The next big Nintendo Switch game could bring back a fan-favorite character

Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong and Kranky Kong swinging on a vine
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo is apparently planning to bring Donkey Kong back in a big way, which means everyone’s favorite ape could be swinging onto Nintendo Switch soon.

According to Nintendo insider Zippo and Nintendo Life, the company is planning to bring the tie-wearing simian back just in time for the franchise’s 40th anniversary, similar to how Nintendo celebrated Mario’s 35th anniversary, and the next game will be developer by the Super Mario Odyssey team. 

“I’ve been told by multiple people that Donkey Kong is the next franchise in line to follow Mario in Nintendo’s push for their game franchises to become multimedia juggernauts,” Zippo said.

“Donkey and co. aren’t just getting a new game, they’re getting [an] animation (before this catches fire, my sources did not specify whether or not this was a movie or a show, just that an animation featuring DK characters was early in the works), a big theme park expansion, merchandise, etc,” Zippo continued. “This new game is not just a one off, DK is being taken seriously at the big N again, and that should be good news for fans everywhere.”

While DK’s revival is only a rumor for now, a theme park expansion would make sense now that Super Nintendo World has opened at Universal Studios Japan. An animation also wouldn’t be off the cards, as Nintendo recently appointed Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri onto its board as an Outside director. Illumination Entertainment is working on a Super Mario animated movie, with the film expected to launch in 2022.

This isn’t the first time that Zippo has suggested that Nintendo is working on a new Donkey Kong game: “It’s the big ape’s 40th anniversary, and while I’m not sure how Nintendo is celebrating the occasion, there is a new 2D DK game being developed by EPD Tokyo,” Zippo said.

“Retro is obviously busy with other things, so Nintendo has taken it upon themselves to bring DK back in as [an] internal series. Don’t expect the ‘Country’ moniker to return, as EPD Tokyo are not interested in making a sequel to games they didn’t make.”

Ooo, banana

The last notable Donkey Kong game that Nintendo released was Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which was first released on the Wii U in 2014 and was later ported to Nintendo Switch in 2018 with a “Funky Mode” that introduced Funky Kong as a playable character. Since then, however, the loveable ape hasn’t had his own dedicated game for a number of years. 

The announcement of an animated series or film along with a new game would make sense, then, and could be the perfect way to commemorate one of Nintendo’s oldest IP, which first made its debut in the arcades.

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.