When people think of the mascot platformer, collect-a-thon genre, Banjo Kazooie usually sits somewhere at the top of the pile. For many years the only recent way to enjoy the title was through emulation or Xbox, but soon, fans will be able to enjoy Banjo Kazooie through Nintendo Switch Online.
Banjo Kazooie‘s history is a complicated story, and one that many would consider being pretty sad. After creating the legendary Donkey Kong Country series on the SNES, and many games for the Nintendo 64, including Banjo Kazooie, Rare was acquired by Microsoft to become one of its first-party studios. Unfortunately, due to the changing times and player interests, Banjo Kazooie was left by the wayside, aside from the strange platformer, kart-racer hybrid, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. Microsoft in recent years has shown fondness of the character and franchise, particularly by allowing Banjo and Kazooie be fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Nintendo has announced the release window for when Banjo Kazooie is coming to Nintendo Switch Online. In January, fans can look forward to Banjo Kazooie‘s drop on the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, with no exact date given. Dataminers found that Banjo Kazooie was coming to Nintendo Switch Online a few months ago, shortly after the initial release of the Expansion Pack. The Expansion Pack allows fans to play both N64 and Sega Genesis games on top of the NES and SNES library that is a part of the original Nintendo Switch Online library.
Banjo Kazooie‘s arrival to Nintendo Switch Online has offered hope to some that more Xbox-owned N64 games might arrive to the service. During that time, Rare was putting out many of the N64’s best games like the stealth FPS classic, Perfect Dark, the tight and colorful kart-racer, Diddy Kong Racing, and the satirical mascot-platformer, Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Some games like GoldenEye 007 will probably never resurface due to the extended legality of being a James Bond movie tie-in game, but it hasn’t stopped fans from hoping. Rare is currently developing an upcoming adventure game named Everwild, while continuing support for the ambitious pirate game, Sea of Thieves.
It is great to see Banjo Kazooie come to Nintendo Switch Online, it being a continued demonstration of Nintendo and Xbox’s solid business relationship. Unfortunately, considering the backlash of Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack, from the price of entry to the quality of the emulation, Banjo Kazooie may not be enough to bring in new members. Nintendo has some problems to sort out with Nintendo Switch Online if it wants to grow the service to replace the Virtual Console.
Banjo Kazooie is available on Xbox 360 and through Rare Replay.