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Rare’s Cancelled N64 Project Dinosaur Planet Originally Starred The “Cute Tiger” From Diddy Kong Racing


Kev's initial sketch for Star Fox Adventures
Kev’s initial sketch for Star Fox Adventures (Image: Kevin Bayliss via VGC)

Last weekend, Rare’s cancelled Nintendo 64 project Dinosaur Planet was leaked online. It surprised many, including Kevin Bayliss – a former Rare employee who now works at Playtonic Games.

With all the memories flooding back, in his words over on VGC, Kev has now revealed how the original star of the game was actually intended to be Timber the Tiger from Diddy Kong Racing. Timber was also meant to be the face of R.C. Pro-Am 64 (before it was changed to DKR).

“After finishing work on Diddy Kong Racing in 1998, I started work on a project that was to become a 3D adventure game based in a fantasy style world, similar to that of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time but in a prehistoric environment.

“The main character was originally going to be – believe it or not – Timber, the cute tiger from Diddy Kong Racing.”

Bayliss goes onto explain how Timber would have been a “time travelling tiger with a rucksack, little fingerless gloves, [and] a baseball cap” in Dinosaur Planet, who had a small dinosaur for a sidekick.

Timber the Tiger as seen in Diddy Kong Racing
Timber the Tiger as seen in Diddy Kong Racing (Image: Fandom)

This instead followed with Rare making the main character a wolf known as Sabre (get it?) and eventually talks with Nintendo led to it becoming a new entry in Star Fox series – transforming the entire game.

“After rethinking the design a little, it was decided to change Dinosaur Planet’s main character to a wolf (Sabre), and also to include a 2nd playable character (Krystal), each with different abilities. At this point, there were no comparisons drawn with Fox Mcloud, and it never even crossed my mind that there was already a very popular “Star’ fox out there in a universe of his own.”

“Apparently, NCL were very impressed with what they had seen of the game and so during the show we met and discussed the possibility of a ‘marriage’ between the “Star Fox” and “Dinosaur Planet” IPs to create something really special. The idea was to create Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet (as it was initially known) for the N64, but of course we eventually ended up transferring to GameCube as that platform released.”

If you would like to learn more about the history of Dinosaur Planet, you can read Kev’s full story over on VGC. We’ve also got our own story featuring the Lead Software Engineer.

How do you feel about Timber missing out? Would you have been up for this character becoming a lead character? Leave a comment down below.





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