Donkey Kong Racing: The Nintendo Racer That Never Was


Here’s a cool retrospective from of Donkey Kong Racing. This GameCube big brother to the N64 Rare hit Diddy Kong Racing had a lot of unique concepts going for it such as riding and switching animals mid-race, but never made it past the tech demo stage thanks to the unfortunate timing of being in development when Rare switched sides from Nintendo to Microsoft.

Donkey Kong Racing

Former Rare staffer and Donkey Kong Racing Lead Designer Lee Musgrave told Nintendo Life that the team continued to work on the game, eventually bringing it to  Xbox as a prototype called Sabreman Stampede, featuring Rare founders Tim and Chris Stamper’s lead character from 1984’s Sabre Wulf, that took the earlier ideas and expanded them to create something akin to a “cute Grand Theft Auto.”

Unfortunately, despite a long development that eventually included the Xbox 360, Sabreman Stampede was also not to be.

“It was such a wide game in terms of content, and the development went off into the woods a little bit,” Musgrave admits, “It took a long time to do, and at the same time we were trying to build engines for consoles we weren’t familiar with.” 

Lots more in the full article, including a look at the challenges Rare faced after the Microsoft acquisition. There’s also a fascinating retrospective of Sabreman Stampede here.

Image from

Like this Article? Subscribe to Our Feed!

About Shawn Hopkins

Recommended for you

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply