Scribes - August 30, 2007
It's the stupid Rare letters page! Send us your mail! I move away from the mic to breathe in!
Hello there,
     My name is Diego and I've got some questions about your games:
     1.- What happened to Banjo-Kazooie for XBOX 360??, I can no longer find info about that game in your site, will we see Banjo on Microsoft console? I hope we do 'cause I think that's one of the best games and was one reason I bought my 360.
     2.- Are you planning to develop more games for the Nintendo DS like you did with Diddy Kong Racing?
     Thanks, I hope you can answer my questions.
Go, Diego, go!
     1) And stop. Breathe. Banjo for Xbox 360 is still on the way. I believe we have 'one or two' other people making similar enquiries in this edition, by which I mean half the letters bang on about it to some extent.
     2) As a special Scribes bonus, we're pleased to announce... Viva Piñata DS! Yes, the one that was announced weeks ago! We're announcing it here again! Just for you! Note: may not be the final title, could end up being called Viva Piñata: Dirty Sherbats or something for all I know. We actually had to change the title of the 30/7/07 News story from 'Dragonache Debuts on DS' because journos were ringing up to ask if the official title was Viva Piñata: Dragonache. Yes, you know who you are, thicky journos.
Hi there,
     Alright, let me begin by saying that you folks are gods to me. I grew up playing your games, and have nothing but love for every single one of them. Banjo-Kazooie is definitely my favorite of your various franchises, but I certainly find all of them to be great. Now then, to the questions...
     First of all, is there any real explanation for the "Cheese" in Perfect Dark? I've done my fair share of searching, but all I've managed to come up with is a Wikipedia footnote, claiming that it is intended to be pure nonsense.
     Second, I remember way back when, when I used to play Banjo-Kazooie. Every so often, I would go into the underwater castle, and input one of the various restoration cheats (be it for eggs, feathers, or what have you), and on occasion, I would then proceed to return to Bottles' house, and transform myself into one of the various nonsensical choices (the Washing Machine being my favorite). Well, over time, Bottles came to loathe me for all of my cheating, to the point where he told me he would no longer allow me to cheat. I always wondered... is there any way to circumvent this?
     Vishnu Peterson
Glad to hear you have such respect for our work on the Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune franchises. They do sometimes get overshadowed by the likes of Banjo. It's most unfortunate.
     Cheese: "Cheese was food for the hidden rats in Perfect Dark Zero," insists a PDZ representative. "Surely you found one on every level." Pure nonsense, indeed! The thought of it.
     Bottles: well, he's just a vicious lunatic with a macabre and twisted past. What can you do? Alright, I'll ask. Designer says: "To be honest I can't remember. I think Bottles also threatened to erase your cartridge but that was just a bluff (I really wanted the game to do this and then destroy your N64 but I was overruled)."
"I'm alive! I'm alive! Wait, I'm full of -"
Dear Scribes,
     Hi, I first off want to say my congrats to you guys for creating the original Banjo. I seriously doubt that a game since that has made me pee myself. I have been a Rareware fan since and religiously check your site (love the new version and MP3 player). My question is: when Banjo Kazooie 3/Banjo Threeie is released, will there be a special edition package? If so I would be willing to pay 200 bucks for it or the Euro translated version. Oh, and will they ever release the VP show on boxset? I have them all saved on my Tivo and it is getting full.
     D Pensis
Great name. Especially when you talk about peeing yourself as well. I will endeavour to get your questions answered by Mr. Mayles as he has a hand in both Banjo and VP development, but I can provide no guarantees as to the usefulness of said answers.
     "We've no idea whether there will be a special package, but for $200 I'll make you one myself. I'll cover it in glue and nip down Twycross Zoo, grab a handful of bear hair and stick it on. Then I'll dress it up in some shorts made from Post-It notes and add a backpack made from a box of matches. Sound good to you?
     "Regarding VP, again no idea whether we will see a boxset. I'm pretty sure we will but don't take that as a fact. I can sympathise with your Tivo situation, my Sky+ box is full of the papery things and I have seen them all many times but can't delete them as my nephew loves them."
Dear Scribes,
     Hello all. I am a long-time reader of the Rareware Scribes, but a first-time sender. Obviously having not written anything for so long, I'm quite full of pent-up questions, most of which are suitably inane. It's looking to be quite the numbered list...
     1) In Banjo-Tooie, when you blow up one of the Rocknuts folks, they say "All go shape of pear." What precisely does this mean? Is it some British joke my American brain cannot comprehend? Innuendo (ha-ha, "rocknuts")? Or something else?
