Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze does not include online cooperative play, and that's because this mode simply didn't fit into the vision Retro Studios originally had for the game. The Austin, Texas developer refused to "shoehorn" this feature in, and this was in the best interest of the game, CEO Michael Kelbaugh told GameSpot in a new interview.
"If we're going to create an online component for Donkey Kong, we really need to do it right and not shoehorn in, 'Oh, let's play Dixie remotely.' That just wasn't an objective for Tropical Freeze," Kelbaugh told GameSpot. "So if we were really go back and create an online environment, I think we owe it to the fans to do it better than just making online co-op. We really need to put some thought and resources into doing it the right way.
Simply put, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was not the right game to launch the classic franchise into the era of online multiplayer, if that ever happens at all, Kelbaugh said.
"If we were to make a full online experience, I'd want to spend time to do it and make sure that we stay true to the franchise and incorporate this new feature in the right way," he said. "And I'm not sure that this game is the right way to start Donkey Kong Country Online [laughs]. I'm really a purist at heart, especially when it comes to Donkey Kong Country, and I'd want to approach it the right way."
For his part, veteran Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe said that the spirit of the Donkey Kong franchise--and Nintendo titles in general--is that of local multiplayer. Playing together with your family and friends on the couch is part of Nintendo's history--and it's simply more fun, he said.
"This is a personal opinion, but if I'm playing with somebody, I think it's just a heck of a lot more fun to be sitting in the same room as that person rather than playing with somebody at a distance," Tanabe said through a translator. "And I think it's especially true for Nintendo games; we have a history of families playing together, whether that's the parents playing with the children or the children playing with their siblings. And I think with Donkey Kong, that's something that we preferred. We really wanted to support that style of play."
Of course, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is not entirely lacking online support. The game's time attack mode allows players to post their best scores to online leaderboards where they can compete against friends and the community at large. This form of online support was "an adequate addition" for Tropical Freeze, Tanabe said.
Kelbaugh recently labeled the Wii U a "powerhouse" and confirmed Retro Studios has been working on an all-new game since at least November 2013. This project remains a mystery. For more on Tropical Freeze, check out GameSpot's review.