Many Banjo-Kazooie fans have had non-stop excitement for the bear and bird's eventual arrival in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate since the announcement in Nintendo's E3 2019 Direct. Rightfully so, given their long absence. Furthermore, as a matter of gaming nostalgia, fans will be able to play as a Banjo and Kazooie whose design was overseen by Diddy Kong Racing artist Paul Cunningham.
In a recent blog post on Rare's UK website, Rare discusses E3 and their involvement with it at length. From the reemergence of Battletoads to a discussion of new Sea of Thieves developments, Rare delved into many topics. Among the topics was the inclusion of Banjo and Kazooie in Nintendo's über successful fighting game franchise.
Sarcastically calling it a "minor" reveal, Rare discussed working with their "old friends at Nintendo." It goes on to say that "it was a joy to see just how warmly the news was received," revealing that Banjo's participation in the fight was to be a closely-kept secret, despite leaks of Banjo on the game's roster.
Long-time Rare artist Paul Cunningham, the developer's blog points out, was significantly involved with Banjo and Kazooie's classic design in the game. As indicated by Video Games Chronicle, Cunningham has previously worked with Rare primarily as an environment artist, working on games such as Diddy Kong Racing, Conker: Live and Reloaded, and Blast Corp.
As for Banjo and Kazooie's design in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rare illustrates that Cunningham did not directly design Banjo and Kazooie's models but was instrumental in terms of generating the best designs for Banjo and Kazooie possible. He is described in the blog post as Rare's "point man."
Many will find it uplifting that Rare and Nintendo were going for as authentic a look for Banjo and Kazooie as possible. As two of the most beloved characters from the Nintendo 64 era, the two companies that go way back are likely wanting to get things just right for fans with fond memories of bowling over enemies in the Mumbo's Mountain level or flying around Treasure Trove Cove for the first time.
Banjo and Kazooie will be joining the fight this fall.