Dinosaur Planet was a game originally developed by Rare and set to be published by Nintendo, planned for release on the Nintendo 64, but later intended for the Nintendo GameCube instead. Originally, the game had nothing to do with the Star Fox series and was intended to be a stand-alone title. According to an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, he had noticed the striking similarities between the game's characters and those of Star Fox, and so the decision was made for the game to become part of Star Fox as a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube. Although Rare scrapped the project due to Nintendo wanting it to be a Star Fox title on the GameCube, there is still a lot of leftovers from the game's development, which led to the game evolving into what became "Star Fox Adventures".
What little is known about the game is that development was in progress sometime around 1999 and 2000. Rare had previously released many pieces of artwork, screenshots, trailers and even soundtrack material before this decision was made and many of these can still be found today.
What little details about the plot, characters and settings present show that the game was still quite similar to the later Adventures. The two main characters would have been Sabre (replaced by Fox), who was the son of a wizard named Randorn, and Krystal, who was Randorn's adopted daughter (and thus Sabre's adopted sister). They would have been accompanied by their respective sidekicks, Tricky (for Sabre) and Kyte (for Krystal). The gameplay allowed for the two characters to be used in different locations and sections of the game. To switch between the two, the player would use characters known as SwapStones (which later became the WarpStone). It also appeared that both of the main characters had their own weapons: Krystal wielded a staff, while Sabre used a sword. Other earlier versions of characters and enemies were also seen in the previews, including; General Scales, the SharpClaws, the Galdon, GrubTubs, the wounded EarthWalker]and Scales' flying Galleon.
Krystal originally was the main protagonist and one of two playable characters, paired up with Princess Kyte. Krystal's reason for boarding the Galleon in Dinosaur Planet was to save the queen CloudRunner's daughter, who was caged near the head of the ship, while in Adventures, the young CloudRunner is still there, but merely serves as a tutorial for the talk button, while Krystal's reasons for boarding the ship are unknown.
Both Sabre and Krystal had separate weapons, Sabre had a sword and Krystal had a compact staff. While Sabre was cut from the game, Krystal and her staff made it through to Adventures. Unlike the original game, Krystal never uses her Staff during her playable period, losing it at the beginning of the game, and retrieving it before the final boss.
Sabre was originally to be the secondary playable protagonist, paired up with Tricky. A royal knight of the planet Animus, Sabre was the son of a wizard named Randorn and Krystal was his adopted sister.
Sabre was to be armed with a sword, meaning Krystal would have kept the Staff as her own weapon during gameplay. This changed when Dinosaur Planet merged with the Star Fox series, leaving General Scales as the only character with a sword. In the N64 development of Dinosaur Planet, both Sabre and Krystal ran on the same model engine, possibly due to similar lines and animations both characters would say and do in-game. This is evident when Sabre makes commands and grunts in Krystal's voice as well as his HUD having a picture of Krystal, instead of himself. Sabre's voice and personality was performed by Steve Malpass, who carried this over to Fox, creating a stark contrast in Fox's character compared to earlier games.
Sabre's name may have come from Sabre Wulf, the titular character of a game Rare made back when they were Ultimate Play the Game.
Randorn is a wizard who was Sabre's father and adopted Krystal. When his first-born son died in a war, he sent him to, he couldn't handle the grief and left his home and Sabre behind. As he wandered through the forests around the Wolven Tribe (Wolves), he found a camp of the hostile Vixon Tribe (Foxes) and overcame with anger, killing everyone at the camp but Krystal. The next morning, he went to look for survivors and found Krystal, realizing what he did, he adopted her and told her that he found the camp in the state it was now. He was to be a powerful wizard. Because of his power and kindness, General Scales attacks his home, Warlock Mountain, where he is met with EarthWalker warriors who were sent to protect him, it doesn't end well for the warriors. When Krystal meets General Scales, he says that he had "a nice little chat", showing that Randorn would've been a powerful and dangerous enemy to General Scales, should he have attempted to take over Dinosaur Planet.
