Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze dev didn't want to "shoehorn" online play into the Wii U game

Retro Studios CEO says company owes it to fans only to include online multiplayer where it fits.

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.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

128 comments
maggerbee
maggerbee

Well... I'm 31 and most of my friends live too far away, have families, etc. And most of them don't enjoy Nintendo games anymore. So, I'm left in the dark, as well as others. Games like Halo, and COD have gotten more popularity mainly because of the strong online gaming. To make a perfect multiplayer game nowadays you MUST include online play. Simple.

xOmniCloudx
xOmniCloudx

Shoehorning? That is full of crap for many reasons. DKC games would do nothing BUT benefit from online co-op. The CPU is supposed to be better? lol no. I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to play a DKC game with someone but then realized at the time it was impossible but if I had online co-op it easily could have been. 


This is just another Nintendo issue of the online community not being prominent or pushed to be prominent. Online co-op for games that have 2 player controls offline are a given these days. In the current day of game development, there is no excuse for this. Do they even know what shoehorn actually means? Apparently not if they think a standard feature that is nothing but beneficial to the playability of the game and gives more options without hurting any aspect of it (quite the opposite).


It was bad enough when Star Fox 643D wasn't given online options when it EASILY could have had them and SHOULD have had them. The fact that they DO have the option to patch them in but wont makes it even less forgivable. Oh, Nintendo, I don't want you to fail but when you keep making the same stupid mistakes EVERYONE tells you that are stupid, there's no one to blame but yourself.


Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

Haven't played this, probably won't but goddamn do I respect the developer for sticking to their guns and following gut instinct. Just because there's a tonne of strong perception surrounding online play does not mean having it makes a game any better or worse. Good implementation makes it better and the opposite is true! Well played Retro!

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

Well atleast it seems they are willing to add online where it fits. So - with FPS being pretty much the king of online, how about making multiplayer focused Metroid game? Players can create their custom "Samus" with a huge amount of wild armor and weapon modules, players can jump, swing, roll, wall jump and otherwise fly around large complex maps just like the queen of super soldiers... I think that game alone would kill most of the "no games" arguments except of course those who want to shoot real looking people with real weapons.

divinejester
divinejester

I dislike the Nintendo, and think Retro Studio is filled with a lot of people with sawdust for brains based on their claims that the Wii U was a powerful console. That said I can respect when they say something spot on, and here they are spot on. While every developer and his mother is trying to add multi player somehow its nice to see folks who realize is just not necessary for some/ most games.

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

Online co-op just wouldn't work, there is no room for lag or error in this game. It can be brutal.

Crazyguy105
Crazyguy105

That is just bull. With how many times it was delayed, online co-op could have easily been put in. 


Nintendo needs to stop saying "no" to online multiplayer and embrace it. It is about time.

zerooo0
zerooo0

Why can't they include Co-Op just so I can play with my friends back at home when I have the chance? 

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@chev9324  

I suppose that you changed your mantra yet again. You don't seem to realize that repeating them won't stop people from bashing Nintendo, do you?

Paulf001
Paulf001

Putting in coop isn't a bad thing.  Not everyone especially older gamers know someone that would want to play local multiplayer.  This is why Nintendo is getting killed they just refuse to embrace online in most of their games.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Good for them.  Unfortunately they have to work for Nintendo.

Celsius765
Celsius765

the only problem is a working adult can't just walk up to someone and be all wanna play some donkey kong

Defender1978
Defender1978

Tired of multiplayer.  I was excited about Titanfall up to the point that it was only multiplayer.  Everything seems to be going that way though.  Even my favorite Elder Scrolls.  That's okay though.  I still have Skyrim and Donkey Kong.  

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Unless you want to do co-op via multiplayer, there's no reason why something like this would need a multiplayer feature.  It would just end up being shallow and forgotten about within a month anyway.  I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo Land has 5% of the population it had when it was new.

northArrow
northArrow

I wish more developers didn't feel the need to shoehorn MP into every game

notfrylock1987
notfrylock1987

Has no problems doing local co-op, but they dont want to do online?

