A very small number of the wonderful animal companions that Donkey Kong has had over the years returned when Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze blasted onto the Wii U and later the Switch. But creative director Vince Joly revealed the Retro Studios team nearly brought back a fan favorite, Enguarde the Swordfish, in an interview that appeared in the most recent issue of Retro Gamer (via Nintendo Everything).
Squawks the Parrot and Rambi the Rhinoceros were the only returning characters in Tropical Freeze, and the Switch version also introduced a brand-new parrot named Tawks to the mix. The team’s desire to keep the game similar to the previous entry, Donkey Kong Country Returns, prevented them from adding more.
Joly considers the reasoning for the selection:
“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, new gameplay elements and more Kongs were included, including, most importantly, Funky Kong. Joly and the group nevertheless gave one of our favorite companions some thought. Joly acknowledges 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.”
We miss Squitter the Spider, Rattly the Rattlesnake, and Ellie the Elephant a lot, but the excerpts did help us think about them even though they don’t go into more detail. particularly Enguarde.
Since Enguard hasn’t appeared in a Donkey Kong game since Donkey Kong Barrel Blast on the Wii, we believe it’s high time the Swordfish made a comeback. He might have found Tropical Freeze to be a little too cold.