You might not be familiar with the game known as Dinosaur Planet and it wouldn’t be surprising or shameful. The game was never released, at least not in the way it was intended, but its history and impact are elements of the game’s development stories. The 3D RPG originally intended for the Nintendo 64 was only a footnote in gaming history, but thanks to the hard work of conservationists, it is now possible to catch a peek at what has become an important part of the Star Fox series. But not always in good ways.
Developed by Rare, Dinosaur Planet is most famous for his work on Donkey Kong and Banjo Kazooie, and it was supposed to be the N64 title that was supposed to stand on its own and was heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda Zelda: Ocarina of Time. However, development was halted and eventually became Star Fox Adventures, which was actually criticized for Zelda-like game mechanics rather than Star Fox’s traditional gameplay. Dinosaur Planet has disappeared into the annals of history, and is never heard of again, at least until today.
Conservative video game advocates in Forest of Illusion released a build from Dinosaur Planet before it turned into Star Fox Adventures. It even shows a screenshot of Fox McCloud, which was originally unrelated to the game. According to legend, it was Shigeru Miyamoto who pushed to change Dinosaur Planet into GameCube to incorporate the popular vulpine game, and eventually turn it into a fully Star Fox game.
Forest of Illusion notes that the game may not work 100% with emulators but it does work well with flashcards. John Linneman of Digital Foundry was able to validate this “version” and was even able to showcase some gameplay footage.
For those curious, this Dinosaur Planet version didn’t come from the massive Nintendo hack last year. Forest of Illusion explains that it was able to purchase the construction disc from a private collector instead. Given that it is not a finished game, the team says it will require some hacking in order to be able to play the game to the end.