There is a reason why Nintendo is dying an extremely slow and painful death.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Not a game meant for online. Good call

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

Making the game online would have made no sense. In games with competition like Mario Kart and Smash it makes sense. But in a 2 player platformer it wouldn't.Not only that you'd have things like lag for timing on jumps and the like. It would take away from the experience. 

jayd02
jayd02

I agree and understand that local play is much more fun then online play but why take away the option of giving us both.  I understand that you don't want to phone it in but you guys haven't given us any kind of hint interest in online mutliplayer.  You guys have the community with the Mii-verse but now it is time to give us the last piece.

Shadowmax889
Shadowmax889

@xOmniCloudx  why do you need online in a game that do not need it???? Nintendo puts online only when it makes sence like Mario Kart or SSB

fig56
fig56

If you bought a Wii U for online play and or to game with your friends online then you sir are a complete idiot. Where in Nintendos history has online been a prominent part of their strategy? Never. They always have and unless they do in the future, not been huge on online co-op. If you want to game online go buy a xbox or playstation. I personally thank Nintendo for putting online in a game when It makes sense. Not every game made has to have online. Go outside for once make some friends and invite them over to play like we had to do back in the day before online.

XxParasite
XxParasite

@PrpleTrtleBuBum Metroid's really not an FPS, apart from Prime Hunters, which was uncannily similar to Unreal Tournament.  But Prime proper is really more an action-adventure that happens to feature a first-person perspective and shooting.

Shadowmax889
Shadowmax889

@PrpleTrtleBuBum  And that game will not be called Metroid. Metroid it's about exploration alone there is no need for multiplayer in Metroid. Starfox on the other hand......

fig56
fig56

I would pay $100 bucks for a Metroid game like that. Will it ever happen? Only time will tell.

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

@divinejester I agree with the latter half of your post. As for the Wii U being a powerful console, clearly it's not up to spec with the other guys, but I think it's capable of more than we've seen so far.

fig56
fig56

Nice way to hide your trolling sir.

Shadowmax889
Shadowmax889

@Crazyguy105  Dude you know that there are Nintendo games that have online, right?. If the game doesn't need the feature do not shoehorn it

chev9324
chev9324

@Crazyguy105 For a game that nobody would care to play online for. You people need stop with this "Nintendo is doom for not doing this thing that no one really cares for."

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@zerooo0  

Wait - I wasn't aware that the game lacks co-op. Really, it lacks local co-op?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

I have to agree. It's almost impossible to get your friends together after a certain age. Online co-op really helps you have fun, and keep in touch when you just don't have the time to meet in person constantly.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

For gamespot I believe mark gave it a 6. Not a popular opinion, but there's tons of other reviews if you don't agree with his.

Celsius765
Celsius765

@b74kd3th  would have been nice but DKC is one of the few games that can pull off playing alone and still be fun

Celsius765
Celsius765

@bunchanumbers  sadly it's either play alone or get lost if you're an older fan

chev9324
chev9324

@jayd02 If you read the article, Retro say that online doesn't fit with Donkey Kong Country, not gaming in general.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@jayd02  It's a strange thing for sure but then I got to thinking that maybe the reason is because of screen sharing. Does the guest player have to stay on the host's screen? If yes, then people would knock points off and deride it for a shoddy online component. If no, then that means that they'd have to rework the levels in such a way that each player can progress some distance on their own. This can have a negative impact on the single player game. So then you'd have to make a different set of co-op levels.

