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RARE's 20+ year old Kazooie statue gets destroyed in a storm

Kazooie needs your help, Banjo!

RARE's HQ took a bit of a beatdown from Storm Ciara over the weekend, and unfortunately, it lead to some damage. As you can see above, a statue of Kazooie ended up having its head knocked clear off by the storm's high winds. RARE has had this statue since the launch of the original Banjo-Kazooie, which makes it even worse to see it damaged. Hopefully RARE can find a way to fix things up.

Banjo-Kazooie was at least partially named after late Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi's grandson

Gah-HUH?!

Here's a little interesting trivia for you. While you might think the name Banjo-Kazooie to be completely made up, turns out it's actually at least partially inspired by a real-life person!

Andy Robinson over at VGC let loose with some information he gleaned while talking to various game devs in Japan. Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi's grandson is named Banjo Yamauchi, and his son has the name Katsuhito Yamauchi. Put the two together and you get Banjo-Katsuhi.

When former RARE deg Gregg Mayles was asked about this being true, he confirmed that the Banjo half indeed was, but he was unsure about the Kazooie side. I think with the Banjo part being true, the Kazooie/Katsuhi connection makes a lot of sense. Still, it's just amazing that there's someone out there named Banjo!

Thanks to Dondom95 for the heads up!

RARE talks about the process of getting Banjo-Kazooie in Smash Bros. Ultimate

Making the impossible possible

There were plenty of people who thought getting Banjo-Kazooie into the world of Smash Bros. would be impossible. I thought like that at some point as well. Then Microsoft and Nintendo started to buddy up, and the window of opportunity was cracked open just a tiny bit.

Eventually we did get the bear and bird in Smash Bros. Ultimate, and even though it came in a time when the collab was more likely, it was still super surprising to see. In an interview with GamesIndustry, RARE Studio head Craig Duncan explains how it all went down.

"We had an initial kick off call with Sakurai-san and some of his team. There was myself, Gregg Mayles... who is the father of Banjo, even though he hates it when we call him that. Andrew Wensley, who runs our business team. And a chap called Paul Cunningham, who runs our partnerships. Those people had a conversation, [Nintendo] talked through what their approach would be, and then that process started. And then a year goes by of sharing animatics and ideas and character concepts. It was a back-and-forth. We ended up with something that was really great. But the execution came from the Smash team."

Merchoid reveals 8-inch Banjo-Kazooie phone/controller holder

A duo you can count on

Looking for a unique way to hold your Switch Pro Controller or smartphone? Perhaps Banjo and Kazooie are the perfect solution. Merchoid has revealed a Banjo-Kazooie 8-inch "Cable Guy" Phone and Controller Holder, which will be sold for $41. The officially-licensed product also includes a 6-foot micro USB charging cable. Grab your preorder here!

Fangamer adds new range of Banjo-Kazooie merch

The bear and bird return

Fangamer has been big on the Banjo-Kazooie merch lately. They added in some new items a few months back, and now they've got another big round to check out. You can grab the plush above, as well as a Jiggy plush, vinyl soundtrack, t-shirt, scarft, and slipmat. Check out the lineup here.

Playtonic's Ed Bryan on seeing Banjo and Kazooie join Smash Bros. Ultimate, says Playtonic is working on "things you wouldn't believe"

A very RARE interview

Ed Bryan, former RARE dev, is now a part of the Playtonic team. Back in the day, Bryan was responsible for bringing the look of Banjo and Kazooie to life. In an interview with Nintendo Life, Bryan talks about his reaction to seeing the bear and bird pop up in Smash Bros. Ultimate.

That was amazing. Seeing the response online to some characters from a game made 20-odd years ago was exciting and humbling; to think that these characters and the game are even remembered, let alone cherished the way they are is great and weird at the same time.

Banjo and Kazooie being in Smash is old news now, as far as the speed of internet information goes. We want to know about what's next! What is Playtonic cooking up right now? Bryan wouldn't share specifics, but it certainly sounds like some exciting content!

Oh man, I’ve seen so much already, things you wouldn’t believe! I’m settling in and over the last couple of days I’ve been sketching and doodling; trying to visualise the designers ideas so we can crack on with this next thing. It’s very exciting! As for cryptic clues, if I want to last more than 2 weeks here I’d better keep quiet….

Playtonic clears up rumors, says they aren't working on a new Banjo-Kazooie, and remain an independent studio

Well that settles that!

In a very rare instance of transparency, Playtonic has come forward to full address the recent rumors of what they're up to. The company flat-out says they're not working on a new Banjo-Kazooie game, and remain an independent studio. Check out the company's full statement below.

Thanks to Rob-RmanX for the heads up!

Something seems to be going on with Playtonic, and rumors of a Microsoft acquisition or a new Banjo-Kazooie are swirling (UPDATE 2)

Don't tease me like this...

Playtonic just recently released Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, which was quite a hit with most critics. What's next for the company coming out of that success? Depending on how deep you like to dive into rumors, the company could have some major moves going on.

Just yesterday, we saw that former RARE dev Ed Bryan was officially brought on as an employee at Playtonic. Bryan was a character artist on Banjo-Kazooie, and eventually left RARE in 2011.

Fans noticed that Bryan tweeted out the above image/tweet on Nov. 3rd, 2019, and when someone asked him what was up with the bag, Bryan responded by saying, "It’s come out of retirement!" As you can see the Microsoft branding on the bag, this has drummed up some speculation that Playtonic and Microsoft are, at the very least, working on something.

Going a step further, Gavin Price, co-owner, studio and game director at Playtonic Games, recently added this to his Linkedin profile.

Playtonic Credits

Yooka-Laylee, Yooka-Laylee & The Impossible Lair, and in the foreseeable future that game #3, #4 and the #5 one too which is the one I always thought would be game #1.

Finally, we have the news of Playtonic registering a new company name recently. The company, PLAYTONIC GAMES DEVELOPMENT LIMITED, popped up without any explanation on Sept. 17th 2019.

There's certainly a lot of smoke building up here, but where's the fire? What could Playtonic be working on? It's clear something is up, but is speculation running too wild, or is Microsoft really bringing the band back together for a new Banjo outing?

_________________________________

UPDATE: We have some new details that both answer some questions, and raise new ones. First up, Ed Bryan has responded to the hubbub about his bag tweet.

Second, we have two new job listings opened at Playtonic. They are looking for an Experienced Gameplay Engineer, and an Experienced Technical Generalist. One of the listings specifically mentions the Unity engine.

Third, and most interesting, are some comments from Playtonic Community Manager Daley Johnson. He was asked for his thoughts on all the rumors swirling about, and answered with this.

Oh the secrets I know. We're back to where we were when I joined Playtonic and had a wealth of info yet to be revealed, hope you remember what it was like to be tormented and looking out for clues 😭.

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UPDATE 2: Playtonic has come out to deny all of these reports.

Playtonic hires another former RARE developer

A RARE find

Playtonic, a developer comprised mostly of former RARE devs, has just brought another veteran on-board. Former RARE character artist Ed Bryan has now joined the Playtonic ranks! Bryan is familiar for the creation of characters like Banjo-Kazooie's Mumbo Jumbo and the Jinjos.

Game History Secrets - The Lost Banjo-Kazooie 2D Platformer

What happened to this one?

Today on Game History Secrets we talk about the lost Banjo-Kazooie platformer for the Nintendo Game Boy Color, which was planned to release as Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Curse.

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