Banjo-Kazooie is making a return to a Nintendo console as the Bear and Bird join the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster later this year.
Phil Spencer, the executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, talked to Kotaku about Rare’s most popular property finally making the leap into the world of Smash.
“The ‘how’ is not actually that interesting,” Spencer said. “There wasn’t anything kind of CEO-to-CEO that had to happen,” he said. “People have asked me on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen that over many years: ‘Would I welcome having Banjo in Smash?’ and I’ve always been open to that.”
Throughout the years of fans asking for Banjo in Smash, Spencer has, in fact, been vocal in his willingness to see the crossover happen. Several times when asked about the potential of Nintendo including the animal duo, Spencer was adamant that Microsoft and Nintendo had a good working relationship. He said he would love to see something come from that in regards to Smash.
“The licensing relationships between the two companies, they’re there and are kind of ongoing,” Spencer said. “The reason it’s not some interesting, deep conversation is because with us owning Rare and the history between those two things, there are a lot of conversations over the years about, ‘Hey, we want to do “X” is that okay?’ I think it’s cool that Banjo is going to be in Smash.”
Following the full announcement during Nintendo’s E3 Direct, Spencer simply tweeted out the word yes, in all caps, quoting Nintendo of America’s tweet about the crossover. Rare also tweeted about the crossover, telling fans that it was listening and worked with Nintendo to make the crossover happen.
“Obviously we’re one of the biggest third-party publishers on Switch, so we have great relationships with their third-party team,” Spencer said. “And you’ve seen the ambition they’ve had with every character that’s ever been in Smash and even more. So it was just kind of part of the partnership relationship we have with them.”
Along with the Banjo-Kazooie news, Microsoft is also publishing New Super Lucky’s Tale and Minecraft Dungeons on Switch this Fall and next Spring respectively.