As many gamers that owned a Nintendo 64 during the the 90s may be able to attest to, Banjo-Kazooie is heralded as one of the better platforming series to ever exist. The franchise, spearheaded by the Twycross-based studio Rare, brought with it some of the quirkiest and unforgettable characters. Following the studio’s acquisition by Microsoft, however, the property was seemingly shelved – only emerging on the Xbox 360 in the form of a one-off kart racer known as Nut & Bolts.
Since then fans have rallied to see the protagonists brought back, whether that be Banjo and Kazooie appearing as playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or in a brand new game. While the former is still up in the air, the latter is a possibility… provided that the right studio were to come along and ask for the rights.
That’s what the composer behind the Banjo-Kazooie series, Grant Kirkhope, told Okay, Cool during a recent interview. After being asked whether or not Banjo could see a remake akin to Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy or even a sequel like “Banjo-Threeie” in the future, Kirkope stated the following:
“That’s my same point. You know, I don’t feel like… the only way I think Banjo-Kazooie would get remade is if another studio took it on. Rare haven’t got an appetite. They don’t want to do it, I don’t think. I don’t know, but I’ve got friends over there and we don’t talk about it. It’s just such a gut feeling in that Rare wouldn’t do another Banjo-Kazooie game. Convince somebody else to do it.
Like, Killer Instinct was done by that other studio, I forgot what they’re called. I kinda feel like if Banjo was to happen again they’d fire it off to somebody else. And whether they’d get the humour of it, and make a good game out of it, I don’t know. You know, I’d probably say no. But then, I just worked on a Mario Rabbids with a studio in Milan that got all the Mario-ness, they got it, picked all of it up, put in a game and its Nintendo quality. So, it’s completely possible.
I guess it would take a studio to approach Rare and say: “Give us a Banjo IP, we wanna make a game.” You gotta think there’s money in it – there’s gotta be money in it for somebody. If they can make money out of it, then I guess they can have a go out of it. But my guess is Rare haven’t got the appetite for a Banjo-K game. They might, but it doesn’t [look] like that to me.”
When we touched upon whether or not a new project could even be done without Rare given that Banjo-Kazooie had been created by such a close-knit group of developers, Kirkhope seemed optimistic.
“Yeah, I used to always think like that. But I guess these days I’m like “aaah, but there are tons of Banjo-Kazooie fans out there who really get it and love it.” I used to think it was impossible, but I don’t think its impossible anymore. I think it is possible. You just have to get the right bunch of people, you know, that got together to do it. Like I say, Davide Soliani [creative director for Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle] and the guys in Milan and Paris pulled… did a great Mario game. Who would’ve thought they would have pulled that off ? They’re so passionate about Mario and the Nintendo universe that they all, you know, slept it, ate it, drank it. That’s their thing. They put their whole balls into that, you know, making that Rabbids game. And that’s fantastic. So, I think it is doable now. I think it is. You just gotta find the right people.”
Well keep our fingers crossed for a Banjo-Kazooie return in the near future, but for now stay tuned to Okay, Cool as we finish transcribing the full interview with Grant Kirkhope. Some cool tidbits emerged from it. Like, did you know Banjo was given a backpack because they were trendy in Japan? It’s true!
You can find Riley on Twitter at @TheRileyLittle where he apparently makes tweets worthy of an entire ResetEra thread. Serves him right for using hashtags.