Nintendo’s famous ape has seen quite a bit of the limelight in the last two Nintendo console generations. Donkey Kong Country Returns was a massive hit on the Wii (and 3DS) and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze could likely be one of the best 2D platformers the Wii U ever saw. In an interview with Time Magazine Reggie might have spilled the beans on one of their next Donkey Kong projects.
The interview revolves around the launch of Super Mario Odyssey and gets to the point that they ask just what it is they’re doing so right for their various franchises in this generation (pointing out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey) when this happens:
TIME: Two of the Switch’s biggest games, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, are significant re-imaginings of those franchises. Both add aspects that were never possible before and revamp core gameplay elements. Why is now the right time to be rethinking those series?
Reggie Fils-Aimé: I think what you highlight with Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey is certainly that the way those games have reimagined the intellectual property (IP) is different. I would say that Breath of the Wild is a dramatic departure from the conventions of a Zelda game. And the producer Mr. [Eiji] Aonuma said three years ago that was his vision. The fact that you could go anywhere [and] attack quests and shrines in any order you want, that was his vision.
With Odyssey, we have had other sandbox experiences for Mario in the past: Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. What’s different here is the breadth of kingdoms, the Cappy mechanic, and so yes a departure, but maybe not as radical. But with the mentality of creating an experience that the player says, ‘Wow, I’ve never done that before with a Mario game.’ That’s what we try to do. Whether it’s with a Metroid experience or a Donkey Kong experience, we’re constantly looking to push the envelope on the IP versus doing sequential small iterations with a particular franchise.
As you can see he was not asked a single thing about Donkey Kong and brought it up as a franchise that might see a new take on the formula. Now, we know about Metroid Prime 4, but could it mean that this could be the first Donkey Kong 3D game since the N64 days? Time will tell. For the time being this is a genuine rumour and should be treated that way.