Scrapped Donkey Kong game from Vicarious Visions revealed

Blizzard Albany, formerly known as Vicarious Visions, once worked on a Donkey Kong title.
donkey kong tropical freeze key art

A new 3D Donkey Kong game was once in the works at Vicarious Visions, according to multiple former employees who recently spoke to DidYouKnowGaming for a showcase on cancelled Donkey Kong games.

Rumours of a Donkey Kong game from Vicarious Visions had been floating for some time, with DK Vine claiming in January 2024 that Nintendo had corralled the services of the studio after the successful launch of Skylanders: SuperChargers, as well as other notable releases like Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure for GBA, and Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure for Nintendo 3DS.

Per DK Vine, Vicarious Visions began work on a game internally known as Donkey Kong Freedom sometime in the 2010s. It was believed to be a 3D open world adventure that would have featured “obstacles and vine swinging” as well as the ability to slide down vines and ropes, using bananas to contend with friction.

The story would reportedly have featured criticisms of climate change and pollution, as Donkey Kong contended with a giant factory opening near his home and damming the river, “creating an ecological crisis for the inhabitants.”

Read: The Australian-made video games you’ll never play

DK Vine claimed the game never quite took shape, despite its ambitions, with its nature as a cross Nintendo-Activision title working against it. The website claimed the companies had different priorities, and when the founders of Vicarious Visions departed the company, there was no longer a desire to keep the relationship with Nintendo going.

This report has now largely been corroborated, with former employees telling DidYouKnowGaming that a Donkey Kong game was in the works at Vicarious Visions, and that it never quite got off the ground. According to DYKG, the project was only in development for around six months before it was scrapped, seemingly around the time that Vicarious Visions began its transformation into Blizzard Albany, a support studio for Call of Duty.

While plans never coalesced, the video presents a fascinating “what if” for the Donkey Kong franchise. A new title for the late 2010s would certainly have been welcomed, should it have made it to release, but it appears this wasn’t to be. DYKG‘s complete hour-long breakdown of cancelled Donkey Kong games is a great, insightful watch on the matter, and certainly worth checking out on YouTube.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.