Rare has released footage of Dream, the cancelled SNES and later N64 RPG that eventually inspired Banjo-Kazooie.
It’s always fascinating to look back at games that might have been. Last month, we saw a Minecraft-styled GameCube project from a former Rare developer. But Rare worked on Dream: Land of Giants, a Super Nintendo RPG built with Donkey Kong Country‘s graphics and visuals. The project eventually fell through as the Nintendo 64 era picked up steam, but it’s not a total loss – without Dream, we might never have played the excellent Banjo-Kazooie.
Dream was originally an isometric RPG set in a land of pirates, monsters, and dinosaurs. It was intended to be a fairy-tale styled adventure, where a young boy and his dog explored a fantasy world and overcame various challenges. It had many intriguing elements – my favorite being the giant dinosaur leg stomping through the trees – but Rare did struggle with making its protagonist as interesting as Dream‘s animal companion.
Eventually the Nintendo 64 arrived, and Rare decided to bring Dream to this new system instead. The fantasy elements were toned down, emphasizing a more serious pirate world players could explore. Rare even experimented with turning its protagonist into an anthropomorphic bear. But Dream still felt too ambitious for the technology Rare was working with at the time.
You can probably guess where this story goes from here. Super Mario 64 launched, and Rare decided 3D platformers were a much better direction to follow. Much of Dream‘s content was shelved, but developers still loved the designs of their bear protagonist. A new game was built around this character, his companion became a backpack-dwelling bird, and Banjo-Kazooie was born. It’s a shame Dream was never completed, but given Banjo-Kazooie‘s success it all turned out for the best. And Rare still got to work on a pirate game, Sea of Thieves, due to launch next year.
Would you have enjoyed Dream had it launched for the SNES or N64? Share your thoughts in the comments!