When Randorn was cut from the game, Nintendo replaced him with an EarthWalker who was also hurt and sent Krystal to the first Krazoa Test. To a lesser extent, Randorn's role in Krystal being an orphan was also incorporated into Andross's role in the game, although for completely different reasons (in Andross's case, it's implied he had wiped out Krystal's homeworld in an attempt at reviving himself). Likewise, Randorn's home, Warlock Mountain, was replaced by Krazoa Palace. You can find reused puzzles, pictures, rooms and events, that were in originally in Warlock Mountain, when you go to Krazoa Palace as Krystal near the beginning of Adventures.
- One of his likes was a drop of Whiskey while one of his dislikes was hangovers, hinting that he might have been a regular drinker.
General Scales was supposed to originally be a boss in Dinosaur Planet. However, due to Rare being rushed by the upcoming GameCube console and Microsoft buyout, they had to scrap General Scales as a boss. In either version, he was never the final boss.
On a similar note, how he was to meet his defeat differed: Originally, he was to confront Krystal at the Desert Force Point Temple just as she was going to insert the SpellStone into the seal and attempt to dissuade her by claiming she won't be able to return to her home world if she does so, although Krystal tells him that she'd rather end up marooned on Dinosaur Planet than let it fall to his tyranny and completes the seal. This results in them being teleported to over the desert area and falling. Krystal manages to fall into an oasis, but Scales is not nearly as lucky, landing hard on a rock formation and shattering his spine. The Bonehead then tells Krystal to retrieve his belt as it utilized Kamerian technology (foreshadowing Drakor's role in commanding Scales). Kyte state's its currently useless before the Bonehead informs them to see the mutant at Willow Grove, also offering to keep watch over Scales' paralyzed body to make sure he doesn't cause any trouble. Scales then vows to have revenge before passing out. Notably, he did not carry a Krazoa Spirit on him, unlike in Adventures.
Princess Kyte would have been the princess of the CloudRunner tribe, and accompanied Krystal through much of the game. She was planned to get captured a few times by General Scales and his SharpClaw crew. At the end of her arc, Kyte became the new queen after her mother is presumably killed by General Scales. Unused text indicates that she would have also been afraid of heights, but eventually overcomes her vertigo while adventuring with Krystal.
Kyte is not in the final game, but it is believed that her role was distributed among some notable but unnamed CloudRunners.
Much of Tricky's role in the original intended game was kept in "Adventures", from his character arc and sidekick skills. However, he was originally planned to have been killed by Drakor at Dragon Rock alongside Sabre just as he was to restore the SpellStone there (in his case, by Drakor destroying the bonds keeping the rock elevator from tipping over before Tricky could get to solid ground, resulting in Tricky falling into lava), although not before learning from Drakor that Sabre was forced to kill the Kamerian Heart earlier (as the Kamerian Heart essentially acted as the god of the Dinosaurs). This would require Krystal to go back in time to save both Tricky and Sabre, consequentially confirming Drakor's earlier claim about the Krazoa being the true instigators of the Great War, not the Kamerians as the Krazoa had earlier claimed.
Rocky and Rubble were the twin SwapStones originally meant to serve as the of means of Sabre and Krystal switching gaming turns until the final game where they were both merged into the singular WarpStone that resided in ThornTail Hollow. The Game Well Maze was not implemented until after the decision to shift from Dinosaur Planet to Star Fox Adventures. Consequently, the stairs beneath the SwapStones instead lead to the ThornTail Store. Despite being two seperate locations, both shops are run by the same ShopKeeper, and are identical in layout.
A member of the Kamerian race, a group of draconian-esque creatures that were at war with the Krazoa at the past, he acted as the true main antagonist of the game, instigating Scales' megalomaniacal actions. Drakor confronts Sabre shortly after the latter destroyed the Kamerian Heart and makes clear that his motives are to end the Great War in their favor, and implies that it was actually the Krazoa that had started the war for evil intentions rather than the Kamerians. He was originally going to kill Sabre, although Krystal managed to undo the death via time travel. At some point, he was to be confronted in a void with a crystal being involved.
