During E3 2014, Microsoft managed to surprise everyone in the audience by announcing that the irritable squirrel, Conker, will be returning – albeit not in the form many had hoped for. Instead of a true sequel to the beloved Nintendo 64 title, it was announced that the character would be appearing as a prominent addition to Project Spark on Xbox One and PC. The latest trailer highlighting the Rare property in the creation-centric title, however, may get fans of the long dormant franchise even more excited for the content.
The new trailer for the forthcoming Project Spark content should (no pun intended) spark interest from a fan base that has largely been neglected in recent years. Starring the foul-mouthed red squirrel, the new content will follow the story of Conker's Bad Fur Day ten years after the events of the original game. Appropriately titled 'Conker's Big Reunion', the new DLC will be episodic in nature and revolve around the has-been rodent as he prepares to meet up with all of his old chums.
Being spearheaded by Team Dakota – the dev responsible for Project Spark itself – there appears to have been a solid amount of attention paid to making the downloadable content feel as close to a legitimate sequel as possible – at least, the creative director behind Conker's Big Reunion, Henry Sterchi, certainly makes it sound like the content will be well worth the wait.
"We currently don’t have our ESRB rating back so we’re not sure, but the focus was to be true to the Conker spirit. This meant self-deprecating humor, jokes referencing the original, game jokes and parodies, partying, some adult language, acting quite silly, a bit of violence, and a lot of poo of course. Conker has always had a wit to the humor and we focused a bit more on the layered joke approach this go around, but there’s definitely some shock value moments and a bunch of “I can’t believe he/they just said that” types of laughs."
With the help of Rare and the return of Conker's original voice actor, Chris Seavor, Sterchi made it seem like this episodic content may well keep hungry fans entertained.
"When the opportunity for Conker came up, we reached out [to Rare] and shared our general plan to make sure we were on the right track."
"As we got near E3, we knew we needed the original Conker, so we reached out to Chris Seavor, who was no longer at Rare. When we shared the plan and showed him what Project Spark was, he was excited to bring in Conker. Rare gave us all the original assets we’ve needed, including the original music. Pretty much everything from tone, to scenarios, to music, etc. Rare has given feedback and help all along the way, it’s been tremendous. They really care immensely about the characters and giving them to the fans to create with."
Despite the fact that Project Spark DLC likely wasn't the way longstanding Rare fans would have liked to see Conker return, the full-fledged commitment to episodic content (coupled with Rare's influence and the return of the series' original voice actor) show that Team Dakota is gung-ho about pleasing fans of Bad Fur Day.
Of course, the main premise of Project Spark is to give players the tools to create their own adventures and gamers will will be given just that. An upcoming add-on featuring a large number of the assets utilized within Conker's Big Reunion will be made available to users, but will cost them a currently unknown sum of money. Everything ranging from characters to classic music and more will be available in the initial pack, which could very well encourage players to check out the creation-fueled game.
Admittedly, it would have been rather enjoyable to see what the rumored Insomniac Games take on Conker would have been, but this is still an interesting alternative nonetheless. With the Battletoads appearing in Shovel Knight, however, it looks as if Rare's classic properties are finally finding a home (at least in some capacity) on Microsoft's latest hardware.
The first Project Spark add-on featuring Conker will be made available on Xbox One and PC on April 23, 2015.