Ridley, King K. Rool and Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. were previously thought of as too big, irrelevant, and impossible

Token Geek outlines the history of these three unlikely characters finally becoming playable

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • July 8, 2019 at 3:43 p.m. PDT

Masahiro Sakurai somehow manages to keep upping the ante with the Super Smash Bros. series. Despite it nearly being a month already, the announcement that Banjo-Kazooie would be joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as one of the DLC fighters remains quite the mind blow.

Of course, we can't forget that similar feelings were felt regarding the possibility of Ridley and King K. Rool being playable. Notably, Token Geek recently released a video that talked about Ridley, King K. Rool, and Banjo-Kazooie and their history with the Super Smash Bros. series.

Longtime Smash fans would tell you that the idea of Ridley being a playable fighter was simply a meme. Ridley was viewed as being too big.

"I definitely know that Ridley’s a much-anticipated name for fans, but if we made Ridley as a fighter, it wouldn’t be Ridley any longer. It’d have to be shrunk down, or its wings reduced in size, or be unable to fly around freely."
— Masahiro Sakurai, 2014.

Even Masahiro Sakurai commented that it wouldn't do the character justice to scale him down and prohibit him from flying. Statements regarding this can be found as late as the release of Super Smash Bros. 4.

"I definitely know that Ridley’s a much-anticipated name for fans, but if we made Ridley as a fighter, it wouldn’t be Ridley any longer," said Sakurai to IGN. "It’d have to be shrunk down, or its wings reduced in size, or be unable to fly around freely."

As a result of this, Ridley has been relegated to being a boss and stage hazard, much to the dismay of fans. Strangely, Ridley's size didn't appear to be a problem in Super Smash Bros. Melee's opening cinematic.

Again and again, the idea that Ridley would become playable was denied when Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4 were released. Even when it came time to release DLC for Super Smash Bros. 4, Ridley was nowhere to be seen.

Some fans became so used to the idea that Ridley would never be playable that they'd even be angered at the mere mention of the idea. Still, this didn't stop fans from asking for Ridley during the Smash Ballot.

"Comparably [Ridley] is actually very, very tall," said Sakurai at E3 2018. "He's about four meters tall. And because of that, it was very hard to actually get him into the game in a working condition, but there was a lot outcry from fans, especially from overseas, so we decided to put him in."

Although it's been confirmed that King K. Rool also had to be scaled down for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the idea that King K. Rool was "too big" wasn't the reason why fans believed the king of the Kremlings would never be playable.

Essentially, King K. Rool was seen as being too irrelevant. Although King K. Rool served as the main antagonist of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy and Donky Kong 64, he hadn't really appeared in a game since 2008 (excluding trophies and a DLC Mii costume in the Super Smash Bros. series).

For games like Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze, new villains were created by Retro Studios instead. Although Nintendo owned the rights to King K. Rool, the possibility seemed unlikely since Rareware, now owned by Microsoft, were the original creators of the character.

Since Dixie Kong more often appeared in titles, she seemed like a more likelier candidate. Ironically, it was King K. Rool that eventually became playable rather than Dixie.

And that brings us to Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Even more so than Ridley and King K. Rool, it was widely believed that this character would just be impossible.

Unlike King K. Rool, ownership of Banjo-Kazooie went to Microsoft when they acquired Rare. Although Phil Spencer stated that there'd be "no issues" with the idea of Banjo joining Smash, this seemed too good to be true.

Spencer even reiterated that he was still open to the idea when pressed by a fan after Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was revealed. Given though, he only responded with a one word answer of "yep."

Despite Microsoft stating that they were on board with the concept, were they actually? Even if they were, Nintendo would have to actively pursue working with Microsoft — a competitor — in order to make this happen.

Luckily, the impossible became possible. Banjo-Kazooie was announced to be joining the roster in Fall 2019.

Funnily enough, Sakurai's Famitsu column basically stated that working with Microsoft to achieve this was actually easy. In fact, it sounds as though this process came about more effortlessly compared to getting the Dragon Quest Heroes from Square Enix.

Amazingly, Ridley, King K. Rool, and Banjo-Kazooie are no longer "too big," "too irrelevant," and "too impossible" for Super Smash Bros.

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