All these Banjo announcements are giving me the warm ‘n’ fuzzies for Banjo Kazooie on the N64. Oh wait, I meant to say that they’re awakening repressed memories of collecting warm things, fuzzy objects, whosits, whatsits, musical notes, honey combs, and numerous other tiny, brightly colored items. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder met its match in Rare’s game about birds, bees, and witches. Thus, it’s with a sigh of relief and a sloppy hand wiping sweat from my brow that I point to a comment by Rare’s head of design, Gregg Mayles:
“I think to draw people back to platformers – certainly on an Xbox – we’ve got to do something that’s different and will actually appeal to a modern audience. And modern audiences, I think, don’t want to collect millions of objects.”
“In any game of this type there are things to collect, but we’re trying to make sure that the stuff you do collect plays a fundamental role in the game. Obviously the biggest is the vehicle parts themselves – the more you collect, the better vehicles you can build. If you don’t fancy collecting them, that’s fine. You’ll get given a certain amount anyway, but then the player can go out and find some more…It’s there if you want to do it but it’s not the be all and end all which maybe it was before.”
Ok, so it’s not a mindless collect-a-thon. Instead, each item has a function — usually relating to a vehicle — and notes serve to purchase vehicle pieces. Good thing, too. My faux-OCD was starting to itch. Still though, it sounds like a far cry from Mario Galaxy’s sleek, streamlined collection system. But then, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. The complexity inherent to Banjo’s retooled bits ‘n’ pieces aspect may better appeal to Microsoft’s audience.
With any luck, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts will play like a dream and become Rare’s next blockbuster. But we won’t know for sure until it launches this holiday season. Until then, our hands-on impressions will have to suffice.