Project Dream was an unreleased RPG video game that was originally to be developed for the Super NES, but was moved to the Nintendo 64. It was eventually redeveloped into what is now Banjo-Kazooie.
Project Dream started out in 1994-1995 as a seafaring RPG for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with the intent of being Rareware's masterpiece on the console, using the ACM (Advanced Computer Modeling) technique of bitmapping pre-rendered graphics, much like the Donkey Kong Country series.
There was a demo of the SNES version with a full introduction sequence and one level, and according to composer Grant Kirkhope, if it still exists, it may be locked away somewhere at Rare's headquarters. Mr. Kirkhope had also commented this on the demo, "I was blown away. It looked beautiful and a step up above the Donkey Kong Country games."
At one point during development, it was determined that Dream was too big a game for the SNES to handle, so it was moved to the Nintendo 64DD, to be redeveloped as a 3D RPG in the style of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (which was first shown at Nintendo Space World in December 1995), featuring a unique 3D terrain system with environments created by stretching out the polygons.
However, the Nintendo 64 lacked the processing power needed to maintain these types of environments at a steady frame rate. Taking inspiration from Twelve Tales: Conker 64 (which was being developed by the Killer Instinct team, and would eventually become the adult-oriented Conker's Bad Fur Day), along with Rareware's previous experience with platforming games, Dream was remade by the development team (whose members had also worked on Donkey Kong Country) into a 3D platformer in the vein of Super Mario 64, but kept some of the elements of the RPG.
After deeming the game's main protagonist, Edison, to be too "generic", Rare began to experiment with several woodland characters that had previously been secondary characters, including "a dopey dog, a rabbit that looked like a man, and a bear." That bear character would eventually become Banjo.
Eventually, Dream was scrapped, and the development team started over from scratch, creating Banjo-Kazooie.
However, eventually Project Dream's seafaring setting would be used as a inspiration for Rare's newly announced game, Sea of Thieves, which was revealed at the E3 2015.
Along with that, near the end of May 2015, Tim Stamper brought up a rumor on Twitter that there were two prototype cartridges for Project Dream. He had then allegedly found one of the rumored cartridges in his closet in early June, as he then began to tease the fans with a humorous scenario in which he had to capture it. As of current, the cartridge was successfully captured in an ice key, and he is undergoing the process of thawing it out. This may be a hoax engineered by Stamper to promote Rare's upcoming 30th anniversary compilation for the XBox One, Rare Replay.
Project Dream, while not offering too much of a story, tells the tale of a boy adventurer by the name of Edison who, along with his girlfriend, Madeleine, gets tangled up with a bunch of no-good pirates named Flintlock Jock, Grim Jim, and their leader, the infamous Captain Blackeye, who commands the pirate ship known as the Mudplugger.
- Edison - The main character for the SNES version. He got himself in trouble with a crew of pirates lead by Captain Blackeye.
- Madeleine - Edison's girlfriend
- Banjo - He was originally designed to be a secondary character. However, he would later appear in his own game.
- Captain Blackeye - The infamous captain of a pirate crew and main antagonist of the game. He later appeared as a character in Banjo-Tooie at Jolly's Bar in Jolly Roger's Lagoon. He repeats the words "Once, I had a dream...", which may be a reference to his original role.
- Grim Jim - One of Blackeye's crew members
- Flintlock Jock - A member of Captain Blackeye's band of pirates
- Cockeye - A "good pirate and a bit of a mad professor", as Grant Kirkhope would put it.
- Big Belly - An obese pirate who was part of Captain Blackeye's crew on the Mudplugger. He likes to eat and drink a lot.
- A strange, unintelligent rabbit - This character was going to be a secondary character in the SNES version, but he was later put under consideration for the main protagonist, when Edison was considered "too generic".
- Tooty/Piccolo - Tooty was going to appear in the game as Banjo's girlfriend, and her original name was Piccolo, to match her musical instrument. This was later changed to Tooty.
- Grunty/The Giant - Gruntilda was originally meant to be a giant in the N64 version, but was later changed to that of a wicked witch for Banjo-Kazooie.
- Dinger - A dog who was one of the secondary characters that was under consideration for being the main protagonist when Edison was scrapped.
- Tiptup - He was also going to be a secondary character, much like Banjo was.
- Ella - Edison's girly and princess-ish younger sister, who was originally going to have a high pitched voice. Her original name may have been Leela Burns.
- Kazooie - Not originally scheduled to appear as a character in this one, but she appeared as a baby bird in a nest found and looked after by Ella, who first found the nest along with her egg and parents. The mother hatched Kazooie and the chick said her first word, "Bweee!!!" because she first appeared as a baby breegull.
Other minor characters, such as Bully, were also recently revealed by Grant Kirkhope on his website.
Even though Dream was not released, Grant Kirkhope (composer for the music of Banjo-Kazooie) had already composed 107 tunes for it. Some of these songs reappeared in one form or another, in the Banjo-Kazooie series, as well as other Rare games, such as Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, Donkey Kong 64, etc. Grant has released some of these on his website. Alternatively, one can listen to these tracks on YouTube.