In Star Fox Adventures, his role was greatly reduced, where he merely served as one of Scales' minions guarding a SpellStone at Dragon Rock, with it being implied in the mission briefing that he was instead the result of genetic experiments by the Sharpclaw tribe. His overall role of being Scales' puppetmaster was instead relegated to Andross. In addition, Drakor lacks the capacity for speech in Adventures, in contrast to Dinosaur Planet, where he converses with Sabre.
Early locations were also seen of ThornTail Hollow, SnowHorn Wastes, Ice Mountain, DarkIce Mines and Krazoa Palace. Warlock Mountain and Krazoa Palace were meant to house a powerful being(s). Warlock Mountain was meant to house Randorn the wizard and Krazoa Palace was meant to house the Krazoa. This is seen in lines of dialogue from fallen EarthWalker warriors, where they describe who/what they were sent to protect. Both locations were attacked by General Scales for this reason.
Early versions of Moon Mountain Pass, the Volcano Force Point Temple, LightFoot Village, Cape Claw, CloudRunner Fortress, the Ocean Force Point Temple, the Walled City, and Dragon Rock were also found in the December 2000 build, in varying states of completion. Discovery Falls is a removed location, with a similar appearance to Cape Claw, but are distinctly different areas. What is worth noting is that certain areas can only be accessed by certain characters:
- Moon Mountain Pass, Cape Claw, LightFoot Village, CloudRunner Fortress, Discovery Falls and the Ocean Force Point Temple are all exclusive to Krystal
- ThornTail Hollow, SnowHorn Wastes, Ice Mountain, DarkIce Mines, and the Volcano Force Point Temple are exclusive to Sabre / Fox.
- At least in this build, if not always intentional, the Krazoa Palace is part of Warlock Mountain, and is accessible to both characters. However, they both enter from different sections, leaving the other's part of the map inaccessible.
- It is possible that after collecting enough Krazoa Spirits, the characters would be able to access the other half of the map, and by extension the other half of Dinosaur Planet, but this is pure speculation.
They also connect differently to one another than their final counterparts. For example, the original Moon Mountain Pass connected Cape Claw to CloudRunner Fortress, whereas in the final game it connects ThornTail Hollow to the Volcano Force Point Temple.
- Warlock Mountain and Krazoa Palace share many similarities even though Krazoa Palace was a separate place in Dinosaur Planet. While both areas have a separate level design, they both are seen with Krystal going there after her encounter with Scales and both having similar symbols on doors, puzzles, events, and rooms throughout both games.
- The only difference between Krystal's encounter with General Scales between both games includes General Scales in Dinosaur Planet falling overboard after either being electrocuted by lightning when grabbing onto the CloudRunner's cage or, in later builds, merely teleporting out of the area via his Kamerian belt's abilities. Krystal then pilots the Galleon to Warlock Mountain and disembarks. While in Adventures Krystal is thrown overboard by Scales only to be caught by her CloudRunner, saving her from a fatal fall, where she then flies over to Krazoa Palace.
- After Krystal investigates Warlock Mountain, she returns to the Galleon to find General Scales still alive as he boards the Galleon and disembarks to an unknown location, laughing at Krystal in the process.
- Some instances of the voice acting used in the final "Adventures" game dates back to a time when the game wasn't being converted into a Star Fox title, such as when Fox asked the CloudRunner rebel about Krystal without being told her name before.
- There seem to be reused animations as well. A good example of this is the cutscene of meeting Tricky for the first time. Not only is this cutscene beat for beat the same in the December 2000 Build, but the animations are demonstratively the same. This leads to an odd motion from Fox in Adventures, where he awkwardly grabs behind his back. In Dinosaur Planet, he is very clearly reaching for his sword, but as Fox does not have a sword in Adventures, it results in this strange movement. As this build is during a transitional period, and Sabre has a sword in concept art, it is entirely likely that Sabre would have used this same animation.
