Super Smash Bros. Ultimate bookended Nintendo E3 presentation on Tuesday, beginning it by unveiling Dragon Quest‘s Hero and closing it with another long-requested character: Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie. They are currently scheduled to be released sometime during the fall.
Serving as a continuation of King K. Rool’s newcomer trailer from last year, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and the antagonistic crocodile are all relaxing in the former’s treehouse when another disturbance occurs. Eagle-eyed fans would quickly realize at this point who the forthcoming fighters were, as a Jiggy, the emblematic collectables from the Banjo games, hopped across the floor. As with last time, those in the treehouse rushed to the window to be greeted by a Smash veteran pulling a prank, in this case the Duck Hunt duo pretending to be Banjo and Kazooie. However, the real bear-and-bird duo descended from the sky and knocked the posers away, spurring an applause from the Donkey Kong cast. After clips showing off Banjo’s moveset and home stage, Spiral Mountain, the cinematic ends with Banjo and Kazooie trapping K. Rool under a boulder (a nod to Banjo-Kazooie‘s ending) while the Smash cast celebrates the duo’s homecoming.
Notably, Rare formerly had a close relationship with Nintendo, developing several Donkey Kong titles for the Kyoto-based giant. Banjo-Kazooie was released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 as a major new property for the hardware manufacture, but the bear himself debuted one year earlier in Diddy Kong Racing. Here, Banjo was introduced as one of Diddy’s close friends, thereby making Banjo-Kazooie a spin-off from Donkey Kong. Kazooie was popular enough to spawn a direct sequel two years later called Banjo-Tooie, and these two entires are the installments Smash primarily appears to be drawing its Banjo content from. As with their home series, Banjo is the primary character while Kazooie assists for specific moves and jumps, with the two functionally working as one.
While the Banjo property has been under Microsoft’s ownership since its acquisition of Rare in 2002, the hardware rivals have developed a positive working relationship with each other, allowing Rare’s mascots to join Smash. As Xbox head Phil Spencer explained, licensing the Banjo series for Smash was a fairly seamless experience.
“There wasn’t anything kind of CEO-to-CEO that had to happen,” Spencer said to Kotaku. “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.” Rare was thrilled to help realize this collaboration as well, with the studio thanking the passionate fan response Banjo’s admission into Smash garnered.
Just wanted to let you know that we’re seeing and loving all the responses and eardrum-bursting reaction videos to Banjo & Kazooie in #SmashBrosUltimate. Enormous care was taken on both sides to make sure this was done right, and its reception is a joy to behold. Thank you all ❤️
— Rare Ltd. (@RareLtd) June 12, 2019