For the decades that have followed since Conker was first belched onto the Nintendo 64, serving us the second most provocative figure of the decade behind only the magical fairies in Ocarina of Time, the screwed-up squirrel has been milked for everything this side of a new game. Project Spark ran him through a weird, processed ringer to shovel that creation suite, the OG Xbox saw a remake that did the original justice, and both sides of the Rare sword have sported the name on a banner for extra funds in their respective ways.
So, in the spirit of Conker himself, f*ck it. Here’s a better idea for bringing the hellion back into the hands of players than anyone else has come up with in years.
Take the Personality of Conker’s Bad Fur Day…
As rote as Conker may sound in a summary, no one has his slant on the popular culture flipbook he was forced to endure. He wanted none of anyone. He was hungover, tired, and had his sights set on home and his bunny girlfriend until a parade of jerks stood in his way and a king wanted to use him for a table leg – a troubling scenario that haunts me to this day. He was full of one-liners and never let an unusual situation pass by without comment.
While no game in the world is more dated than Conker’s Bad Fur day at this point, the conceptual organ grinder of popular culture is an approach no major game today takes and would be hugely welcome. What felt missing from the latest Rare-like Yooka-Laylee was a distinct personality and mirrored relations to some sort of current-day trend. Banjo-Kazooie lucked into this with being so close, in more than one way, to Super Mario 64, but Conker was a skewer straight to the heart of whacky late 90s trends. I’d love to see his take on all the tropes of the last two decades in all areas of entertainment.
Throw in the Gameplay of Persona…
What better showcase of that personality than putting it into one of the most stringent rule sets around? The day-to-day framing of Persona’s gameplay would help break up the barrage of Conker into digestible bites right off the bat. Day and night would serve as natural bookends and the passing of time would open up continued revisits to comedic wells without feeling forced by the halfway point.
The satire, while a sweet nectar, wasn’t the driving force behind the original Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Not unlike Persona, the characters drive the main screws hard into your funny bone. In a game where Conker was allowed to roam and see the daily shenanigans of the paint can as he, say, looks for a slightly less depressed best friend, or what exactly Berri does during the day besides suggestive yoga. The side quests could run for days and weeks at a time in this setup, giving the development team a lot of potential folds and wrinkles to play around with per character.
The associated dungeons would be represented by levels that Conker could bring his crowd to via the local VR Bar. It’s a simple conceit that leaves the gameplay as open-ended as Bad Fur Day with the objective remaining as simple as ever: get that bastard money. As the game progresses, different elements can be brought in that raise the stakes; Conker can infiltrate a fortified house, then have to get away from police, then pull off the ultimate heist, slaying down each of those popular scenarios as he goes.
I hope you read at least a few of these sentences in a cockney accent, as I did. If so, do me the honor of deeming this gaming idea…brilliant!