The character of Donkey Kong was forever changed by Rare’s 1994 landmark game Donkey Kong Country. The sleeker redesign by British software developers, working with extremely young CGI technology, became DK’s look henceforth. The game had a built-in excuse for the change in appearance: The goofy-looking ape we saw in the arcades was now Cranky Kong, and the new DK was his son/grandson (depending on the game).
But imagine if that hadn’t happened? What if Rare had simply used the original big grinning gorilla Miyamoto drew back at the dawn of the 80s? We think the results would’ve looked something like this:
YouTuber Spacepig22 crated this fake demo using a CG-rendered representation of the original DK drawings. DK Junior replaces Diddy Kong. His models fit in so well that I was convinced he’d hacked new sprites into the game. Turns out it’s an elaborate repaste using Photoshop and After Effects, as he told Nintendo Life:
– First I researched DK’s old design from arcade cabinets and the gameboy game.
– Using that design, I created a 3D model using Maya. I tried to make the models as 90’s as possible, so the arms are two separate objects that overlap at the elbow, and the fingers are separate from the hands, and the fur is a fractal texture (just like in the original DKC).
– Then I animated the models, and rendered sprites at a large size, because rendering it at a small size made it blurry.
– I took those renders into Photoshop, and shrank them down so the idle animations were around 40×40 pixels each (since that seemed to be the average size of both original idle animations). The blending mode was set to nearest neighbor to prevent it from getting blurry.
– Photoshop has this neat feature under Images, Mode, Indexed Color, where you can limit any image to a certain amount of colors. So I took the renders and I limited them to only use the 16 colors (15 colors, 1 invisible) from Donkey Kong’s color palette in the game.
– Then I just had to put them into After Effects and edit them into the video. Also, if you do this for yourself, I learned that After Effects doesn’t like indexed colors, so after you index the colors, set the file back to RBG, and everything will work perfectly.
And that’s how you fake an alternate-universe Donkey Kong Country game.