News Article

Will we ever see Banjo Kazooie on the Virtual Console?

Posted by Damien McFerran

The fact that Rare are now owned by Microsoft has caused some headaches in the world of the Virtual Console. Some of the N64's most requested titles are Rareware products, and this has resulted in something of a stalemate. Light appears to be at the end of the tunnel though - a few months ago Nintendo were quoted as saying that they were looking into the possibility of releasing games like Goldeneye on the VC, and now Rare themselves have responded to the pleas of fans worldwide:

...the only Rare-developed title on Virtual Console right now is the original Donkey Kong Country' but the Donkey Kong series of games is a Nintendo-owned franchise starring an established Nintendo character, whereas something like Banjo isn't'so it's nowhere near as easy to call. Especially when you also consider the existence of Xbox Live Arcade. So right now, the best answer we can offer (for either download service) is 'it's possible.'

Not a solid answer, but not an out and out 'no' either. Hopefully Rare, Nintendo and Microsoft can come to some kind of agreement on this situation - there's nothing stopping them from releasing games on both the VC and XBLA. The fact that games like Banjo Pilot (GBA) and Diddy Kong Racing (DS) have made their way to the market bodes well for a working relationship between the three companies. Surely Rare and Microsoft wouldn't be foolish enough to turn down this opportunity to make cash with very little effort involved? We shall see.

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User Comments (39)



non_zero said:

It doesn't make sense not to do it for games they only released for N64. I mean, Microsoft can't make a profit off of those games on the Xbox at all.



ricketycricket said:

they need to bring goldeneye to the vc. i will punch the ceo of microsoft if this does not happen



Jucianth said:

Banjo-Kazooie is a must on the VC! Its successor ethier...

Hope that they will surface on the Wii!



Eric42 said:

I just don't see Nintendo and Microsoft cooperating in this case. The only games you'll see on the VC that was made by Rare will be the games that starred Nintendo characters. Any other games, especially original games by Rare, may never see a release on the VC... I hate to say it.



Steve said:

Actually this is something that MicroSoft could very well hold back intentionally. Since they might not make any profit from some of these games on XBox, they have nothing to gain by reaching an agreement to let Nintendo release them to the VC. If MicroSoft determines that the older XBox market wouldn't be interested in Banjo-Kazooie, DK64, etc, then they stand to gain little by putting them on XBLA, whereas Nintendo would be releasing games that would be heavily downloaded by Wii owners, many of whom are long-time Nintendo fans. It could be a case of a "If we can't have it, you can't have it either" kind of attitude on MS's part.

I think things bode much better for Goldeneye. This game was immensely popular with gamers of all ages and would appeal much more to the "older" XBox market.

I guess only time will tell...



Wokkel said:

darn it, i can only hope they will let Big N release Perfect dark.
I own a Xbox 360 and PF zero sucked bigtime.
We can only wish or let everybody sign a partition



Indecipherable said:

Some licensing agreement could probably be worked out between Microsoft and Nintendo on this matter. We can only hope to see progress in the near future. Even on a .2% net profit per downloads Microsoft could make more on the old source code than they currently are with it backed up doing nothing at all. A lot of the rare games are unfortunately XBOX live arcade material but if we look at the quality of XBOX live arcade games over the passed year it doesn't appear as though golden eye is in the range, considering the most advanced game is a modification from the unreal engine.
Does anyone know if Nintendo still has licensing agreements with Rare for all games originally released to the console?
If so, it may just be Nintendo holding out on us.

__Brian Drayton


Brian Drayton said:

Damn it, people!!!! All right, here's the gist of the entire situation! All of those old Rareware develpoed games belong to Nintendo. Yes, Rare and Microsoft own the IP rights to characters like Banjo and Kazooie, Conker, Joanna Dark, etc., but they have little to no say of those old Nintendo platformed games, because Nintendo published every one of those titles. If it's not the publishing rights, it's the exclusive distribution rights, which Nintendo also has marked for those games. So fear not, the likes of Banjo Kazooie, Tooie, Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, and even Battletoads will make an eventual appearance on the Virtual Console whether Rare or Microsoft likes it or not, because they have no say.

I don't know why Rare or Microsoft is trying to play dumb in this, but there goes.

