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Original Banjo-Kazooie Developers Share Sentiment That There Is No Demand For A New Game, Interview Reveals


Posted on July 5, 2023 by Nick Moreno

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Right now, Rare Ltd. continues to keep itself occupied with Xbox hit Sea of Thieves. With more than 25 million players that entered the uncharted waters, the live-service continues to receive new content periodically. Additionally, the U.K. team is also working on the long-awaited Everwild. Previously, it was reported that the game with no sturdy foundation found itself restarting development in summer 2021.

However, there is a longing cry for more Banjo-Kazooie. And whilst Microsoft has answered the hunger with legacy support via Rare Replay, there has been little spared on a new game. But, that’s not to say there has been no sighting of the titular characters. In fact, the duo was welcomed to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster a couple years ago. Not to mention the original Nintendo 64 game also playable on Nintendo Switch Online too.

So, is there a demand for a new game truly? Well, according to the original composer, not really. When speaking to Video Game Chronicles, it is said there’s little certainty an audience is present for another Banjo-Kazooie title.

I feel like you’d have to get a team with the humour that we had back then, and that’s hard to replicate. I think Rare would be open to somebody if they found the right team, but I don’t feel like that team exists. Also, I’m not convinced the audience is there either… I don’t feel like there are that many Banjo fans out there.

The whole Smash Bros. thing was spectacular… it really was. I think all the team that worked on that game had a tear in their eye when Banjo turned up in Smash Bros… it was just an unbelievable release of emotion. Seeing all those [fans] crying on videos was heart-warming, and we all felt it. That was a once-in-a-lifetime event when that happened.

But I still feel like, is there that multimillion-dollar thing within Banjo-Kazooie? I’m not convinced there is. I do sometimes feel that we exist in a kind of Banjo-Kazooie bubble, where it sounds like a great big noise, but how big that bubble is, I don’t know… outside of that bubble, how big is that audience?

Grant Kirkland, Banjo-Kazooie Composer

Furthermore, lead programmer Chris Sutherland expressed a similar tune in terms of the demand for new Banjo-Kazooie content. “For a long time, there was doubt whether there was any audience for that type of game. Of course, there’s some audience, but is there enough to justify the kind of scale of game you would need now [for a first-party title]?”

He continues: “Obviously, Nintendo does well with their platformers, but that’s Nintendo, and they’re often the exception to the rule. That’s the big question. The characters themselves, like we’ve seen with Smash Bros., people have a love for them. But do they love that game?

“And if you made a different kind of game, would you be back to a Nuts ‘n’ Bolts thing, where it wasn’t what they were expecting? I’m still hopeful that something will appear, and we’ll all be proved wrong.” Howbeit, character designer Steve Mayles views the best opportunity to bring this to a reality would be a remaster so resources aren’t wasted on the isolated endeavor.

I’ve said before, that would be the way to do it… because obviously, it takes so much money to create a brand new, top-end game that the sensible thing to do would be some kind of remaster to test the water and see if the audience is there. But importantly, I think it would have to come out on a Nintendo platform as well.

Adding to this comment, Kirkland shares: “I have to say, having worked with Ubisoft Milan on the two Mario Rabbids games, I believe that they would make a great Banjo game. I’ve said it to them a couple of times. I really feel like they’ve got that passion that we had back in the day at Rare. I didn’t think I’d meet anybody that had that passion, but I really feel they have.”

And that could very well be the best option. From our review for Mario+Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, we commended Ubisoft for its faithful approach to the artstyle most tied to Super Mario. “This game has great looking cutscenes that I felt were more iconic. Ubisoft definitely deserves credit with how the game looks and its art style. I don’t have much complaints about it.” You can read the full piece by heading here.

What is your thoughts on the statements from the former Rare developers?

Source: Video Game Chronicles

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