Not Enough Shaders has conducted interviews with the three founders of Crash Lab – Steve Ellis, Martin Wakeley and Lee Musgrave. All three worked at Rare for a lengthy period of time.
Some of the more important tidbits from the interview can be found below. There’s a lot of talk about rumors from the past, cancelled projects, and more.
- Crash Lab is interested in any device that makes sense for games
- Free Radical was working on TimeSplitters 2 HD in 2008
- Jet for Gemini for the Game Boy Color was being worked on by Bits Studios
- Rare never worked on a Timber 64 game
- Pro-Am64, which featured Timber, turned into Diddy Kong Racing
- Rare’s move to keep its handheld division was made so that the team would be experienced if Microsoft ever made a handheld
- DS team essentially phased out since resources were needed for Xbox/Xbox 360 games
Musgrave on Donkey Kong Racing…
“Ha! – yes, I made that video! . . . Donkey Kong Racing was obviously pretty heavily tied to Nintendo as a franchise, and as Rare approached the finalization of a buyout deal with Microsoft it was clear that the game had no future, at least with the ape’s as characters. We switched it around to be a Sabreman game, and there was a great early Xbox prototype – but someone, somewhere decreed that it was a little too old-school for the kind of ‘revolutionary gaming experiences’ that the Xbox was capable of delivering, and so it started down a path of meandering changes, updates and ‘evolution’ that finally saw it run out of steam and fall over. There were some great ideas in the game as it developed though, and I still look back to the early racing game design and think we could have done something great with that.”
Musgrave on Donkey Kong Racing’s gameplay…
“It was a pure racing game, the underlying software mechanics were actually based on car physics, but it also incorporated the idea of riders jumping between different animals mid-race, to always be riding the ones that were bigger or faster . . . we had some awesome gameplay in place, and it was lots of fun – we even had a multiplayer version working – and when you fell off, you had to tap-tap-tap (HyperSports style) to run on foot and catch up with an animal. Fun, but it lost some appeal without the DK universe around it, and Microsoft were unsure of its potential with Xbox gamers I think.”
Be sure to check out all of the interviews here. There’s lots of interesting stuff!
Thanks to John Stemen for the tip.