Is Nintendo Planning to Revitalize the Donkey Kong Franchise with an Ambitious Open-World Game?

Nintendo fans have been eagerly awaiting news about a new Donkey Kong game, and a recent rumor claims that an open-world 3D game is in development.

According to reports, the game has been in the works since at least 2016, when Vicarious Visions, the developers behind the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, were working on it.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the renowned Nintendo designer and director, was involved in the project and contributed design ideas. However, for various reasons, the project was shelved, and development shifted over to EPD Tokyo in 2018.

Rethinking the Franchise with a New Open-World Game?

The confusion surrounding the new Donkey Kong game is that everyone assumes it will be a 2D platformer, but the game that was in development prior to the shift was a 3D open-world game.

Despite some minor details, such as Pauline being a playable character, not much else is known about the cancelled project. However, the recent rumor suggests that the new game could be a complete rethinking of the franchise and its conventions, serving as the big ape’s Breath of the Wild moment.

The Release Aimed at Nintendo Switch 2

Nintendo Prime, a known insider, claims that an open-world Donkey Kong game is in the works and could launch on the eventual successor to the Switch. The project was initially developed by Vicarious Visions before moving in-house to be worked on at Nintendo around 2017 or 2018.

Many of the team members working on the game are said to have come off from the Mario group to develop the title.

The game is reportedly titled “Donkey Kong Freedom,” but it’s not known if this was ever an official name. The gameplay supposedly takes place in an open world and would allow Donkey Kong to slide on trees to get around, similar to Tarzan. Miyamoto is also said to have been heavily involved in the project.

Nintendo Prime claims to have seen roughly 40 seconds of footage from the Donkey Kong project, which showed Donkey Kong running around a jungle environment, somewhat similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, it’s unlikely that this footage will ever be released as it would showcase the person who leaked it.

It’s worth noting that this is still just a rumor, and fans should take everything with a grain of salt until Nintendo confirms it. Till then, we will make sure to keep you updated on all developments as new information becomes available. If you want to learn about some of the best games on Nintendo Switch, check out our guide here.


Muhammad Qasim

Qasim's deep love for technology and gaming drives him to not only stay up-to-date on the latest developments but also to share his informed perspectives with others through his writing. Whether through this or other endeavors, he is committed to sharing his expertise and making a meaningful contribution to the world of tech and gaming.