Now here’s a scary thought for ya. The Nintendo 64 cult-classic, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, almost featured zero voice-acting.
Yes, you read that right.
Could you imagine the game’s opening scene, without a voice?
What about the countless one-liners?
Would simple text have delivered the same type of emotion?
Luckily for millions of gamers that would experience the title, Chris Seavor and his team, stood by their decision to make the game different. They knew it wasn’t Mario 64. It wasn’t even Banjo-Kazooie. They knew it needed to be more. And they never stopped fighting for it.
Even when no one else would.
“There were a few nay-sayers,” The game’s primary writer and designer, Chris Seaver said. “One, in particular, saying ‘Can’t be done. We tried it and it was too much work!’ Now, saying that to me was like a red rag to a bull, but saying it to Robin Beanland was like laying down a challenge, one we both accepted and relished !! (Robin was our audio guy and still working hard on Sea Of Thieves as we speak!) Now, say what you like about the humor or some of the design or whatever but the voice work and how it all fitted into the mix I think is pretty much perfect. It set the tone for the game right off the bat and gave the rest of the team, and also management, a very clear early slice of what I was trying to do with the game. So thanks for that comment Mr. K, you motivated us to prove you wrong.. Heh! (We’re good friends really…).”
All of a sudden, a game that was once left out by the curb, with little chance of success, had something many games would die for, character, in spades. The dedication of the team and the fact that Bad Fur Day wasn’t scared to take things in directions no other game did before were proof of that. It ended up being the game’s saving grace.
“Conker is chocked full of little moments and scenes that to this day I’m still amused when I see them, too many to mention really,” Seavor said. “A few people latched onto some of the toilet style humor in the game, and it’s there certainly early on when I was finding my feet about what would work, poo jokes always land you see. I think as the development phase matured the humor got a bit tighter and edgy and dare I say ‘clever.’
“There’s a scene, once again in the ‘It’s War’ section where Conker comes across a fellow soldier all beaten up and strapped into an electric chair. The player is given two choices: One which fries his friend and the other which opens the doors and lets the player continue. Of course, it is with great relish as a designer that no matter which lever you pulled first the poor chap in the chair would always get fried. For ages- that little bit too long for comfort and that long wait is exactly why the punchline really works in my opinion, because after a minute of torture, eyes popping out and brain turning to mush, Conker says, ‘Oh, hang on… maybe it’s the other one…’ Never fails to make me chuckle.”