Conker is having another bad fur day.
The Conker character, a raunchy squirrel known from the cult hit Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001), returns in an augmented reality tech demo game called Young Conker for Microsoft’s HoloLens headset with a drastically different appearance, the company revealed on Monday.
Conker’s makeover features a long, thin body attached to an oversized head and bushy tail. His face is strangely altered from its former cartoonish style, at times looking much older and more serious. The facial expressions become highly exaggerated and animated during certain situations. He bounces and flies around the living room collecting coins, fighting enemies like the returning Weasels and even walking up walls.
Young Conker is basically a tech demo aimed at developers for Microsoft’s new augmented reality headset that features holographic lenses. The new Conker game is a platformer designed to show off the device’s capabilities for the living room and other spaces. The virtual levels are made from what the player has in their living areas, such as a couch, table or other furniture. Gameplay will change according to where the player is located.
Young Conker is developed by Asobo Studio, a French company founded in 2002 that made Fuel (2009), licensed games such as Toy Story 3 (2010) for older platforms like the PlayStation 2 and most recently the Xbox 360 and PC versions of Ubisoft’s The Crew (2014). The studio has experience working with different Microsoft technology, as it developed the Kinect game Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure for the Xbox 360 in 2012.
Asobo Studio worked with Rare to design Conker’s redesigned appearance. Chris Seavor, Conker’s original voice actor, once again voiced the character for Young Conker but wasn’t made aware of the squirrel’s new look.
Young Conker will apparently offer gameplay not possible without the use of HoloLens and augmented reality, according to Microsoft.
“Young Conker tailors each of the levels you play to your real world,” Kudo Tsunoda, the corporate vice president of Windows Apps Studio and former creative director of Kinect, said on the Window’s blog. “This means every person gets a unique gameplay experience since each gamer’s real world environment is unique. It is amazing how different the play experience feels based on playing the game in your living room versus your kitchen or your bedroom.”
Microsoft also announced on Monday the Development Edition of its HoloLens will start shipping on March 30 in the U.S. and Canada, with pre-orders now open for a limited audience whose applications are accepted. The device will cost $3,000. Young Conker will be one of the featured game demos for the headset kit.
The Development Edition will also include access to other starter titles like Fragments (also made by Asobo Studios) and RoboRaid, a crime-solving thriller and a shooting game with robots. An application called “HoloTour” will let users travel the world and interact with famous locations and landmarks. Enhanced applications like Microsoft’s Skype will also be part of HoloLens. A creation program called “HoloStudio” will let users create 3D hologram objects and add them to their environment, even turning them into real-life items using a 3D printer.
HoloLens runs on Windows 10 to deliver augmented reality experiences in living spaces and other areas that virtually builds upon objects in the environment. The headset doesn’t need a PC, phone or any other hardware to work. Microsoft first announced HoloLens in January 2015. The company calls its headset a “mixed reality” device.
Conker was originally developed by Rare in the late ’90s. He first appeared as a playable character in 1997’s Diddy Kong Racing on the Nintendo 64. His first game was the 1999 Game Boy Color release Conker’s Pocket Tales as a kid-friendly mascot. Conker’s Bad Fur Day released for the N64 in 2001 near the end of the console’s life. The Mature-rated platformer game showed a drastically different Conker and is known for its crude humor, raunchiness and memorable characters. Rare and the Conker IP were bought by Microsoft in 2002. A few years later Bad Fur Day was ported to the original Xbox in June 2005 in a game called Conker: Live and Reloaded, a remake of the original with improved graphics that featured online multiplayer.
Conker remained dormant for almost a decade before making a return in 2015 with Project Spark (2014), an Xbox One and PC title that allows players to make and download user-generated creations designed from its in-game tools. Conker had his own official downloadable content for Project Spark called Conker’s Big Reunion in April 2015, where players could go through a short campaign mode and design content involving the series. Future content for the game involving Conker was cancelled last year as Project Spark changed its model, going completely free-to-play.
Check out Conker’s new look in this reveal trailer: