Long before Rare set sail on the Sea of Thieves, while it was still in Nintendo’s embrace, it bought us Conker – a foul-mouthed, drunken squirrel caught in a gaudy world of sex, violence, poop, and swears, and far from the studio’s usual family friendly fare. Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a watershed moment in gaming for many, but the squirrel’s reign was all-too-short, and he never got the fully fledged sequel he deserved. One was planned though, as has been public knowledge for years, and, now, Bad Fur Day designer Chris Seavor has taken to Twitter to reveal more.
Despite its bawdy, knockabout sense of humour – which arguably reached its zenith somewhere around the mid-point when Conker is forced to fight an immense, singing poo – the thing that most sticks in my mind about Bad Fur Day is that it had, I reckon, one of the most audacious endings ever committed to video game, pivoting from saucy highs and Matrix references to one hell of a downbeat denouement. At one point in development, the story goes, it was set to be even bleaker, with Conker rounding out his adventures with his own suicide.
While that never came to pass, it seems Rare never quite gave up on the idea of the squirrel’s untimely death. In a short, but wonderfully juicy series of new posts on Twitter, Seavor unveiled a surprisingly detailed plot outline for the Bad Fur Day sequel that was, at one time, in development at the studio – and Conker would have barely made it to the halfway mark.
Conker’s Other Bad Day, as the sequel was known, once again began where it would end, with the squirrel on the throne, now the Emperor of the Known Universe. From here, the story would hop back in time for the first of four planned chapters. This would see Conker attempting to regain his crown after the previous game’s post-credits ending, while the second chapter was to mark the return of series protagonist the Panther King, courtesy of a still-peeved Death.
It’s here that things take a dark turn, with Conker tricked into killing the Panther King’s Weasel Boss stooge, then tried for murder and executed. Luckily, it turns out that Conker’s world has its own afterlife, a vast nightclub known as The Basement. Here, Conker would learn of the Panther King’s deal with Death, to be returned to the land of the living in return for Conker’s head.
With that bit of exposition out the way, Other Bad Day’s action would shift focus, giving players control of the newly reanimated Panther King, now inhabiting a darker doppelgänger version of Conker’s body. The goal here, according to the original design document, was to find some cash in order to get back on the throne – with the sequence culminating in a fight in which several of Conker’s friends from the first game, namely Camembert, the Raptor, and Franky, met a sticky end. All while a subplot regarding the squirrel’s lost love Berri is brewing.
The Panther King returns.
That would lead to the game’s third section, in which the real Conker attempts to escape The Basement with a little help from his now deceased pals. The focus was to be on the squirrel’s conflict with the grim reaper, ending with the demise of Death (“with the use of cats”) and the Panther King. And with Conker now safely restored to the throne, it seemed the game was about to end – until a fake credit sequence was interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious spaceship known as the DeathStarfish. Which is where Seavor’s notes sadly stop.
Luckily for us, there’s more where they came from. Seavor also shared pages detailing how the game would be structured. Much like Bad Fur Day, Other Bad Day would feature a central hub world (this time Conker’s “huge” castle, featuring dingy corridors, the Gallows Courtyard, Throne Room, Prison Tower, Harbour, and more) leading off to other areas of the game.
Other Bad Day, all mapped out.
It appears that Conker’s second adventure would take him to Castle Town, a much-changed version of the first game’s Windmill Land (minus Poo Mountain), a kingdom of cheese, the Wasp Factory, something called Clang Bastards, Tediz Other Island, The Basement, and a glorious ocean linear called The Gigantic – where players would once again encounter the Great Mighty Poo. Rounding things off would be a trip to the Professor’s Tower, and the Moon Base. There’s even a summary of what each area would entail – and a map of the whole game – in Seavor’s newly released notes, both well worth reading.
It’s a fascinating insight into a game that never was, for a hero that deserved better than a half-hearted appearance in Microsoft’s ill-fated Project Spark. Perhaps one day Conker will make a triumphant return, but, until then, it’s comforting to ponder the parallel world in which the squirrel defeated the Panther King a second time and is now as big an icon as Mario.