Xbox Game Studios (2005-)
|Platform(s)||Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, Xbox, Microsoft HoloLens|
|First release||Conker's Pocket Tales|
8 June 1999
|Latest release||Conker: Live & Reloaded|
21 June 2005
Conker is a series of platform video games created by Rare. It chronicles the events of Conker the Squirrel, a fictional anthropomorphic red squirrel that made his debut as a playable character in Diddy Kong Racing. Despite the first game in the series deemed by the ESRB family-friendly and geared towards children, Rare included enough strong bloody graphic violence, sexual innuendos, swearing, toilet humor, and several film parodies to alert the ESRB to give a M-rating.
- Conker's Pocket Tales (1999) - Nintendo Game Boy Color
- Conker's Bad Fur Day (2001) - Nintendo 64
- Conker: Live & Reloaded (2005) - Microsoft Xbox
- Young Conker (2016) - Microsoft HoloLens
Conker was introduced to the world for the first time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 1997. His game Conker's Quest was presented by Rare as another 3D platformer aimed at a young audience for the Nintendo 64. Later the same year, this fact was confirmed with Conker's inclusion in Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64, thus promoting his future games. In the spring of 1998, Conker's Quest was renamed Twelve Tales: Conker 64. In 1999, Conker made his first solo debut in Conker's Pocket Tales for the Game Boy Color.
Before its release, the Nintendo 64 game was deemed too similar to Banjo-Kazooie, another platformer from Rare by fans of Banjo-Kazooie, and its release date was pushed back almost a year while it underwent a complete transformation, eventually being released in 2001 as Conker's Bad Fur Day. The redesigned game alerted the ESRB with enough sexual content, foul language, drug and alcohol usage, and excessive violence. According to Rare co-founder Chris Stamper, "When people grow up on games, they don't stop playing. There aren't games for people who grew up on the early systems", explaining the change. The game suffered from relatively poor sales, but received a cult following with its unique brand of humor.
After the release of Conker's Bad Fur Day, Rare began development of a new Conker game referred to as Conker's Other Bad Day. Designer Chris Seavor said that it was to be a direct sequel dealing with "Conker's somewhat unsuccessful tenure as King. He spends all the treasury money on beer, parties and hookers. Thrown into prison, Conker is faced with the prospect of execution and the game starts with his escape, ball and chain attached, from the Castle's highest tower." It was never confirmed which console Conker's Other Bad Day was for, though, it was most likely meant for the Nintendo Gamecube as with Donkey Kong Racing and Banjo Threeie. In 2002, Microsoft purchased Rare from Nintendo, so instead of finishing and releasing the game, Rare remade Conker's Bad Fur Day for the Xbox in 2005, renaming it Conker: Live & Reloaded. It features improved graphics and minor alterations to gameplay. Also included was a new multiplayer adaptation that was available for use over Xbox Live. After Live & Reloaded, Rare started development on Conker: Gettin' Medieval, an online multiplayer third-person shooter game, but it was ultimately cancelled.
At E3 2014, Conker was announced as a character in Project Spark. In 2015, it was announced that Conker would return in a new episodic campaign for Project Spark. The campaign, titled Conker's Big Reunion, is set ten years after the events of Bad Fur Day and Seavor reprises his voice role. The first episode was released on 23 April 2015 for Project Spark; however, before any more additional episodes could be made, Project Spark's online services were shut down and the game was abandoned. In 2015, Conker's Bad Fur Day was included in the Rare Replay video game compilation for Xbox One.
Despite receiving many fan requests for it, director Chris Seavor stated in 2015 that a sequel to Bad Fur Day was very unlikely to happen if he and the old team were the only ones to make it; the reason being his embarrassment with the game's shock value.
In 2016, Microsoft announced Young Conker as the next installment into the series, released exclusively for the Microsoft HoloLens. The trailer was released in February. The trailer received extremely negative reviews from the public, with many complaining that it lacked the humour and overall style of its predecessors. The trailer received over 30,000 dislikes against just over 1,000 likes. A petition was created to cancel the game's release. Some video game critics and general YouTube commentators have opted to boycotting the game.
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