One of the lesser-known facts about GDC, particularly in the wake of the new Skyward Sword trailer, Ocarina of Time 3D release window, and Mario 3DS announcement, was that Retro Studios held a discussion panel about their work on Donkey Kong Country Returns. During the panel, titled “Donkey Kong: Swinging Across Oceans,” they talked a lot about stuff that hasn’t been said to the public yet, including that the foreground-background shifts were inspired by Wario Land for the Virtual Boy and that they actually first presented the idea of making a new Donkey Kong game prior to the development of Metroid Prime 3. Check out the rest of the tidbits below.
- The team had a hard time shifting from the gritty sci-fi style of the Prime games to the “fun and whimsical” style of Donkey Kong
- The tidal wave level was extremely difficult to program. The developers joked about it taking “months”… or “years”
- Retro developers look up to Miyamoto as “Master Yoda.” Apparently he told the team that “Donkey Kong is my baby and you had better get it right!”
- Super Guide proved to be a good asset for bugtesting
- When players backtracked to the left the team found that more bugs arose. They joked about including an instruction in the manual that told players to only run to the right
- Iwata was apparently really looking forward to playing the game with his family. Retro asked him whether they enjoyed it afterwards, and Iwata reported that they had!
- The “blow” mechanic came from an offhand comment made by Shigeru Miyamoto while he was playing around with the running animation
- Between E3 2010 and the game’s release date they had to finish more than 70 levels!