Old School Nintendo Characters Banjo and Kazooie Return To Switch For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Old School Nintendo Characters Banjo and Kazooie Return To Switch For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Credit: Nintendo of America via Twitter

Nintendo announced the re-introduction of a very familiar duo to the Nintendo family for the brawling game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate today. To the surprise of fans everywhere⁠—Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie will be available to Nintendo players once again; this time on the Switch as a new challenger.

Rare first created the bird-and-bear duo in 1998 for the Nintendo 64, but after Microsoft purchased Rare in the early 2000s, the Banjo-Kazooie series became Microsoft’s franchise. With Microsoft retaining the rights to both characters, the team was not able to appear in the Super Smash Bros. series up until today. Nintendo announced the characters would be available as special DLC characters for the game.

In the original Banjo-Kazooie, a 1998 3D-platformer for the Nintendo 64, players combined the skills of the yellow-pants-wearing Banjo the bear and his red-bird sidekick, Kazooie, who spends most of her time in Banjo’s backpack. Both characters must travel from world to world to learn abilities to defeat the evil Gruntilda. Every new ability learned combines the strengths of both characters’ individual fighting styles—flying, rolling, pawing, and more.

Banjo and Kazooie last appeared nearly ten years ago in the Xbox 360 game Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, which was a radical departure from earlier titles in the series. Nuts and Bolts‘ gameplay focused on designing and using vehicles to defeat the series’ main antagonist, the witch Gruntilda.

Besides bringing the benefits of ample nostalgia for fans of the series, Banjo-Kazooie will also bring their versatile and unique combat to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Nintendo’s announcement was made today at Nintendo’s E3 conference where the company also made several other announcements. In other news revealed by the company, the hero from the Dragon Quest series would also be available as DLC for Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Beyond Smash Bros. reveals, Nintendo also unveiled plans to create a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel and said they expected delays for the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to March 20, 2020.

Xbox’s VP of gaming, Phil Spencer, said the Banjo-Kazooie deal was a simple one for Microsoft. Spencer told Kotaku that Microsoft had always been open to allowing Banjo-Kazooie to appear in a Super Smash Bros game.

“Obviously we’re one of the biggest third-party publishers on Switch, so we have great relationships with their third-party team,” Spencer said. He went on to say Microsoft and Nintendo had a long and ongoing series of licensing relationships revolving around characters and series like Banjo-Kazooie. It was not a difficult decision for the two companies to come together to make the DLC a reality, he claimed.

Nintendo did not announce a specific price for Banjo and Kazooie, but they have said each challenger pack DLC will contain characters that can be purchased individually for $5.99. The Smash Bros. website says Banjo-Kazooie will be available for purchase this Fall.