Banjo and his partner Kazooie haven’t been in a Nintendo game since 2005’s Banjo-Pilot thanks to complicated intellectual property rigamarole that cropped up when Microsoft acquired Rare in 2002. With a new Smash Bros. coming to the Switch, there’s plenty of speculation about new fighters. Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Gaming seems completely fine with tossing in everyone’s favorite bird and bear duo into fray.
The upcoming Smash title for the Switch provides a new opportunity for amazing video game crossovers. And seeing how the series has features both Solid Snake and Cloud Strife, Banjo would hardly be the strangest fighter on the roster. Yesterday, an eager fan asked Phil Spencer, who heads the company’s Xbox division, if he’d be interested in seeing Banjo in Smash.
It’s not the first time this has come up. Back in 2015, Microsoft’s Spencer, replied to a Tweet asking if Banjo could be DLC for the latest Smash Bros. game, Super Smash Bros. 4. While one might expect the answer to be no, seeing as Microsoft and Nintendo are competing companies, Spencer’s answers was positive.
“I think it would be cool if Banjo was in the next SSB DLC,” he said at the time. “We’ve worked with Nintendo on Rare IP before, no issues.”
Nintendo and Rare collaborated on a number of projects before the company was acquired by Microsoft in 2002, including Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie. Copyright issues prevented an HD version of Goldeneye from coming to the Xbox 360. Meanwhile, companies like Sony have attempted to create Smash-like titles such as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale but none of these projects contain crossover characters with Nintendo.
Of course, Spencer saying he’s down with Banjo being in Smash doesn’t really mean that much. There’s undoubtedly plenty of game designers and executives who would love to see their favorite character leap into the fray. But given Banjo’s connection to Nintendo and Spencer’s own enthusiasm, Banjo’s chances are much greater than, say, Dante.