Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Donkey Kong Almost Looked A Lot Different

The Donkey Kong Nintendo fans know and love almost looked a lot different, according to concept art shared by former Rare employee Kev Bayliss.

Kev Bayliss took to YouTube on January 19, 2021, to show longtime Nintendo fans the original artwork for some beloved Donkey Kong characters, including the lead gorilla. In the video, viewers can see the original Donkey Kong design from Mr. Miyamoto himself


The original character lacked the muscle and sinister smirk that Donkey Kong has nowadays and, in general, seemed much more approachable.

Bayliss shows his own sketch for Donkey Kong and says that the design was "quite boxy because [they] wanted him to sit well in a 3D platforming environment." At the beginning of the video, Bayliss explains that these Donkey Kong sketches were created for Donkey Kong Country, a Nintendo 64 title.

Using Donkey Kong in a platforming game meant changing his design, according to Bayliss. At the time, Bayliss worked with Rare, the developer behind the early Donkey Kong games. While Rare is now known as an Xbox developing group, the organization worked closely with Nintendo until 2002 and assisted on various projects, including the Donkey Kong games.


In Donkey Kong, the first game to feature the prime ape himself, he was the villain. However, Donkey Kong Country uses Donkey Kong as a main character along with his sidekick Diddy Kong. It's not always clear if Donkey Kong is on the good side or the bad side in various Mario titles, but his design has stayed pretty consistent after his first appearance.

Bayliss goes through the video showing other characters such as Rambi and the Kremlings. The YouTube channel, DK Creations Ltd., includes content from Bayliss and David Wise, who also worked on Rare games. Together, the two create content that focuses on different tutorials and reviews of video game-related things.

Between Super Smash Bros and new titles of his own, Donkey Kong is a staple character in the Mario franchise today. In fact, Mario can be traced back to the original Donkey Kong game, where the Nintendo mascot made his first appearance. In Donkey Kong, Mario was introduced as the hero fighting for his first love (who, in case you didn't know, isn't Peach).

While the villain and the love interest have changed, Mario still fights for the same goal in his newest 3D title, Super Mario Odyssey. Donkey Kong's presence had a part in creating Nintendo's biggest mascot, Mario.