- In both Dinosaur Planet and Star Fox Adventures, when Krystal is facing the Galleon, she fires blue magic at it. In Dinosaur Planet she and Sabre use this power, but in Star Fox Adventures, Assault, & Command, she shows no sign of ever having this ability.
- The stone structure in the Test of Strength of the final game resembles the symbol that was present in the center of the HUD of Dinosaur Planet.
There are trailers, concept art, music, and even a one-hour gameplay of Dinosaur Planet (includes the first 18 minutes and misc. scenes). A prototype of Star Fox Adventures was revealed to have over an hour of Dinosaur Planet voice acting, having nearly everything except the endgame.
Development Build Release
Over twenty-years after the cancellation of Dinosaur Planet, an unexpected turn of events in February 2021 brought this nearly-forgotten title back to the spotlight. That day, a video game preservation group called Forest of Illusion announced on their Twitter page that they successful acquired a disc containing a development build of Dinosaur Planet from a private game collector in Sweden. The contents of the disc, which has since been released online by the group, dates the build approximately to December 1, 2000: at the same time Rare was slowly transitioning the titular game into Star Fox Adventures for the Nintendo GameCube.
The announcement stunned gamers and video game news sites alike, as many didn't think a playable ROM of Dinosaur Planet would've ever saw the light of day.
The evidence of this being a transitional period is quite evident. The voiceovers seem to be mostly updated to a state where Fox is a main character, but the in-game subtitles sometimes are representative of something completely different. For example, Queen Earthwalker audibly says "The Wizard," but the subtitles say "Your Father." Rubble's subtitle also mentions Sabre by name, despite not having a new voiceline yet; he uses Rocky's voiceline and asks Krystal if they would like to swap to... being Krystal. An obvious placeholder. Even Fox, one of the few characters whos voicelines and subtitles are updated, refers to himself as a "royal knight of the Lylat System." This implies that Dinosaur Planet Fox may not have always been intended to be the same exact Fox McCloud as other games. It is unknown if this was part of the plan at some point, or if it was just a temporary idea while the plot was rewritten. Either way, it is very indicative that the dev team was not certain how they wanted to turn Dinosaur Planet into a Star Fox game yet.
A possible explanation for the similarities of Warlock Mountain and the Krazoa Palace is in this build. For this version, Warlock Mountain is the greater area in which the Krazoa Palace is contained, with Sabre and Krystal exploring different sections of both areas as the game progresses. When Randorn, the seemingly titular warlock, was removed from the mountain, so was its name. Thus, it is only referred to as the Krazoa Palace in Adventures. It is unknown if they were always the same place, or if they were merged later.
- Right from the beginning, Dinosaur Planet was originally going to be fully voice acted in English, some dialogue even making it into the final game alongside re-recorded lines to coincide with the additional changes made to the plot and characters. It is not clear if the spoken Dino language was a last minute idea by Nintendo or by Rare.
- Throughout the original development of the game and the final release as "Star Fox Adventures", all of the characters refer to the planet the game takes place on as "Dinosaur Planet", but in "Assault", the characters now refer to the planet as "Sauria". The name was originally used in Dinosaur Planet, placing "Dinosaur Planet" in the "Sauria System".
Dinosaur Planet Videos
- http://rarethief.com/dinosaur-planet - Contains various screenshots, character bios's, a condensed story and more.
- 1 Hour gameplay video of an earlier version of the game
- Part 1
- Part 2
- https://www.dropbox.com/s/zon1ugd4s4szih3/Dinosaur_Planet_Media.zip - Contains a dropbox download of various unused Dinosaur Planet related media.
- Forest of Illusion on Twitter: "We purchased this disc containing the build from a private game collector in Sweden. The file date lists the build as being from December 1st 2000. It seems to be quite a late build of the game which is great, but it will need some hacking to be fully playable to the end.
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