__Former Rare employee


Former Rare employee said:

Er, that's not entirely true. In fact, there were several Rare-published games on the N64 including Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark 64 and (I think) Diddy Kong Racing.

Nintendo-published titles would include Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazooie, Blast Corps.

There was a definite difference with the publishing arrangement for these games because it took longer for your bonus to come through if you worked on them!



Damo said:

And that's from the horse's mouth! Thanks Former Rare Employee!



Baggypants said:

I think your all forgetting the mighty dollar which spawned the moniker M$. I'd be surprised if Microsoft didn't release for both XBLA and VC, and then six months later throw in a "Rare Classix" collectors disk for all three next gen consoles and PC, with some bonus material but a universally appalling control system. It wouldn't be like MS to ignore any potential healthy revenue stream. It'll just take time because _everything_ MS do takes time.



Ash said:

I guess there's a good chance we'll see Donkey Kong 64 then. Not that anyone really cares about that...



TBoneTony said:

I personally hope that Jet Force Gemini comes to the Virtual Console, that game rocked and sadly, not many would have played it.

JFG was one of RARE's unsung heros.



Eric42 said:

I think Brian Drayton and "Former Rare Employee" made some great points. But I still feel there are legal issues. If the game had a Nintendo character, I will bet we'll see the game. Yes, we'll see Donkey Kong 64 at some point. But will we Goldeneye? Well, if whoever releases it wants to pay for the rights to the Bonds license, perhaps... just don't expect it.



TheReaFONZ said:

i spent weeks on Both Banjo Games and would love to play them over but i am sure MS is going to be a thorn in nintendo's side on this one because i don't think MS would make nearly enough money for it to be worth while for them putting it on XBLA.



i own the old carts so im not too fussed but thats me not thinking of others which is wrong so i hope they are released.



zeeroid said:

OH man, I absolutely LOVE the banjo games, and unfortunately I totally lost Banjo-Tooie, which was also my favourite of the two by a mile. I think i lent it to some "friend" who "forgot" to give it back. Little schemer....

__Brian Drayton


Brian Drayton said:

I for one Ash really do care for Donkey Kong 64. I thought it was a great title and still do today. As for not expecting Rare published N64 titles?............Well lets just all wait and see shall we? Peace out, peeps!



Leigh said:

i guess this means that many N64 classics may never be back dated on the VC....this includes diddy kong racing....right?



onemeg said:

Irrespective of whether who published what etc. Are there any Rare games that could be released on VC without Rare/M$ consent.

If not, then let's just hope they get it sorted - who knows maybe there'll end up being Mario 64 on 360 Marketplace??? Ha ha.

__Brian Drayton


Brian Drayton said:

Yeah, all joking aside onemeg, I think in the end this entire situation will play itself out and we will all see what happens to Rare's entire old catalog. This issue can stay hidden for only so long. I would say before 2008 arrives, I would hope to play the likes of Perfect Dark, Goldeneye 007, Jet Force Gemini, and many other Rare gems on my Nintendo Wii. For my sake and each and every one of ya'll out there, lets hope for the best. Later!



Gypsie said:

i was under the impression that Rare had announced a third game in the Banjo series for the 360, surely that would make it highly unlikely that either of the first two games would be winging to our little white boxes of fun any time soon?

On a more personal, teary eyed, side note. Just like to say that Rare rocked and i spent a disproportionate amount of my youth playing their games. Was genuinely gutted when Ninty sold them, and was even more gutted by the mauling they got by Britain's gaming press for the move. I remember magazines savaging them as "turn-coats" and the like...come on, people! this is the company that single-handedly kept the N64 alive for almost a year! Hats off to 'em, i say!



Indecipherable said:

Why would Microsoft care about how much money they make from releasing a game on xbox live?
It's all profit aside from a few KB of bandwidth. If they sell one copy of the game it's still more than the out dated code has brought in in 8 years.

__Brian Drayton


Brian Drayton said:

Nintendo did publish the first two Banjo Kazooie titles and they were both exclusive to the N64, Gypsy. No matter what "legal issues" are at hand here, I don't like Microsoft and Rare's chances of "stopping" Nintendo from releasing those titles on the Virtual Console eventually. And I thank you!



Gypsie said:

yeah, true enough. And i guess as they say "any advertising is good advertising" so anything that will re-kindle peoples enjoyment of the franchise is hardly going to do microsoft/rare harm.