     2) You have previously lambasted the concept of, erm, concept art, but is there any art, concept or official or otherwise, of Dragon Kazooie from BT? Those blocky N64 polygons simply will not satisfy my desire to see a hi-rez Dragooie.
     3) In Viva Pinata (I'm too lazy to find the tilde-n), I've figured out the origins of all the pinatas except two--the Lickatoad and the Lackatoad. At first I thought the Lickatoad might be "licorice," but that isn't punny, so I don't think it's that. And I have no idea what the Lackatoad could be. What are their candy-coated origins?
     4) Speaking of candy puns, was there, at any point in the Pinata development, a moose pinata? Because the moose/mousse pun just seems so obvious I find it hard to believe you wouldn't be all over it. (After all, you did at one point consider the name "Vulpineapple.")
     5) There's all this talk of a pinata called a Jeli in the show and here and all, the apocryphal sort of "lost species," you know. My question is, what kind of jelly does the Jeli partake of? Is it jelly in the "jam" sense of the word, the kind you put on toast, or is it jelly in the "gelatin" sense of the word, the sort we on this side of the pond refer to as Jell-O?
     6) Now that you folks are working for Microsoft, is there any chance--even that of Snowball Banjo on the fiery side of Hailfire Peaks--that we might see a PC version of something Rare-a-licious? (I'm hoping for a Banjo or a Pinata, but anything'll do, you know.)
     7) In closing, a word (or several) about DKRDS: Marvelous; it brings me back to that rainy Saturday I spent trying to beat T.T. on every single track to unlock him. (That was truly devilish how you changed that up for DKRDS. I can't imagine what the other girls in my hall thought about the screams of "I HAVE TO WIN WITH WHAT NOW?!") But I must ask why you made the hovercraft so much more squirrelly. I used to love the hovercraft, but now it's so flyaway it's incredibly difficult to control. Also, sneakily sneaking in another question, why did you get rid of time trials, individual track vehicle selection, and battle tracks from the main mode?
     Best regards (especially since you had to read all that dreck I just wrote),
     Ally "Freezair SilverEye"
Ach! Nobody's going to read a letter this long, not even if I edit out whole sentences here and there like the bit about Grunty's Revenge and why you thought it was pap. Try to keep it snappy, you... buggering bunch of windbags. Well, let's soldier on.
     1) To the Banjo boys first: "'It's all gone pear-shaped' is a British term used to describe something that hasn't gone to plan. Being blown up obviously wasn't on the Rocknuts agenda. Have a look at the Wikipedia entry before someone changes it to a string of profanities or tries to remove all the negative bits."
     2) We just said we didn't have much/any concept art from the DKC days, we didn't lambast the whole principle of it – we crack out masses of the stuff these days. The team concur: "Dragon Kazooie? Should have been a fighting game character name really. I don't think we've got any, sadly. Although concept art aficionados will love the new Banjo game as we have concept art for everything – this morning I wanted to visit the men's room but couldn't until a concept artist had drawn up a wildly imaginative sketch of what the scene would look like."
     3) The tilde's right here: ñ. Easy. VP designer Justin will be your escort to the end of question 6: "The Lickatoad and Lackatoad names are tied together. The Lackatoad is a poison frog so we thought that naming him after lactose intolerance was appropriate. 'Lick' from Lickatoad could be from 'liquorice' as you suggested, but I always thought it was from licking a lollipop or an ice cream (which bends the rules a bit). The Lackatoad only appears after the player has messed about with the Lickatoad, so we wanted the names to sound similar. That seems quite boring now I've explained it. See what happens when you ask too many questions? You ruin the magic!
     "4) I don't know whether I should be offended at your suggestion that we find it hard to resist such a cheap pun, or should I just write it down for future reference?" (A teammate adds: "Conferring with the 'All Suggested Names' document we have, I see that some of the 'less liked' suggestions for the Mouse were 'Mice Cream', 'Squeaktart' and 'Ropezident(!)' before we sensibly settled for 'Mousemallow'.")
     "5) Oh, it's definitely the wobbly, children's party variety. I can never understand why people over the Atlantic refuse to use the best definition of the word 'Jam' especially since it means you had to invent a whole new word 'Jell-O'. I mean Jell-O, that sounds like one of our character names.
     "6) We've already announced the 'best animal-based game featuring piñatas' for the PC – Viva Piñata PC! The title's not very catchy but it plays really well."
