Few gaming franchises in the world have the the nostalgia factor of Banjo-Kazooie. The series’ last core, platforming instalment arrived on the Nintendo 64 back in 2000, but that hasn’t stopped longtime followers of the property from campaigning to get a new iteration of the series kickstarted.
While demand remains steady for the now Microsoft-owned series to make its return, it’s still interesting to learn how and why development and design decisions for Rare’s original characters were made in the hopes of maintaining longterm appeal. For example, take Banjo’s backpack, which was initially given to the character as a result of Japan’s miniature backpack fad.
This bit of information originates from an exclusive interview that Okay, Cool held with Banjo-Kazooie‘s composer, Grant Kirkhope. After being asked what it was like to see the character from an early design perspective, Kirkhope had the following to say:
“So, yeah, I mean it was a slow evolvement to get to where Banjo became in the end. His outfit changed a bit. Bits and pieces changed a bit, you know. But, you know, it was a fun character, right? At the time in Japan those little backpacks, they were massively popular fashion-wise, like everyone wore them, so, you know, we were always conscious of Japan because it’s a big market and Nintendo was from there, right? So, put Banjo in a backpack, it’s a good place to put his stuff. And then how can he fly? A couple of wings popped out of the backpack to make him fly and then it turned into a full-on bird and it kind fo evolved like that.”
Within the same interview, Kirkhope also elaborated on if he believed that Banjo and Kazooie would appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Whether or not the bear and bird make the cut in Nintendo’s all-star fighting game remains to be seen, but learning about one of the decisions behind having Banjo wear a backpack – which then eventually lead to the creation of Kazooie – is always a cool tidbit for longtime fans.
And really, knowing that a Japanese fashion scene is at least partially responsible for Banjo being so fashionable in the 90s (and still beloved nearly two decades later) almost makes me want to resurrect my frosted tips and throw on a fanny pack.
For those interested, Okay, Cool’s full interview with Grant Kirkhope will be posted soon. So be sure to stay tuned if you want to learn a lot more about the development of Banjo-Kazooie.
You can find Riley on Twitter at @TheRileyLittle if you ever want to pester him about about Banjo-Kazooie or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.