Today, Nintendo premiered its E3 Direct. It was full of announcements, some for already announced titles, as well as brand new ones. Perhaps the most awaited reveal was the next DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Masahiro Sakurai teased on June 9th that we would know more about this mysterious character at E3. The Direct kicked off by introducing the Hero from Dragon Quest. That wasn't the end of Smash Bros., however. Near the end, Nintendo single-handedly won E3 for many fans. How? The company announced Banjo-Kazooie would be joining the large roster this fall.
Banjo-Kazooie has been one of the most requested characters for Super Smash Bros. since the Wii U title. The bear and bird duo first appeared in Banjo-Kazooie on Nintendo 64. The game was instantly a fan favorite and would go on to be one of the most popular titles from the late 90s. It may seem surprising that it took this long for the duo to be in Super Smash Bros. (then again, it took King K. Rool five games), but it's also important to remember that Banjo-Kazooie is not a Nintendo property.
Who Owns Banjo-Kazooie?
The original Banjo-Kazooie was developed by Rare Limited originally as an exclusive for Nintendo 64. It would be fair to assume at that point, the duo were Nintendo characters. (Banjo was featured in Diddy Kong Racing as well.) Rare also developed the Donkey Kong Country series, as well as Donkey Kong 64. One would imagine that Nintendo would acquire the company, but it did not happen. Instead, Microsoft bought Rare in the early 2000s, and took all its original properties with it. A third Banjo-Kazooie game, Nuts & Bolts, was released exclusively for Xbox 360.
Today, Microsoft is the owner of Banjo-Kazooie despite the series being much more associated with Nintendo. To date, Microsoft has had none of its characters in Super Smash Bros. With Banjo-Kazooie arriving, this might open the door to Master Chief (along with other Microsoft characters) appearing in Super Smash Bros. Let's look at a couple of reasons why.
Nintendo And Microsoft Have Worked Closely Together Recently
One of the biggest gaming controversies last year was Sony not allowing cross-play for multiplayer titles like Fortnite and Minecraft. However, Nintendo and Microsoft teamed up and allowed for players with their consoles to play together online. In a video, the two companies may have subtly taken a shot at Sony for not allowing cross-play for Minecraft (at the very least, Sony has since reversed its policy on Fortnite cross-play).
In the early to mid-2000s, there didn't appear to be much communication between Microsoft and Nintendo. That's not to say there was animosity, but there wasn't much in the way of partnerships. Now that we're deeper into the era of online gaming, the two companies have put any competitive differences aside and appear to be working together for the betterment of fans. Banjo-Kazooie appearing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is evidence of a good partnership between the two companies.
Cuphead Is On Switch
Cuphead, the challenging and charming run 'n' gun game, was released for Xbox and Windows in 2017. In an interview with Time, Cuphead lead artist Chad Moldenhauer said, "Cuphead is lifetime exclusive on Xbox for the console space," meaning that if you wanted to play the game on console, you would have to own an Xbox One. This changed, however. As part of Nintendo's March Nindies Showcase, Nintendo announced Cuphead was being ported to the Switch. The port would even support Xbox Live features post-release.
Imagine if Nintendo was to announce that God of War would be coming to Switch. That's the kind of surprise that took place with Cuphead's announcement on Nintendo's console. The port wasn't likely planned at first. This shows how good of a working relationship Nintendo has with Microsoft currently.
Master Chief In Smash Might Be A Real Possibility
In the past, Master Chief appearing in Super Smash Bros. was the stuff of fan fiction. With Microsoft and Nintendo working together on various things, and their partnership appearing to be more friendly than just for business, don't be surprised if the Halo protagonist is announced in the future.
Of course, Banjo-Kazooie might open the door for other Microsoft characters as well. Cuphead/Mugman would be a notable pick (the creator of the game has expressed interest), and Ori is another one. Now, we just need Microsoft and Nintendo to work together on a Banjo-Kazooie remake for Switch....