     7) Batted across to the DS team for this one, as it wouldn't make much sense for the 360 lot to answer it: "Pleased you liked DKR, you weren't alone judging by the sales. This is actually the same hovercraft as on N64, but it's been laid up in a garage for a few years without a service and it really needs some new tyres too. Oh, ahem, that's the car! We didn't remove Time Trials, you just haven't found the secret Banjo key that opens the secret ice door to that mode yet ;-)"
     Look at that. How am I supposed to dis people for asking long, rambling questions when the answers are even ruddy longer?
Dear Scribes,
     FRIGHTENING PIÑATA SHOW REVELATION. Leafos is in the opening pan of the show's title sequence and then NEVER SEEN IN THE SHOW AGAIN. Did the Piñatas kill her, presuming that she contained candy and were disappointed when that they discovered that she only contained bloody, fleshy remains?
     I mean, it was the first conclusion I came to.
     Ben K
It would be, you bonkers convict. Let's take this conundrum over to the team where its many layers will unfurl like the petals of a summer blossom.
     "It's easy to believe that Leafos is this really friendly, helpful girl but she's not like that when the cameras aren't rolling. She wanted the biggest trailer on the set, she wanted peeled Smarties and fresh French bread brought to her every two hours. Even this was acceptable – the last straw came when she demanded that Hudson become her personal butler and that she should perform all his parts dressed in a Horstachio suit. I mean we tried it, but to be honest Hudson just didn't sound right with that lovely Irish accent. Just to get her off the set, she's been sent away to 'research' her own mini-series – Leafos from the Plot. It's a tale of a young gardening girl struggling on the mean footpaths of Piñata Island. Despite her upbringing she becomes a massive star but she never forgets her tragic past."
Scribes-Time Dude!
     Well I sure do hope you're happy, with sleeping through E3 and all. But that's OK, as it seems that those Piñatas of yours somehow managed to find their way to E3 without you. I just hope for my PC worshipping best friend and little sister's sake that the PC port of Viva Piñata will be available to Windows XP users too. (Those smelly non-console playing weirdos.) VPDS looks great too, but to save space let's get this train wreck moving, eh?
     Z) I've just pre-ordered my Gears of War Soundtrack (and tagged on N3's for kicks), and I have to ask: Will there ever be a Soundtrack CD for Viva Piñata? Sumthing does such a great job bringing those things to the fans who appreciate the tunes of Xbox games to said fans. Am I in luck? Or will I be in the “near future?”
     Y) Over all of the Rare games currently playable on the Xbox 360, what do you think is currently the toughest Achievement to achieve? I'm thinking something in the Perfect Dark Zero area...
     X) B. Locker and Mike Krophone (the Ringside Referee from the end of DK64, duh) seemed very out of place in the game, as the Donkey Kong games were very limited on possessed normally inanimate objects like Banjo-Kazooie's Leaky the bucket and Bawl the onion. Why were there Object-Characters in DK64 when there weren't any previously? You couldn't get any Kremlings to do it? Not that I'm Anti-OCs or anything like that. I've got to cover my arse as everything's so politically correct these days. (Can't wait to see Jesse Jackson's response to RE5 though. ;) )
     W) Ah, the Cinnamonkey – Nature's Monkey Nut lover. How gracefully they climb down from their tree-top homes to investigate your Garden, how cute their chirps and hoots are, and how original their electric guitar Romance Dances are! Naw, it's pretty freaking obvious that Cinnamonkeys refer to good old Diddy Kong, don't they? And I love it!
     Well, I WAS going to show off that time I wore my handcrafted Dingpot costume to the Renaissance Fair for your confectionary prize. Everything was going SO well that day, until some huge, nasty, D&D-ish Half Elf/Half Pollock mistook my guise as a chamber pot... After that, I just can't find anything cool about people dressing up and acting like medieval fools. Nothing. ('Sides, I can live without ANCIENT COOKIES.)
Let's round up some peeps. Justin from VP again: "Zzzzzzz... snork... wha? E3? I thought they canned E3 after they banned all the booth babes? VP PC XP? Yes sir!
     "Z) Errrr. I don't know the answer to this one. It sounds as if you'd like one so I'll say... you might be lucky in the near future."
     Y) PDZ's Uncle Dunc: "Probably. You should get them all and then compare the relative difficulty of obtaining them. Then ask other people who have the same achievements for their values for relative difficulty. And then compile it in a table and write up the conclusions. Don't complain to me that you can't do this because you have a life – you're writing in to Scribes, for god's sake."
