to see Nintendo take that route with a game, as they weren't really known for voiced titles. Hell, they don't really dabble too much with voice acting to this very day! For whatever reason, they felt the move to include voice acting in StarFox 64 was the way to go, and that decision paid off bigtime.

Those characters and their cheesy dialog helped expand the StarFox universe in a billion different ways. It makes the series feel more alive, and it brought out deeper layers in the characters. StarFox 64 feels like a cartoon come to life, with some over-the-top personalities looking to take you down, and more tender moments spoken between Team StarFox. That dialog set the tone for the game, and also sticks in the minds of gamers to this day. Countless fans of StarFox 64 can recite numerous lines of dialog perfectly all these years later, and I'm definitely one of them.

While the inclusion of voice acting was definitely a surprise, the Rumble Pak was the real show-stopper. If there were home consoles/games to include rumble before StarFox 64, I am unfamiliar with them. Even if there were, there's no doubt that StarFox 64 was the game to put rumble on the map.

Once again, Nintendo decided to take a chance with the StarFox series by making it the showcase for brand-new tech. An accessory that you plugged into the back of your N64 controller, the Rumble Pak was an absolute beast. It added quite a bit of weight to the N64 controller, and the vibration it kicked out was intense. I will never forget the moment I sat down and played StarFox 64 with a Rumble Pak for the first time. It was such an unbelievable experience, and it really helped to immerse you in the game. It made every nook and cranny of the game that much more exciting, as you were waiting to see just how the Rumble Pak would come into play.

Nintendo has had many moments in its history that lead to industry-wide adoption, and the Rumble Pak is definitely one of their biggest. It's hard to imagine game controllers without rumble nowadays. Sitting down to play a game without rumble instantly makes it feel like you're missing something. We're trained to expect that physical feedback now, and when it's not there, the whole experience feels off.

Rumble nowadays is more sophisticated than ever, and new platforms continue to push the envelope. The Switch includes HD Rumble, which provides a whole new layer to the rumble experience. Sony is doing something similar with their PS5 controller as well. Whenever a new piece of gaming hardware is introduced, you can bet rumble is going to be a standard feature in the controller. What was a shot in the dark with StarFox 64 ended up being a must-have feature going forward, and that's a pretty amazing feat to pull off.

While the StarFox franchise may be struggling to find itself in today's day and age, its legacy is undeniable. There was a time when StarFox showed us the path ahead for the game industry, even when the industry didn't know it yet. StarFox 64 was at the forefront of that movement, and deserves to be remembered fondly for it. I also happen to think it deserves to be remembered for giving us a wonderful cast of characters, unforgettable lines, and a focus on the importance of working together.

StarFox 64 will forever hold a special place in my heart. It brings up such fond memories, and did a lot for gaming in general. While I'm always eager to see where the team heads next, I'll never forget where they came from.

Rick May, the voice of Peppy and Andross in StarFox 64, has passed away from coronavirus

Rest in peace, Mr. May

We are unbelievably saddened to tell you that Rick May, the voice behind Peppy Hare and Andross in StarFox 64, has passed away. Rick suffered a stroke in Feb. 2020, and had been moved into a nursing home for his rehabilitation. While there, Rick was exposed to the coronavirus, which ended up taking his life while he was in the care of Swedish Medical Center near Seattle, Washington.

Outside of his work in video games, Rick was a a teacher at the Rekindle School, where he directed or appeared in over 300 shows. The Rekindle School has opened up an email address for those who want to send their condolences to Rick's family. You can do so by reaching out to rekindleschool@gmail.com.

Thanks to Cassidy for sharing this information.