Banjo-Kazooie creator says Smash Bros. reveal was ‘mind-blowing’

Character designer Steve Mayles taken aback by inclusion in Nintendo game

Former Rare employees have shared their reactions to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate trailer aired during the Nintendo Direct E3 broadcast, which revealed Banjo-Kazooie will be added to the game as DLC this year.

Steve Mayles, the character designer responsible for Banjo and Kazooie, told YouTube channel Shesez: “It was just mind-blowing, there’s no other word for it really.

“I just couldn’t take it in. I had to watch the reveal later in the day about 10 or 20 times just to take in everything that was going on. It was just really surreal.”

Mayles watched the Nintendo Direct reveal live at the offices of Yooka-Laylee studio Playtonic Games, where he works as an artist and text editor, alongside many other developers who worked on Banjo-Kazooie at Rare. “I think we were just stunned really,” he said of their reaction.

Mayles also created Donkey Kong’s K. Rool, who was revealed as a Smash. Bros Ultimate character prior to the game’s December 2018 release.

“It’s just surreal to see these characters I made 20, well more than 20 years ago in some cases, and they’re back in high resolution looking as I originally created them. It’s just strange but awesome at the same time.”

Veteran former Rare composer Grant Kirkhope, who created a brand-new music track for Smash Bros. Ultimate to go with the Banjo-Kazooie DLC, said of the reveal trailer: “It was absolutely perfect, Nintendo did a fantastic job. It ticked all the boxes. It was nostalgic and it touched the heartstrings — I was crying along with everyone else while I was watching it.

“I didn’t really expect people to go that crazy,” he added. “When you see someone totally lose it with happiness, like in some of those fan videos, it really touches your heart because everyone connects on that human level. To see people crying and laughing at the same time – I was the same – I think those things are once in a lifetime.”

Kirkhope knew Nintendo planned to use his work in the reveal trailer but wasn’t aware how prominently it would be featured. “I guessed they were going to do a little bit of me with other pieces mixed in,” he said. “But when it came to the trailer it was just all my music, so I was absolutely over the moon, I couldn’t believe it.”

VGC recently interviewed Kirkhope, Mayles and Chris Sutherland, who was lead programmer on the Banjo-Kazooie games, about the characters’ inclusion in Smash Bros. Ultimate.

“It was a surprise to me, but I know many people have been asking for this — it is great to see the bear and bird back in action,” said Sutherland.

Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai has also spoken of his satisfaction with the result of his first collaboration with a Western composer on the franchise.