     X) Banjo lead Gregg: "George (the lead designer on DK64) had previously served his 'apprenticeship' on Banjo-Kazooie, so maybe some of the 'everything has eyes' thinking rubbed off on him. I also recall that I acted as a 'guest designer' for the K. Rool Battle, so maybe I found a sneaky way to infect another game with my weird object characters."
     W) Back to Justin: "I think you'll find all the best games have monkeys in them. Monkeys and barrels and crates. I think there's some sort of videogame law that these things have to be included. We weren't even going to have a monkey in Viva Piñata but then some sharp-eyed tester noticed that we didn't have a lava or an ice level, so we had to put a monkey in to compensate. It must have worked, no-one complained that the ice and lava levels were missing..."
Dear Scribes:
     I have seen the Banjo-Threeie Trailer and It is reason enough for me to buy a 360 with Halo 3 and Blue Dragon. But there is no gameplay movies. I am starting to think this is a joke and Banjo-Threeie is going to be canceled at the final stage of development or it will undergo Conker's transformation of a kind squrrel to a foul mouthed, drunk, and greedy squrrel, Will Banjo Threeie undergo the same (and horid) transformation or will it be released in 2007 or 2008. Please show a link to a gameplay video.
     Adam Seidel
Do you really think 'squirrel' is spelt without an 'i'? I mean, really? You did it twice. That gives me actual physical pain.
     Team says: "You've seen through our ploy! We never intended to do a new Banjo game and have been spending huge amounts of cash over the last few years creating a fake game that we will cancel just as the boxes are being put on the shelves. The reason you haven't seen any gameplay videos is we are trying a new concept of not actually including any gameplay in the game, although you could say we already tried this with Taboo and it didn't really work. Seriously though, Banjo is still Banjo and we will release a gameplay video when we feel the time is right."
     There's absolutely no reason for us to go down the 'horid transformation' route as the whole point of this game is to expand the family game demographic on Xbox 360 – the situation was completely different on N64, i.e. not exactly a drought of cutesy 3D platformers but pretty much zilch in the way of games for adults. So calm your fears, Prince of Eternia.
     I have a question about Perfect Dark Zero and it's multiplayer. What exactly did the team at Rareware do to ensure such a smooth, lagless, field of play? I play 1 versus 1 games and those games are not without an excessive amount of lag. But with Perfect Dark Zero, 32 player games are literally lag free? Insanity!
     Please sell your netcodes with every other gaming company so I can start having better online games.
Look at this, two replies from different people on the team. That's what happens when you're nice and don't just write in to moan about everything like an old woman.
     General designer quote: "Cheers, we're very glad you appreciate it! We spent a lot of time and effort to make sure we could get as many players online and in the same game as possible, and although the maximum number was lower than the target we'd set ourselves during development we were pleased with the quality of the final experience."
     More techy programmer quote: "We've developed our own software and techniques which are optimised for network play on Xbox Live. It's important to us to ensure that everyone in a match experiences the same conditions and that the networked gameplay is fair to everyone. I'd say the two main factors working for us in PDZ are:
     "1. It uses a peer-to-peer system instead of a server for much of the data transfer. This can halve the latency since data no longer needs to go to the server first and then be sent from there to its destination – instead data can be sent direct to whoever needs it.
     "2. There can still be lag – but we worked hard to make the game systems hide it as much as possible, e.g. in the player movement. The Xbox 360 development environment has some great tools for testing different network conditions and we really pushed some of them to the limits in our tests.
     "We're still fairly new to making networked games and there were a couple of problems that remained in PDZ at the end. But we're learning fast and they'll be fixed in our future games :)"
Dear Scribes,
     It may be too late for this, but in response to DS game ideas, it would be too damn awesome to have a Donkey Kong Country 4 in my hands right about now...
     Another idea: a compilation of all the Spectrum games. BAM, another perfect game!
     Idea the Third: Viva Piñata DS, complete with wireless wifi piñata trading. BAM, these perfect games are so perfect that "perfect" is no longer a word!
     Idea of Fourth Place: California Games, Silent Service, Pin Bot, Battletoads, and Snake Rattle 'n' Roll all on one game card. BAM! Perfect idea! No I'm not kidding--California Games = best sports game I've played to date. I've had that game for as long as I can remember, but I never knew it was a Rare game... same for Silent Service. Best tactical game ever. I wish your name was in bigger print in the game intros... While you're at it, toss Wizards & Warriors in there too.