These are problems you don't have in local co-op. Is this why? Who knows. But it seems like a reasonable explanation if you've got limited resources.

xOmniCloudx
xOmniCloudx

@Shadowmax889 @xOmniCloudx  You have no idea what the word sense means then since online only makes sense for games with multiplayer components You know, Tropical Freeze and Star FOx 64 3D. You do realize they could have used this PR excuse even for SSB and Mario Kart and said it was about pushing local interactivity and that it didn't make sense to include online because of it? Did you also know that there are other games that play like Star Fox and Tropical Freeze that have online multiplayer options since the games also had offline multiplayer? Modern day Nintendo fans are morons if they're believing AND defending this crap. Then again it IS Gamespot, where most people are idiots here anyway...

xOmniCloudx
xOmniCloudx


@fig56  I'm a complete idiot for expecting Nintendo to keep up with the industry and not lag behind on features that SHOULD be there? You're going to defend Nintendo staying behind just because they were ALWAYS behind?Especially when Nintendo themselves said that they were no longer going to fall behind, had refocused their online systems and PROMISED gamers that they wouldn't have anything to worry about BEFORE the Wii-U released.


lol, you're the idiot here if you are letting them get off the hook for that. Are you an Apple fan too? Wouldn't be surprised if you were gong off these comments. If I'm an idiot then Nintendo is an even bigger idiot because all of their HORRIBLE decisions and being behind just because they were always behind have their company doing HORRIBLY and the Wii-U looks to be a total failure and money loser. They deserve everything bad that has happened to  hem for living in the past and being unable to give consumers what they should have and third parties the ability to make money on their platform. Now they have no support and have to sell the console with only their own games which news flash, are ALWAYS the lowest number of games released for ANY console since third parties are 99% of the industry lol. Have fun with your failed gimmicks nobody wants Nintendo. Tablet controller? It's a piece of garbage and you're not even doing anything to make it necessary in the game smh.

This is why I left Nintendo and went to BETTER companies that make consoles today as well as support PC market. Oh, and I already stopped NIntendo from making money on various Wii-Us since people didn't buy them or or bought them secondhand which means no money for Nintendo :D Nintendo was a great company once and now it's a joke. They need to quit consoles and just stick to handhelds, they clearly can't cut it in the console market anymore. Especially if they need fans to defend them being behind as always being behind despite the fact they charge us money and they have competitors actually giving us what we should have. Lmfao. You're the complete idiot for defending such crap and not wanting Nintendo to be a better company when they're taking people's money.... The Wii-U was cracked shortly so pirating will also happen and further doom it like the Dreamcast (which actually was a great console unlike Wii-U):D

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@XxParasite @PrpleTrtleBuBumI would like to say blagh blagh, heard that before.


Point is Metroid is unique. It can easily work as FPS and it can easily be unique in a way that makes Titanfall look like a bunch of goons running in cement shoes.


Then again what is real FPS. Doom, Operation Flashpoint, Halo? All are completely different.

XxParasite
XxParasite

@canuckbiker That's an incredibly deviant score!  With all the other reviews being nowhere near that, I would consider a 6 to be an anomaly and promptly discount it.

fig56
fig56

@Celsius765 maybe you can find a girlfriend to play videogames with you.

jayd02
jayd02

@ExtremePhobia Nintendo has anything but limited resources.  They work hard on their games which is why they take so long to be released, but it's a shame when they leave something that is becoming standard out.


Yes it would be difficult to reconstruct levels to work like that but it would be for the best.  I do agree with your statement but that can very easily be fixed by hosting private rooms for you and your friends.  If you want to take a chance and team up with a random person you can do that as well but then you are taking a risk.  That is true for almost any co-op online game.

The main point here though is giving us the option.  I want to chose whether or not I split screen or go online.  I don't understand why Nintendo is afraid to give us the choice.  I know they don't like online co-op that much but their consumers do, and that is what they want.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Vegamyster

Thanks for the reply.

I think that zerooo0 might want to clarify the context of his/her statement, e.g. "back at home" means "in my country of origin".

Celsius765
Celsius765

@jayd02 @ExtremePhobia  I was thinking more of an online spin to classic two player mode if co-op gets too complicated. It might work better in a game styled after DK64