Conker’s Bad Fur Day remains a one-of-a-kind event in video game history for breaking all the rules. In an era of perfectly polished, heavily marketed game heroes, the story was just that a drunken squirrel wandered around, stumbling into elaborate parodies. Mario stomped, Sonic spun, Spyro breathed fire, but Conker attacked by drinking too much beer and urinating on his enemies. You get the idea — everything ABOUT video games at the turn of the century was turned inside-out here. To this day nobody’s made anything like it again, mainly because when Microsoft bought Rare they just remade the original game and made it worse.
During last year’s E3 presentation, Conker made an extremely brief appearance in a video that was more about Project Spark, Microsoft’s upcoming game creation software for XBox One and Windows 8.1. Reaction was hostile: that was seriously all we got? MS seemed to be saying, “We give up, just make your own Conker sequel.”
Now we know a bit more. While Conker-related assets will be included in Project Spark, there will also be a standalone Conker adventure that will take place in multiple parts. Titled “Conker’s Big Reunion,” the first chapter will be available along with Project Spark itself and will take about an hour to play through.
If you think Conker’s modern visage looks a bit creepy here, you’re not alone. Maybe that’s the point — little kids will run away screaming, leaving the grown-ups to play the game. The big question is how close they’re going to be able to get to the flavor of the original. They’ve been able to track down a few people who worked on the original BFD, including Conker’s voice actor Chris Seavor, but not a lot. They brag they got a guy who was a tester on the original. That’s not a good sign.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day had a unique voice that’s going to be next to impossible to duplicate, especially for an American developer. Not only was it very sophomoric and disorganized but it was the most blatantly British product Rare ever put out. Accents were not Americanized and UK-centric slang like “sod off” was freely used without worry US ears wouldn’t get it.
Trying to ape a creation that’s the unique product of someone else usually doesn’t feel right in the end. But I would say the most important part of a Conker sequel is that you should be able to feel how much fun the designers had making the game. If they keep that in mind, they might not be able to make a flawless sequel, but they could make something that at least feels like Conker. (If there isn’t a Game of Thrones parody at some point in this, they’re not doing the job right.)