     In summation...
     DS Game 1--Donkey Kong Country 4
     DS Game 2--Spectrum Collection
     DS Game 3--Viva Piñata DS
     DS Game 4--NES Collection
     I'd buy all four of those in a heartbeat.
As you can see from the attractive orange text, we've already got one of those coming your way. As for the other three: "It's going to take us longer than a heartbeat to make them," observe the fellas in the DS department. "When do you want us to start?"
     Of course, a fair bit of Rare's NES output was licensed stuff for Tradewest, MB, Acclaim etc. (and so isn't strictly 'ours' – for a start everyone knows California Games was Epyx) so in putting together a compilation we may end up doing an Artax in the filthy swamp of rights. Probably be easier to just, you know, do some new stuff instead.
To Whom It May Or May Not Concern,
     First and foremost, I wish to issue a disclaimer (don't ask why... it just seemed like a good idea). I'm a boorish American dolt with no affinity for tact or proper social communications. I'm lazy and refuse to do any research when there are resources readily available to ask questions of. Should a person decline to respond to one of my questions, I will continue to bombard said person with the same question on a weekly basis. I do not believe in false flattery in order to receive a response or desired answer.
     That said, I'm an ardent Banjo-Kazooie fan! I've spent hundreds of hours frantically, yet blissfully, hunting down jiggies and musical notes! Let it be known that I'm also an ardent Nintendo fan. At one point in my life, I looked forward to playing the next Banjo-Kazooie sequels on a Nintendo platform. When Microsoft bought out Rare, those fantasies, if you will, shriveled and died. I have long since come to grips with the fact that I may never see another Banjo-Kazooie game on a Nintendo home console.
     However, I see a light in the form of the Nintendo DS. Is there a chance, any remote chance that I may see a Banjo-Kazooie adventure game for the Nintendo DS (if this question has already been answered, please see my disclaimer above), or should I hang up the dream and cling to reveries of days gone by?
     From a Rare-Nintendo fan,
     Matt Anderson
     P.S. Should you offer a solution such as acquiring an Xbox 360 I shall put my index fingers in my ears and repeat "la-la-la" as loud as I can.
You wouldn't believe how many letters we still get about stuff like this. Well, I suppose you would. But there's no getting around the fact that at this moment in time, Microsoft and Nintendo have competing consoles in the marketplace, and Rare is a subsidiary of Microsoft. That doesn't mean we don't admire a lot of the stuff that Nintendo's done lately – this is business, not personal. What more can we say? DS games are obviously not out of the question, but as you can imagine it's not entirely straightforward sorting out which properties are the best fit in both a commercial and a political sense.
     Let's see what the Banjo team think about a DS outing. "There is a remote chance. Not sure how remote we are talking here – it could be as remote as people stopping asking about SnS (pretty remote), someone not moaning about how the new Banjo isn't as good as the old one (extremely remote) or the England football team winning the world cup again (not going to happen). Anyway, if that answer isn't good enough, feel free to email Leigh at least once a week as he would love that." Well, I do love hitting the delete key.
KI2: Electric Boogaloo
Dear Scribe-O,
     Conventional wisdom would dictate that Killer Instinct is just Street Fighter II dressed up in Mortal Kombat's clothes. When you think about it, though, the three games came out within four years of each other. My theory is that wild nights in Tokyo during Donkey Kong Country publicity led the team into lurid circumstances and Hitchcockian intrigue. Rare cartoonists, Capcom programmers, and slovenly, belching Midway ranch-hands were falling over each other drunk and sharing the same geishas.
     Anyway, I'm shopping a script around that's based on those ideas, and they're angling for Alan Rickman to play you. Any backers? It'll make a helluva KI3 PR machine!
     What? A scam? I'm insulted.
For a start, if they were in Tokyo they'd have been promoting Super Donkey Kong, not Donkey Kong Country. Only a fool would doubt the occurrence of Hitchcockian intrigue though. We can only hope nobody was dressed as a monkey at the time.
     I'm far too simple and shallow to be portrayed by a proper actor – apparently I should be played by John Terry (the England footballer, not Hawk the Slayer) but that's probably a bit harsh on John Terry as well.
     Other casting scoops: Fulgore to be played by Steven Seagal, Cinder by Freddie Prinze Jr. on fire, and Eyedol by The Proclaimers.
