Donkey Kong has had some fantastic animal companions over the years, and when Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze breezed onto the Wii U, and later Switch, it brought back with it a very small selection of animal companions. But in an interview published in the latest issue of Retro Gamer (via Nintendo Everything) creative director Vince Joly revealed the team at Retro Studios almost brought back a fan favourite — Enguarde the Swordfish.
Tropical Freeze only brought back Squawks the Parrot and Rambi the Rhinoceros, with the Switch version also adding a brand new parrot in Tawks to the mix, and it was the team’s desire to keep the game close to the previous entry, Donkey Kong Country Returns, that stopped them from adding more in.
Joly reflects on the thought process behind the decision:
““We were thinking that bringing back the familiarity that players experienced in Donkey Kong Country Returns would be a good way for us to further strengthen their love for these characters. We felt this was the right choice over adding different buddies in their stead…”
Instead, more Kongs — and, most importantly, Funky Kong — were added into the mix alongside new gameplay mechanics. But that didn’t stop Joly and the team from considering one of our favourite companions. Joly admits to Retro Gamer:
“…we would have loved to have introduced some new animal buddies. Like Enguarde, for instance, who did come close to being added.”
While the excerpts don’t go into more detail, they did help us reflect on our favourite Donkey Kong series buddies; Squitter the Spider, Rattly the Rattlesnake, Ellie the Elephant — we miss a lot of these! But especially Enguarde.
Enguard hasn’t been seen in the Donkey Kong games since Donkey Kong Barrel Blast on the Wii, so we think it’s high time for the Swordfish to swim back into the series spotlight. Maybe it was a bit too cold for him in Tropical Freeze…
Would you like to have seen Enguarde in Tropical Freeze? Let us know in the comments!