After years of waiting, video game fans’ patience was finally rewarded last May with the opening of Universal Studios Japan’s Nintendo expansion. We were there the second the gates opened, and had a blast exploring the Mushroom Kingdom, racing Mario Karts, and collecting coins.
Really, the only feasible complaint one could make is that even though the area is called Super Nintendo World, it only focuses on the "Super Mario" franchise. That room for complaint is going to be growing smaller, though, as Universal Studios Japan has just announced that it’s adding a second section to Super Nintendo World, and this time it’s a different star’s time to shine, as the new expansion will be Donkey Kong-themed.
While Donkey Kong got his start as Mario’s original adversary (back in the days before Mario’s name was completely finalized), he later evolved into a hero in his own right with 1994’s "Donkey Kong Country," which restarted the "Donkey Kong" series after a decade of inactivity. USJ describes the new area as “the green jungle where Donkey Kong and his friends live,” and the ape is shown wearing a tie in the promotional image. Since Donkey Kong didn’t acquire friends or formal attire until "Donkey Kong Country," it looks like the modern version of the character is where the focus will be for the Super Nintendo World expansion, so odds are Diddy, Dixie, and other simian supporting cast members will be waiting to greet guests as well.
USJ is promising an array of new Donkey Kong-themed food, drink, and merch, so we can probably expect plenty of banana-based desserts and barrel plushies on offer. There’s also going to be “an innovative new roller coaster,” and possibly space for other attractions as well, since the Donkey Kong zone is going to expand the total area of Super Nintendo World by an additional 70 percent.
▼ The Donkey Kong jungle, marked in yellow, will be located adjacent to the Mushroom Kingdom, with its entrance passing through where a wall currently stands between Mount Beanpole and the 1-Up Factory gift shop.
Ironically, in 1984 Universal Studios unsuccessfully sued Nintendo in the U.S., claiming that the arcade game was an infringement on Universal’s "King Kong" intellectual property rights, but apparently that’s now all water under the bridge/barrels under the Jumpman.
As with the first Super Nintendo World section, Nintendo luminary and Donkey Kong creator Shigeru Miyamoto is involved with the planning and development of the expansion, and had the following to say:
“Following up on the Mario world, I’m very excited to bring Donkey Kong’s world into our own! We’re working with the talented staff at Universal Studios to make some thrilling Donkey Kong experiences. It’ll still be a little while before they’re ready, but we’re hoping to create an area with unique experiences that even people who haven’t played the Donkey Kong series games will enjoy.”
The Super Nintendo World Donkey Kong expansion is scheduled to open in 2024.
Source: Universal Studios Japan via Otakomu
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