Finest Of 2020: Banjo-Tooie Turns 20 – The Uncommon Group Tells The Story Of Bombs, Bugs And Bottles

Banjo Tooie Lead© Nintendo Life

Over the vacation season we’ll be republishing a sequence of Nintendo Life articles, interviews and different options from the earlier twelve months that we think about to be our Better of 2020. Hopefully, this gives you an opportunity to make amends for items you missed, or just take pleasure in wanting again on a yr which did have some highlights — trustworthy!

This function was initially revealed in November 2020.


These days, there’s nary a sport that does not end with a post-credits tease to tee up a sequel or spin-off. There’s all the time a tantalisingly unfastened thread or Easter Egg hidden within the DLC hinting at an extra instalment. It might be a really daring transfer, although, to call your sequel and straight reference it in a sport that hadn’t even launched but.

Uncommon’s 3D platformer Banjo-Kazooie was arguably the primary credible challenger to sq. as much as seminal Nintendo 64 launch sport Tremendous Mario 64. With giant, vibrant 3D worlds to discover, a forged of loveable characters and a touch of British naughtiness in its humour, it turned a quick favorite with followers. It additionally completed with probably one of the best sequel bait in online game historical past, with the titular bear and chook taking a well-earned break on the seashore after their journey earlier than shifty shaman Mumbo Jumbo exhibits up with a set of animated polaroid footage exhibiting innaccessible areas you ‘missed’ with secrets and techniques which might be used within the subsequent sport.

The crew should have been assured in what that they had, however was Banjo-Tooie—the formidable follow-up which launched in North America on 20th November 2000—genuinely on the playing cards earlier than the primary sport even launched? “Sure it was,” confirms Gregg Mayles, designer on each platforms, “however solely as a reputation and us wanting to incorporate the ‘Cease n’ Swop’ gadgets that shaped a hyperlink between the 2 video games. What Tooie would really be had not been considered at that time!”

“There was a optimistic response to what we confirmed publicly,” says head programmer Chris Sutherland, considered one of a number of Banjo veterans that may go on to discovered Playtonic Video games and recapture the Banjo spirit within the Yooka-Laylee sequence. “There have been a bunch of concepts that by no means made it into the primary sport, so it appeared just like the wise factor to do to maneuver onto a sequel. Among the crew originated from DKC video games so in some methods it mirrored how we might rolled straight onto DKC2 from DKC1… I assume it additionally places Banjo-Kazooie right into a shortlist of “video games that (efficiently) introduced the title of their sequel within the sport”!”

The moody second act

Banjo Tooie Bottles Brown Bread

From the very starting, Banjo-Tooie feels darker—a bit extra harmful, rather less forgiving—than the earlier sport. It is nonetheless very a lot a fairytale romp however from the off Tooie leans into Brothers Grimm-style darkness. Bottles (bespectacled, move-teaching mole and stalwart pal to the protagonists) meets his demise by the hands of Gruntilda within the introduction cutscene, and mere moments after making the pleasant Jinjo King’s acquaintence, he is reworked right into a shambling zombie by the vengeful witch.

“It was deliberate,” Mayles says of the traditional ‘darker second act’ strategy. “We didn’t wish to do the identical factor once more as the primary sport and we needed to shock gamers. I don’t suppose anybody would have anticipated us to kill off one of many essential supporting characters and I can keep in mind us laughing once we plotted Bottles’ downfall. There have been some fairly darkish and mature components to the tone that we tried to stability out with our sense of humour, I believe my favorite was when Bottles’ household was asking about him and Banjo needed to fake he didn’t know the mole was no extra.”

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