E3 is always the one time of the year where gamer’s hype is at its all-time peak. People flock to Los Angeles to go to the conference, they have parties and invite all their friends, or they livestream their reactions for thousands to watch and be a part of. For a lot of people, E3 is better than Christmas. There is something for everyone and although every conference isn’t equally as good, there is at least one thing that will make anyone get up and cheer. During this year’s E3, something that got a lot of people roaring, cheering and screaming, was the reveal of Banjo–Kazooie being added into Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
The last Banjo–Kazooie game was made in 2008, 11 years ago, and since then Rare has done nothing with this beautiful IP. Nintendo fans, however, have been begging for their addition to Smash for years. The characters just made so much sense since they were a popular retro character duo from fan-favorite Nintendo titles,. There was a lot of doubt on whether or not it would happen, because Rare and Nintendo’s relationship hasn’t been good since they were bought out by Microsoft, but that question has been laid to rest. But with it, a new one has arisen: is a new Banjo–Kazooie, or at least a remaster in the works for the Switch?
Let’s look at the facts, ladies and gentlemen. Even though it might not have been right away, for every third-party character that we have gotten for the DLC packs, there has been some sort of tie-in game in that has happened or will happen. With Joker we got Persona 5 Scramble and Persona Q2, The Hero from Dragon Quest is coming with the port of Dragon Quest 11. Even Simon and Richter Belmont came with a Castlevania collection. Nintendo has always used adding characters to Smash as a way to drum up hype for new games/ports because it’s effective. Will Banjo-Kazooie get something on the Switch? My educated guess is yes.
Although critics liked Nuts & Bolts, longtime fans were pretty unhappy with the direction the series was going. They have, however, enjoyed the re-releases of the first two Banjo games. The truth is that Banjo-Kazooie very much feels like a Nintendo property. Their cartoony look and the adventure-y gameplay really lent themselves to Nintendo fans, as their games always felt very Mario-like — some would even say they were much better. Microsoft and Xbox feel like they are much better left to FPS games, and games that benefit from looking as good as they possibly can on the most powerful console this generation, not a cartoon game like Banjo–Kazooie. Collect-a-thons and 3D platformers aren’t a very popular genre these days, but you know what? Mario Odyssey was pretty much a collect-a-thon, and it’s one of the best selling games on the Switch.
I think an entirely new Banjo game is very much up in the air since no one really knows what Rare is up to these days (besides continuing to support Sea of Thieves and making Battletoads, which doesn’t look like it would take a lot of development power), but if it were happening, I have no doubt that Microsoft wouldn’t mind putting the game on Switch. They have time and time again said that they want people to be able to enjoy their games anywhere, on any device. They have lent multiple IP’s like Cuphead so they could be on the Switch, and the relationship between Nintendo & Microsoft just seems to get stronger and stronger. At the end of the day, I think a whole remaster of this game is in the works, with new, updated graphics, not just upscaled, and that it will be on both Xbox and the Switch. Rare could be using this as a way to gauge interest in the series, just like the developers of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro did. It worked for them and it will work for Banjo and I think Rare and Microsoft understand that… I hope. There was a weird listing on Amazon Germany for a new Banjo-Kazooie game, but it’s probably safe to assume someone made a mistake.
Banjo-Kazooie fans have waited very patiently for news on their favourite bear-and-bird duo, and it seems their waiting has somewhat paid off. They are encouraged to continue being vocal about wanting new games and remasters because companies do listen to what fans want. Banjo–Kazooie is heading to Smash Bros Ultimate this fall.