I seem to remember some amount of data transfer between Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie to access parts of the game, how easy would this be to replicate on the virtual console? (sorry, my technical knowledge of such things is non-existent)

Got to be said tho, Ninty's choice of 64 games to add to the virtual console thus far has been spot on, but some of the ones quoted on this site has having been re-rated are a little bizarre...wud like to see the names of some of the solid favs (as Tbone Tony said - Jet Force Gemini would be a treat) being kicked around instead of aerofighters assault :S



BJ1 said:

Ash, of course we care about Donkey Kong 64. I mean, it's among my favorite N64 title. It's just that DK is owned by Nintendo, so of course we'll see DK games. I've always wanted to play Battletoads to see why lots of gamers bug for that game.



elvampe_13 said:

Aren't we all forgetting an EXCELLENT Rare game that came out for N64? KILLER INSTINCT GOLD!! But alas... that is another game, along with the original KI game that came out for the snes, that will have difficulty being released on the VC. Unless I'm wrong? Can anyone confirm if the KI franchise (the snes and N64 games) and it's characters are owned by Rare?



Visor said:

Man you guys are been idiots here. Nintendo can release any Rare game they want on the VC which they own the franchise to. So Donkey Kong isn't an issue.

The problem comes with Banjo Kazooie, this is a Rare franchise, published by Nintendo. Nintendo has no rights to republish this without Rare's and ultimately Microsofts agreement. The same applies for Perfect Dark, and other Rare IP's. These could quite easily see the light of day on the XBLA.

As for Goldeneye, this needs no agreement from Microsoft or Rare. At the time Nintendo had hte license to develop the game, they let Rare develop it. The only obstacles for it is that Nintendo no longer own the license for the game, I believe Activision or Infogrames or some crap has it. if Nintendo want to put it on the VC they need permission from them, as well as the owners of the James Bond franchise. Whilst that's a lot of obstacles, it's quite possible as I can't see a reason any of the parties would reject this!

So just to clear up, Microsoft and Rare have nothing on Goldeneye, it wont ever be released on XBLA, and they have no say on it getting republished on the VC. I dont know where people are getting all this from.

__Brian Drayton


Brian Drayton said:

You want to talk about being an idiot, Visor? If Banjo Kazooie and Perfect Dark and etc. were XBLA bound, Microsoft and Rare would've made them available a long time ago! I'm telling you right now, the fact Nintendo published Banjo Kazooie and have exclusive distribution rights for Perfect Dark, even though Rare published it, Microsoft and Rare can't easily put them on XBLA!




Djordie said:

nice "discussion "going on here, i didnt think it wouldve had such consequences for the future .. the fact that rare got stuck with ms

ill just pray theyll come, sooner or later
when all those stupid money and licensing issues are out of the way haha

its about the gaming, peace out



Masuyo said:

I love big dumb companies... "wow that little building contains people with great ideas... let's consume it." xbox. I will never own one. Nintendo Wii only, unless I can sell a kidney then I'll get a PS3.



kirbylova said:

ive talked to kirby about this and he wants kirby superstar to be released in two weeks, and he wants a new pink sweater, and he wants a pink ds shirt for free cuz he's famous, and he wants spareribs, and he wants a pink barbiecar, and he wants free pianolessons, and pink lipstick, and, well, hapiness for everybody cause that what he's like. he wants people to have what they want and be happy and play and game and you know. kirby wants us to have those games, ms.



Veszerin said:

Microsoft has always gone in the direction that means the most money for them.
They put compatibility issues in their software, so that you have to spend extra money for things to work well.

For example, Microsoft Office 2007 would not work well without Windows Vista.



B-Kpianist said:

From what I know there was a letter to rare (from Nintendo) concerning the old banjo games (and I think other Rareware games too. The letter was their opinion on wether or not Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie, could be released on VC. In response, Rare said It was up to Nintendo wether or not they want to release The Banjo Games for VC. I'm thinking there is a good chance of It's release, but we have to be patient. =]



Johnchuk said:

dont worry every body rare already put 3 rare games on the virtual consol, donkey kong country 1,2 and 3 so im not worried about them not puttin the banjo games on it.



Clayfrd said:

Well... it happened. I got BK on XBLA, and I don't see it coming to Wii. Sorry, folks.

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