Super Nintendo World, the Super Mario-themed area of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, finally opened back in March after multiple delays, and Nintendo may already be working on expanding the park. As noted by VGC, social media posts from recent visitors to USJ have shown cranes, scaffolding, and a jungle-themed backdrop around Super Nintendo World, suggesting work is underway on the rumored Donkey Kong area.
Neither Nintendo nor Universal have ever announced the Donkey Kong plans, but they’ve been rumored for many years. Leaked early concept imagery for Super Nintendo World included plans for a separate Donkey Kong-themed zone, including a mine cart-style roller coaster. Upon opening, Super Nintendo World was solely Mario-themed, but there is a conspicuously large locked door (above) that looks like it could serve as an entrance to a Donkey Kong-styled section of the park. DK assets have also been datamined from the USJ app, hinting at the addition of extra in-park collectibles.
Donkey Kong is a natural fit for the existing Super Nintendo World park. Mario first appeared in the original Donkey Kong arcade game, of course, and Donkey Kong in turn shows up in games like Mario Kart and the various Mario-themed sports series. As such, the addition shouldn’t compromise the feeling that Super Nintendo World is one cohesive park. However, it does mean that the park isn’t really covering the full breadth of Nintendo’s IP, with some omissions like The Legend of Zelda feeling particularly obvious.
Universal also plans to open Nintendo areas at its parks in Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore, but it’s yet to be confirmed when construction on any of them will be completed.