There has been a lot of talk from Microsoft, particularly Phil Spencer, recently about how they want to build up the Xbox’s line-up of exclusives; Spencer has specifically mentioned Nintendo as an example of what they’re hoping to eventually be like. I think this is a fantastic direction for Microsoft to go in; the reason Nintendo has lasted so long is because of the amount of classic series they have and keep bringing to gamers. If Microsoft wants the Xbox to live as long as Nintendo they’ll need some more iconic franchises. Microsoft has already started down this path by investing in new IPs like ReCore, Sea of Thieves and Scalebound; however, Microsoft also has a decent sized library of IPs they can go back to and revive to make the Xbox stand out even more. Last week we discussed the potential return of Banjo-Kazooie, this week we’re talking about another classic Rare series… Conker.
Conker is a series that Microsoft has shown recent interest in with Conker appearing in Project Spark and in the Hololens game/abomination Young Conker; but they’re seemingly refusing to give gamers what they really want, a sequel to Conker’s Bad Fur Day/Conker: Live and Reloaded. Since Live and Reloaded was a remake, Conker’s only had one unique adventure and that just isn’t right; Conker’s Bad Fur Day is a gaming cult classic and it deserves a full sequel.
It’s odd that Microsoft hasn’t made a new Conker game since Live and Reloaded on the original Xbox, but perhaps it’s because Microsoft doesn’t see the audience that the character/game could have despite it being right infront of their faces. The game’s mature tone fits in with the more teen/adult oriented nature that the Xbox brand has become associated with. A new Conker game could be a big hit this crowd if it was marketed right and shows that Conker isn’t as cute as he looks. If we take a look at film and comics we can see that characters similar to Conker are pretty big right now. Cutesy characters who are the opposite of how they look like Ted and Rocket Raccoon are big hits starring in blockbuster films, these characters are rude and foul mouthed much like Conker. So obviously this type of character is currently popular.
Perhaps the biggest character who’s the most similar to Conker is Deadpool. The crude, humorous 4th wall breaking character (all attributes that Conker have) originally started off as a cult favorite character but has recently exploded in popularity due to his recent movie. Some even think that Conker’s treatment in Young Conker is similar to Deadpool’s treatment in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, if Deadpool can get a perfect comeback then so can Conker! Audiences love Deadpool and the character seems to be what people are looking for right now, so who’s to say Conker wouldn’t get a similar reaction if he were to return to the world of gaming?
Conker creators, Rare, currently have their hands full with development of Sea of Thieves, so Microsoft would have to find a new developer to make a new Conker game. My choice would be Team Dakota, the people behind Project Spark. The Conker expansion they made for Project Spark wasn’t perfect but it was fun while it lasted, the biggest fault with it was that the mini-game was held back by being created in Project Spark instead of being its own game; however, I feel that Team Dakota have a good grip on the character and could make a true Conker game if given the chance. It also seems like development on Project Spark is done with, so the team needs a new project and Conker is right up their alley since they already have experience with the series.
A sequel to Conker’s Bad Fur Day should be a full on parody of gaming in the past decade; Conker’s been gone for a long time and he probably has a lot to say about what’s been going on in gaming. This could lead to a game that is full of unique gameplay that always keeps you on your toes by adding new gameplay elements. Platforming would be the core of game’s mechanics but the parodies could add additional elements to levels that make then unique and avoid repetiveness; the original game did this in the form of parodying movies like The Matrix but I feel like changing the focus to gaming would lead to a more unique experience.
A new Conker sequel should also include updated versions of the multiplayer from both Bad Fur Day and Live and Reloaded; the single player of both games were the same, but the multiplayer was pretty different. There seems to be a rift in the fan base about which multiplayer experience was better, so why not include both and make a new game Conker full of content?
Despite being in only one full game, Conker has become an iconic character; people’s love for the character hasn’t died and they’re still clamoring for a new game in the series. A new Conker game would finally make these people happy as well as adding a potentially very unique game to the Xbox’s lineup of exclusives. Plus, Microsoft needs to prove they know what they’re doing because Young Conker makes them seem incompetent and like they’re purposely trying anger fans. Here’s hoping that Conker in Project Spark and Young Conker were just warm up sessions and we’ll be getting a new game soon.