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Why N64's Conker's Bad Fur Day Never Got A Sequel

There are few things more disappointing to a gamer than highly anticipated games that, despite the hype, never come out. It's an all-too-common part of the industry that can happen for a variety of reasons — "P.T." was a playable teaser for "Silent Hills" before Konami and Hideo Kojima parted ways, for example — but it's rarer for a direct sequel to be announced, enter development, then suddenly be canceled. That's exactly what happened with "Conker's Other Bad Day," the planned sequel to the Nintendo 64 classic "Conker's Bad Fur Day."

"Conker's Bad Fur Day" is in a league all on its own as one of the only M-rated games available on the Nintendo 64. Nowadays it's considered one of the most beloved games of the N64 era, even with all of its crudeness and mature themes. Despite its low sales and criticism that it made jokes that went over the line for a cartoony N64 game, it's now one of Rare's most well-known games. Development on a sequel began almost immediately after it was released, and everything was going well for a short while. The team had a developed vision of where to take the story, the world, and gameplay, but the best-laid plans of mice and men — and belligerent drunken squirrels — often go awry.

A lot of what we know about Conker's Other Bad Day comes from his voice actor

In an interview from 2008 with Rare fansite MundoRare, Conker voice actor Chris Seavor confirmed the sequel rumors that had been brewing for years, and he said it would have followed the squirrel in his ill-fated tenure as King. "He spends all the treasury money on beer, parties, and hookers," Seavor said. "Thrown into prison, Conker is faced with the prospect of execution, and the game starts with his escape, ball and chain attached, from the Castle's highest tower." He didn't get into specifics, but it wouldn't be the last time Seavor talked about the canceled project.

In a series of posts from April to May 2019, he revealed what could have been with behind-the-scenes designs, concept art, and story details for "Conker's Other Bad Day." The game would have featured a more jaded, expletive-laden, cynical Conker, and it would have brought back Berri from "Conker's Pocket Tales," a GameBoy Color game that was marketed to kids rather than adults. The story was nearly complete, as was the layout of the world, and all of its zones and sub-zones. The hubs and levels would have been totally new, but there were plans to continue with the specific references to movies from the first game.

So what happened to the sequel, if all this effort went into its development? Well, according to Seavor and others who worked on "Conker's Bad Fur Day," it mostly came down to Microsoft's acquisition of Rare — a major turning point for the game development company, and not necessarily in a good way.

The squeakuel was canceled after Microsoft bought Rare in 2002 and set the studio on other projects

When it first began making games, Rare was known for classics like "Donkey Kong Country," "Banjo Kazooie," and "Diddy Kong Racing," the latter of which introduced Conker for the first time in a more family-friendly role than he had in "Bad Fur Day." In 2002, Microsoft bought Rare for $375 million and set the game development company to work on Xbox Exclusives aimed at younger audiences. This, of course, meant an end to the controversial side of Conker as fans knew it. "Conker" wasn't the only franchise affected by the acquisition, as "Banjo Threeie" all but disappeared after Rare moved on to other projects.

According to an IGN interview with former Rare employee Donnchadh Murphy, "it seemed that [Microsoft] wouldn't interfere much, but it was soon clear that they were more interested in using Rare to help aim at a younger market." He went on to say that not being able to make mature games was a "real blow" to creativity at Rare. Rare went on to make "Perfect Dark Zero," "Viva Pinata," and other Xbox exclusives, but it didn't quite reach the heights of the N64 era for a long time — at least, not until its resurgence with the release of "Sea of Thieves."

It might not all be over for "Conker's Other Bad Day" yet, at least not for his voice actor. In his 2012 interview, Seavor said that if Microsoft approached him with the prospect of doing another "Conker" game, he would be "more than happy to oblige."