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Minecraft and the relationship it formed between Microsoft and Nintendo is what made Banjo-Kazooie possible for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • February 29, 2020 at 7:59 p.m. PST • Comments: 6

Even to this day, it's still crazy to think that Banjo-Kazooie are playable in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Although the original Banjo-Kazooie game debuted on Nintendo consoles, Rare and all of their IPs are now owned by Microsoft.

Being that Microsoft and Nintendo are often referred to as two of the "Big Three" when it comes to consoles, there is a perception that suggests these two as being competitors in the gaming industry.

Needless to say, it was actually surprising to hear that Phil Spencer, Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft, was open to the bear-and-bird duo joining Smash. The announcement that they'd be accessible as the third challenger of the Fighters Pass was an amazing gaming event. Apparently, this was made possible thanks to Minecraft.

"Minecraft had paved the way for that relationship between Nintendo and Microsoft. I met with Nintendo at the E3 before we announced it. And then we connected our teams." - Craig Duncan

"Minecraft had paved the way for that relationship between Nintendo and Microsoft," stated Craig Duncan, studio director at Rare. "I met with Nintendo at the E3 before we announced it. And then we connected our teams, because we thought it seemed like a great opportunity."

Although Minecraft started as an Indie game, the intellectual property is now owned by Microsoft as well. However, this did not impede Minecraft from coming to Nintendo and Sony consoles.

In fact, Minecraft helped pave the way for cross-play between the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. While Sony was initially apprehensive about allowing cross-play with the two other consoles, the PlayStation 4 would eventually join in.

Of course since Banjo-Kazooie was announced at E3 2019, this implies that this relationship was forming during E3 2018 — which was when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and its "Everyone Is Here" theme was unveiled.

"We had an initial kick off call with Sakurai-san and some of his team," continued Duncan. "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."

For some time before Banjo-Kazooie's announcement, there were actually rumors suggesting the future existence of Minecraft content in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Funnily enough, there were many gamers that actually weren't a fan of this idea as it could possibly have a negative effect on Banjo-Kazooie's chances.

At this moment, Minecraft content is absent from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It is certainly interesting to note that Banjo-Kazooie as a playable fighter in Smash finally became a reality because of the partnership that was formed between Nintendo and Microsoft for the sake of Minecraft.


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