Ape Escape Wiki
Ape Escape Wiki
Project KIDZ

Project KIDZ (プロジェクトキッズ) was a 3D Action Adventure prototype to a game that would eventually become Ape Escape.


Though the main concept of the game seemed to be the same, with most of the characters and art style remaining, it seems there was a shift from an originally more medieval fantasy-esque setting to the more sci-fi style in the final game.


The plot of the game would have revolved around The Professor sending Spike to an "Animal World" where primates ruled the world as villains. Spike would venture throughout the world, trying to find a way back home.


In Project KIDZ, Spike would have moved with the Left Stick, and have an animal companion be moved with the Right Stick. While the animal movement was scrapped, the idea was reworked into the R.C. Car Gadget. Monkeys also appeared in the prototype, but there was no catching mechanic added.


The character designs and general art direction are remarkably close to the final game in many ways. This concept art contains some unused characters, but otherwise contains quite recognizable depictions of characters that we would see in the final game.

  • Spike's appearance is similar to his final design, but seems more mature, slightly taller and has an earing on his left ear. Spike's horizontally-striped shirt matches some unused sprites found in the data of Ape Escape, showing that some ideas from this artbook, at one time, made it off the paper and into the game in some form, before the changes were made. In some artworks, his blonde tuft on his forehead is gone, making him look similar to Jimmy.
    • Spike also had an animal companion on his shoulder that may or may not have evolved into Pipotchi.
  • Specter seems to have gone through the most changes, having multiple different designs and different simian species. Despite this, one consistent trait for his prototype designs is that he has always had a unique helmet and throne to set him apart from the other apes, along with his albino coloring.
  • Natalie, The Professor, and Jake's designs are close to the final game, although Jake wears a grey shirt in one piece of artwork, and in another artwork he is seen wearing a shirt that resembles his Pumped & Primed outfit.
  • While Casi's has her final design in one piece of artwork, there are also several different outfits for her, including what could possibly be a maid outfit that may or may not have been reused for Ape Escape -On Air- 2nd.
  • Helga also strangely appears in this artwork, suggesting that Helga was originally planned to be in the prototype/original build Ape Escape. Since she wields a Stun Club in a piece of artwork, it's possible that she could have either been a second playable character, similar to Yumi, or an another assistant character like Casi.
  • There are also several characters shown that don't appear in the final game, including a female mage, and a male monk. It is unknown what type of role they would have served.


While it doesn't seem like Gadgets appear in this concept, Spike is seen wielding a sword and a wooden club, similarly to the Stun Club.



  • This artbook seems to explain why the word "Kidz" was used so much in the first Ape Escape. The word can be seen in some of the levels, on signs, graffiti, and game consoles, as well as the Ski Kidz Racing minigame. These mentions of the word are most likely either leftovers from when the game had this name, or inside references to the game's development teams.
    • It's possible that the apes in Monkey Madness that play arcade cabinets reading "Kidz" are intended to be playing the prototype game that evolved into Ape Escape.
  • There are also some designs of scrapped characters resembling wizards and witches. These designs might have inspired the Fantasy Knight transformation in Ape Escape 3.