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Banjo-Kazooie composer Grant Kirkhope: “I don’t know if they’ll ever be a new Banjo”

Grant Kirkhope, composer of the original Banjo-Kazooie, talked to VideoGamesChronicle about the possibility of a new game in the franchise. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot he can really say. Kirkhope says that, simply put, “I don’t know if they’ll ever be a new Banjo”. Kirkhope also says that “I’m just a composer. I have no connection to that decision what-so-ever”. The good news is that the reaction to Banjo-Kazooie in Smash Ultimate was heard loud and clear by Nintendo. You can see his full remarks about the matter down below.

“My honest opinion is I don’t know if they’ll ever be a new Banjo. It’s easy to go, ‘look at these numbers’, but it might be a drop in the ocean for Xbox. Is there a market for it? I just don’t know. I would think that Rare probably doesn’t have the appetite for it. They’re super busy with Sea of Thieves and that’s a gigantic game: it’s going to take the whole studio to keep making content for that.

Maybe the E3 reception has made Microsoft think about it, but the trouble is, if I say anything more definitive than that then the fans will think I’m in the know! When really, I’m just a composer. I have no connection to that decision what-so-ever. Gregg Mayles and Tim Stamper are the real inventors of Banjo… I’m just the most visible on social media.

They (Nintendo) were surprised by how crazy it went. The E3 reveal seemed to be gigantic. When I was speaking to Nintendo back at their booth at E3, they were all saying it was a bigger reaction than they’re normally used to for Smash. So Nintendo did recognize that it was a big deal. They were surprised. And we all were: it was such a huge release for all those fans who’ve been waiting so long for a new game.

Rare need to find somebody like that who gets the game, who really loves it, gets the humour, comes up with a great plot and then kicks on. They would need to find an external studio who really cares about the project and wants to do it, like they did with Killer Instinct and also similar to how Ubisoft Milan did a great job with Mario + Rabbids.”


20 thoughts on “Banjo-Kazooie composer Grant Kirkhope: “I don’t know if they’ll ever be a new Banjo””

    1. “if I say anything more definitive than that then the fans will think I’m in the know! When really, I’m just a composer. I have no connection to that decision what-so-ever.”
      This right here. This is the really important part in all of this. This is the thing to keep in mind.

    2. While Banjo Kazooie was one of my favorite games growing up, I just don’t see another good game happening. It’s been 20 years since the last good Banjo game, and if Yooka Laylee is anything to go by, a new one would be pretty lackluster.

      1. So you’re saying that a sequel, based on the reception of a spiritual successor developed by a smaller team (that doesn’t even have a Wikipedia article) and kickstarted by fans (despite not being the original), would be lackluster.

        If Super Mario Odyssey is anything to go by on the new tens platformer genre, Banjo-Kazooie can make a huge resurgence. All they have to do is expand on what they did last time (in Banjo-TOOIE), plus more. If Breath of the Wild can 10/10 with its giant secluded wasteland, Banjo-Threeie (or whatever they decide to call it) could be more populated and busy than Super Mario Odyssey.

    3. If it falls to the same trappings as Yooka-Laylee with having not just the best that N64 had to offer but also the very worst the N64 had to offer, it will just be a waste of time. I hate to say it but Super Smash Bros Ultimate might be the best (and only) place where Banjo & Kazooie will be relevant. :/

      1. We already had a new Banjo game. It was called Super Mario Odyssey.

        “Travel across a handful of worlds where you can collect a huge number of relatively insignificant shiny things, each of which is embarrassingly easy to acquire when you stop and judge these things separately. To keep the “barely hidden scavenger hunt” game design from getting monotonous, we’ll throw in a transformation in each area which will give you exactly one new ability that serves little purpose other than traversing the arbitrary obstacles we placed just to force you to use them.”

        Joking aside, a high quality new Banjo game could be hugely successful for precisely the reason I just gave. People eat up a constant barrage of novelty. The real problem isn’t the idea. It’s the execution. Who at Rare knows how to make a 3D platformer anymore? They can’t have Nintendo do it right?

    4. Maybe this would be a situation where a fangame could save it? Sometimes no one gets what makes games great quite like the fans- just ask SEGA in regards to Sonic. We’d just have to hope Rare/MS would turn a blind eye and let it be (just as SEGA had) or even bring those individuals on board for a legit game.

      1. Yookah-Lylee was in some ways this fangame. But it didn’t save that much as it’s pretty mediocre.
        I understand it’s not done by fans, but it’S main mission was to create something like BK for modern systems to come after that demand.

      2. Nintendo produced a little animation with this whole Donkey Kong/ Banjo-pun. This alone might have costed quite something. Too much to then act like they were surprised by the reactions. Plus Nintendo aren’t some Kings in a high castle, but people around the world like you and me. If you and me know how much fans would like to see Banjo on a Nintendo platform again, they of course know just as well and maybe even better.

        If Nintendo x Microsoft becomes a thing, I don’t really see any reason why they shouldn’t at least give us the N64 port of Banjo Kazooie at some point. Microsoft can also read the numbers and might have noticed how well Minecraft and Cuphead are doing on the Switch and if they really don’t care that much about Banjo like Kirkhope claims, it wouldn’t even hurt them to earn some bucks more with it.

        1. Because I just mentioned Yookah Laylee in an answer above, this is another reason how Nintendo of course knows aboutthe hype and potential of BK.
          Yookah Laylee was like the fastest game to be backed on kickstarter in history and I believe around 60-70 % backed for the WiiU version. Which is ridiculous considering the smaller audience (and slower performance) of the WiiU compared to PS4 and XBox One.
          These people backed this game because it was the closest thing to Banjo Kazooie they could probably get.

          If Nintendo could get the rights to publish a new Banjo game on Switch, it doesn’t even have to be so good. It will just sell anyways. And by now, MS and Nintendo might know that. But sure, either MS don’t wanna give that franchise back to Nintendo for obvious reasons or they just don’t care as much.

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