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Conker's Public Address

Hi. It's me - Conker. No, really, it's me. None of those lazy sleazebags on the team that's making my game would agree to write this thing, so I'm stuck doing it myself. Unbelievable in this day and age when there's, like, 600 people or something per team - and they've even got the nerve to say they're all "too busy". Yes, they've only got a few months left to get absolutely everything in the game finished, but that's not the point. You don't mess with your star like this. There'll be some heads rolling when the game goes through certification next year, I don't mind telling you.

Let's see then, might as well get it over with. Little bit of history first. As many of you may not know, because half of you probably weren't even born till the mid-1990s plus it's something I don't really talk about these days, yours truly made his first appearance in Diddy Kong Racing on the N64 way back in 1997. Things were different back then, you know, I was different - it goes without saying that you wouldn't catch me hanging out with any of those freaks these days. Last I heard at least one of 'em was in jail, anyway. Still, the game did pretty well, and a couple of years later I got my own little Game Boy Color spin-off in Conker's Pocket Tales... again, lots of super-happy stuff about collecting presents and all that, but like I said, I was young and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Sue me. I got a Ferrari out of it, who's complaining?

Anyway, the first appearance for the real me, the one all the important people know and love, came in 2001 with Conker's Bad Fur Day, one of the N64's last titles and - to hell with modesty - one of the best. I really did the business in that one. Shame about the ending. I told them, people won't like all that gloomy existential rubbish, you should just have me driving off into the sunset with a massive bag of cash and a car full of women. But did they listen? Ha! Their loss. (Though now I come to think of it, one of the game ideas they started playing about with after BFD was suspiciously similar... sheesh, if they didn't want to work with me any more, they could have just said.)

But on the whole, you know, the game was good enough to deserve a bigger audience than it got at the time. It brought in some fantastic press and public feedback, but there just weren't enough people left playing N64s (who wanted a Mature-rated platformer full of swearing, violence and giant monsters made of feces) by the time my Bad Fur Day actually happened. So here we go again on the Xbox, looking a lot more swanky - they've finally got the fur right this time, for a start - and with a whole new Live multiplayer section bolted on. Well, I say 'bolted on', if you listen to the team then the multiplayer stuff is at least equal to and probably more important than the revamped Bad Fur Day section, but they're obviously exaggerating. And I'm not just saying that because I don't really play much of a part in the multiplayer stuff. No, that's fine by me - it's not really my scene anyway. From my own experiences with online 'contacts' I can tell you they're never what you expect them to be. It's a sinister world out there, especially that sicko who claimed to be one of LA's highest-paid pole dancers but turned out to be a middle-aged - and he had a big - no, I don't even want to remember that.

Anyway. The game that would become Conker: Live & Reloaded eventually got off the ground in 2002. It almost didn't happen: after finishing Bad Fur Day, members of the team either moved onto other projects or started tinkering with ideas for new games, and when those ideas didn't make it into full development, they ended up drifting back to me for support like I always knew they would. I'm like an emotional crutch for them. It's kind of sad. Core members of the BFD team had already been spending some time redoing assets for "another bite at the apple", as they say, and this graduated into a full-blown next-gen outing for yours truly round about the same time that the MS acquisition was finalized.

It wasn't a coincidence, as the Xbox had two features that made it a far more inviting system on which to relaunch the franchise, it says here: the all-important older demographic, and some hardcore multiplayer support to let my fans get online and shoot some of those Californian perverts in the head. Unlike some of Rare's other games that have ended up or will yet end up on the Xbox, this one was destined for the system from day one, so the online side of things was always going to be a major factor.

Basically Live & Reloaded is, and always has been, two games in one box. You've got the Live multiplayer stuff, and the Reloaded version of Bad Fur Day with all those little audiovisual creases ironed out. Actually they're a lot more than ironed out, as the whole fundamental look and sound of the thing has been redone from scratch. It's all I deserve, tell me about it, but you've still got to give the development monkeys credit - especially as the original plan was a straight, untouched port, warts 'n' all. As they started putting together the new multiplayer campaigns, it was pretty obvious to any old idiot that the N64 look of the single-player stuff just wasn't going to cut it in this generation, so in the end they just had to bite the bullet and get revamping.

Despite all the extra work, though, it wasn't till early 2004 that the team got up to full size and speed, and it's still growing even now in the final months of development. And this year's been a bit of a balancing act as they've tried to keep a balance between the single-player and multiplayer, but that's another story for another diary, because right now I've had enough of doing the monkeys' work for them - time to shut this PC down until next time, find me a beer and maybe see if any of those cleaning ladies are feeling frisky today... they're not quite Jugga, but sometimes you've got to take what you can get, you know?

- Conker

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