Just recently we got our hands on some Project Dream concept material thanks to auctions for charity set up by former Rare employee Will Bryan. The Project Dream goodies consist of a floppy disk used to transfer sprites to and from the SNES dev kit used for game development, a storyboard sketch of a scene from the beginning of the game and a character sketch of Captain Cockeye!
You can watch the video to hear us talk about it or read it all below!
Now if Project Dream doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s an unreleased game that was originally going to be for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and later the Nintendo 64. The game was instead entirely re-developed as Banjo-Kazooie replacing the boy Edison for Banjo the bear.
First up is the floppy disk labeled Dream. Unfortunately there isn’t anything on the disk. It was created along with other disks that would be used to transfer files to and from the SNES dev kit that Rare used to create the sprites for the game and their color palettes. What is neat about the disk is we get to see this never before seen render of Edison, the main protagonist of Dream.
On to the storyboard! So this storyboard belongs to one of the story sections at the start of the game which did end up moving to N64 version of Dream. The three panels from the storyboard show how Edson meets Dinger the Dog and the trolls from the mine who end up chasing them.
In slide 8 we meet Edison who happens to be hiding as he waits for Dinger. Dinger steps backwards from the dusty entrance of the cave barking. Dinger hears the troll’s threats from inside the mine and he runs over to Edison to hide too.
Ed waits as Dinger steps backwards from entrance, though dust and still barking. Dog hears troll threats from inside mine and runs over to Ed and hides too.
What is really cool is just recently we learned about Dinger separately from this storyboard. Gregg Mayles, Rare game designer, tweeted a picture of Dinger the Dog. Gregg mentions in the tweet that before Kazooie was introduced into Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo’s pal and companion was Dinger the Dog. Following that tweet Steve Mayles, a former Rare artist and Gregg’s brother, tweeted that Dinger was also in Dream during the SNES stage which is confirmed by this storyboard. The original concept of Dinger was created by Kevin Bayliss and Dinger’s original name was Scratt until Tim Stamper named him Dinger.
We don’t really know how Dinger would interact with Edison and what game mechanics would be introduced by Dinger. From slide 8 we can guess that Dinger could be used to investigate dangerous areas? Perhaps be sent to scout the level? Maybe Dinger could hunt or search for supplies as well? A dog is mans best friend after all so I am sure Rare thought of many useful things for Dinger to do.
Now that we are well aquatinted with Dinger lets look at Slide 10 where we see what Dinger was barking at. Two trolls emerge from the cave coughing from the dust. They rub their eyes and one mentions how bright it is. A crate falls and the chase beings. So trolls being in Project Dream is a newer development. A video feature included in the recently released Rare Replay titled Dreaming of Banjo mentions this exact storyboard about how Edison finds Dinger and gets chased by trolls. We’ve always known about pirates and their leader Captain Blackeye in Dream but now we have some extra possibilities to think about with trolls added in the mix. Were the trolls friends with the pirates? Were the trolls considered pirates themselves? In the Dreaming Of Banjo video Gregg explains the story of Dream being about a boy who grew up in a village and went out into the big wide world where he gets embroiled in this fantastic adventure. The main bad guys in this story are a bunch of pirates led by Captain Blackeye. This makes me think that maybe you would have only encountered the trolls in the beginning of the game near your starting village and as you progressed farther in the game leaving your village behind you would be faced with pirates rather than trolls.
1st troll kicks out last plank. Followed by #2, “Cough cough”. Rubs eyes. “Very bright”. They see Dinger and Ed when create collapses. Points him out. “This Dog…and boy…get them”.
Onto Slide 11 where Edison and Dinger run away from the trolls who give chase zombie style! It seems by the use of the word player instead of Edison here that this part would be playable. Now the trolls chasing zombie style…what exactly does that mean? I wonder if they meant the trolls would walk slow or just that they would run with their arms out front of them kind of like the sketch. If slow maybe there were different trolls and some were slow and some fast?
Player runs. Dinger turns and follows. Trolls give chase (zombie style!)
So that is about it from the storyboard. Now that we have met the Dinger and the trolls lets check out the character sketch for Captain Cockeye. It isn’t known what his exact role would have been in the game but he did make it further than just sketches. Captain Cockeye’s original hi-res model and his low-res model were created for the game. The sketch mentions that he has one big eye for his telescope which you can see for yourself. Now to me Captain Cockeye does not look very human. Now that we know there are trolls in the game he could definitely be one himself. But he also looks to have some pirate background in him from his garb, telescope and having the title Captain in his name. So does that mean he was friendly or foe? It seems that Edison and Dinger are scared of the trolls and pirates are definitely the antagonists in the game leading me to believe that Cockeye would not be friendly. He could have been a mini boss or maybe the villain’s sidekick comedy relief? At one point he could’ve even been the leader of the pirates before Captain Blackeye was created. If Cockeye was supposed to be a friend to Edison maybe he was Edison’s mentor in the starting village portion of the game. Edison is just a simple boy at the start and this old washed up Captain stuck here in the village could help lead Edison into a more adventurous life while teaching him the ropes.
So that about covers everything we can gather from this Dream material that has recently seen the light of day! If you something we missed or have any questions be sure to leave a comment below!