Artist reveals concept art for Super Nintendo Donkey Kong Country

The end of the Golden Age of Super Nintendo was marked by a visually revolutionary trilogy: Donkey Kong Country. Amidst pixelated graphics, the game made history by launching pre-rendered three-dimensional models. But according to the new art released by Kev Bayliss, one of the original artists on the project, everything could have been very different.

Miyamoto sketch

This is because the original sketches in the game were quick drawings made on paper. The Internet was still not widespread at this time. So whenever a new enemy was needed in the game, developers had to flip through encyclopedias for references to prepare a sketch that would then be turned into a 3D model.

Shigeru Miyamoto’s design compared to rare sketches

The sketches were much more cartoonish in character than what we see in the end game. Kev says he drew inspiration from Shigeru Miyamoto’s art for the character’s early arcade games. Until then, Donkey Kong was still just a villain that Mario faced at the end of his game. His look needed a rethink for his first good guy adventure.

Rare ideas

The Kremlings, the most classic enemy species in the franchise, were created by Rare himself. These characters would be used in another business venture, but when Nintendo delivered Donkey Kong to their hands, they knew they would need to use their best creations.

Kremlings’ early conceptual arts

In addition to Donkey Kong, Kevin has also worked on other very important rare projects, such as Star Fox Adventures, Battletoads and Banjo-Kazoiee.

He currently collaborates with Playtonic, Yooka-Laylee’s studio, in addition to maintaining a YouTube channel where he talks about his past creations. Watch the full video below where he talks a little bit about the process of creating these characters:

It’s unclear if there’s a Donkey Kong game in production at this time, but we’ll have more news soon when the first Nintendo Direct of the year goes live.

Meet other super cute Nintendo characters on this list:

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