Games can change form in many ways during the progress of development. Sometimes, the glimpses of early versions are only found in the memory banks of the long-ago generation that had the chance to visit trade shows with their pet pterodactyls. Dinosaur Planet was one such game.
Dinosaur Planet was planned to be Rare’s swansong for the N64 that would feature vast open environments, voiced elements, all of which would have been housed on the N64’s expansion pack, utilising a 64MB cartridge, the largest the console would have featured. However, development took a long time, and Nintendo eventually ordered the move from N64 to the new, at the time, Gamecube console.
Not only that, but the game was also moved to the StarFox franchise, eventually becoming the celebrated Star Fox Adventures. This was driven by the delays and the similarity between the anthropomorphic character design from Dinosaur Planet to that of Fox McCloud in Star Fox. Due to this change of both consoles and, primarily, the IP – getting to see the original idea for Dinosaur Planet would be through ancient videos, magazine articles, and word of mouth passed down through the millennia. Until Now.
After purchasing a disc featuring the leaked build (that happens to be playable) from the first of December, 2000, Twitter user Forest of Illusion has posted it online for all to experience and enjoy. Of course, as an old and unfinished build, one during the conversion towards Star Fox Adventures, this isn’t going to be a perfect experience. Forest of Illusion makes that clear, saying:
The game will currently not run 100% perfectly on any emulator. Expect many graphical issues with shadows and lighting, and some slowdown. It should however, work perfectly fine with flashcarts.
Today we have released Dinosaur Planet by Rare for Nintendo 64. The development was halted and moved to the GameCube, where it was then released as Star Fox Adventures. Enjoy! (More info in this thread).
— Forest of Illusion (@forestillusion) February 20, 2021
Either way, I’m all for the preservation of gaming history. Older builds, demos (looking at you PT), and more. This is a great find and one that I’ll be trying out myself.