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Phil Spencer acknowledges fan demand for new Banjo-Kazooie: ‘We hear you’

Microsoft’s head of gaming has acknowledged the demand from fans for a new Banjo-Kazooie game.

Speaking to Windows Central, Phil Spencer discussed the possibility of reviving classic games, specifically mentioning Banjo-Kazooie.

“You’ve seen from our history that we haven’t touched every franchise that people would love us to touch — Banjo fans, I hear you,” he said. “But it is true that, when we find the right team, and the right opportunity, I love going back to revisit stories and characters that we’ve seen previously.”

The Rare-owned platformer hasn’t seen an instalment since Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which was released for Xbox 360 15 years ago.

However, the classic franchise has been more prominent in recent years. Last year, the first game in the series was added to Nintendo Switch Online, and Banjo and Kazooie were added as playable characters to Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

In 2020, Spencer said that any revivals of classic Rare franchises were up to Rare itself.  However, speaking to VGC this summer as part of an extended interview to mark Banjo-Kazooie’s 25th anniversary, a group of original Rare team members said they weren’t expecting a new game anytime soon.

And despite a $3 million Kickstarter and over 1 million copies sold for their spiritual successor, Playtonic Games’ Yooka-Laylee, composer Grant Kirkhope questioned whether the audience was truly there for a new game.

“I feel like you’d have to get a team with the humour that we had back then, and that’s hard to replicate,” he said.

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“I think Rare would be open to somebody if they found the right team, but I don’t feel like that team exists. Also, I’m not convinced the audience is there either… I don’t feel like there are that many Banjo fans out there.

“The whole Smash Bros. thing was spectacular… it really was. I think all the team that worked on that game had a tear in their eye when Banjo turned up in Smash Bros… it was just an unbelievable release of emotion. Seeing all those [fans] crying on videos was heart-warming, and we all felt it. That was a once-in-a-lifetime event when that happened.

“But I still feel like, is there that multimillion-dollar thing within Banjo-Kazooie? I’m not convinced there is.”