Dear Rareware/whoever the heck writes the Scribes,
     Considering I have never really wrote one of these, I might as well take some time to say that all or your games are awesome, and I've beaten Banjo-Kazooie (my favorite game of all time), Banjo-Tooie (not nearly as good as BK), Banjo-Pilot (my brother actually beat this one, I just managed to destroy the final boss for him), Donkey Kong 64 (not all the bananas, however), Conker's Bad Fur Day, Conker: Live & Reloaded (you totally crapped up the swimming system, but the graphics were incredible, and you could have made the single player harder), Kameo, and Viva Piñata (well, sorta, but it's the most played Xbox 360 game we have). I also own a bunch of other games you have created. Seeing as this mumble of boring expeditions of my gaming is probably luring all the readers to sleep, I might as well get on with the questions.
     1) How is the new Banjo's creation going? Are you ever going to release some new pre-release information, like screens, game demos, game footage, or maybe a game trailer? (Or, better yet, release a beta audio track that Grant Kirkhope has been working on? He's my favorite video game music artists.)
     2) About SnS, how much is left in BK, will Banjo-Threeie (what I'm going to call the new Banjo game until you guys come up with a name for it) finally release the data on what happened to it, and... yada yada yada, you probably won't answer this one anyway.
     3) Due to 90% of the Banjo fan-base HATING Banjo's new look, are you going to change it? I'm actually fine with it, though.
     4) As for Viva Piñata, will there be a sequel that won't relate to retarded minigames, like a Mario Party or Wario Ware wanna-be? Did you guys actually come up with that idea?
     5) If you do make a proper VP sequel, will there happen to be Jelis, Pengums, Polollybears, a Kangaroo piñata, a Leminee, a Giraffe piñata, and any other cryptids that have been referenced before? Is there the possibility that instead, those piñatas will be downloadable through Xbox Live?
     6) Will there ever be any new Conker games in the future? What about another Donkey Kong 64, or Kameo?
     7) Any chance of Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, or Donkey Kong 64 on the Virtual Console?
     8) A Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie remake or DS port would be awesome, any chance of that happening? (I hope the Banjo Team loves these questions as much as I do, lol.)
     Thank you for reading,
1) I hate to tell you, but Grant's only one person. We may well release some screenshots and stuff sooner or later – you know, in the course of publicising our highest-profile release for several years. It's a crazy idea but it might just work. Some quick comments from the team: "Banjo’s going nicely, thanks. Information will only be released when we feel the time is right. It will be soon, but probably not tomorrow.
     "2) Sorry, the expiry date for all SnS questions has passed.
     "3) Banjo's new look will not change. When you see the rest of the game and what it's about, the look will make more sense." And you know what else they say about 10% of all men?
     4) Our VP rep for today bristles: "Retarded mini-games? You're on thin ice now buddy. Just imagine someone you know is playing Viva Piñata Party Animals and you're bored so you sit down and pick up a pad and before you know it you're having some fun, that would mean that you were enjoying a 'retarded mini-game' and technically that would make you, you know, retarded by your own definition. Could happen. I'd just wait to see what the team at Krome come up with before you write it off."
     5) And: "We aren't doing any downloadable content for Viva Piñata because we are much too busy doing something else..."
     6) I think it's fair to say that the chances of new Kameo or Conker instalments are better than those of a new DK64. Anyway, what do you mean by "another Donkey Kong 64"? Specifically a sequel on the N64? Or does it just need to have '64' in the title? It's just as well we never did a sequel, coming up with a title would have been a pain in the arse.
     7) Banjo team: "Maybe, but not up to us." That's what I thought.
     8) Well, there's always a chance, although the team behind the upcoming 360 game reveals: "We considered a Banjo remake (actually did some work towards it) but then dropped it in favour of the current fresh approach." On the other hand, VP DS (as well as being a good fit for the handheld) also shows that we can bring across properties other than those owned by Nintendo. So we'll leave you to wonder what's coming after VP DS.
Hello, Scribes guy,
     I'm writing again a little soon because I just want you to straighten some things out. Is Rare a first-party developer or a second-party developer? Someone I know says you're a second-party developer because you don't make consoles but make games for a console maker, where I say you're first because you're a subsidiary of Microsoft, a company who makes the consoles.
     Also, you said that all Kongs and Kremlings were Nintendo's in a Scribes reply on Diddy Kong Racing DS. What about Tricky? Does he count as a Nintendo character or Rare character?
     Bryan Skinner
This acquaintance of yours is naught but an intolerable divot. Rare's a first-party developer because we're part of Microsoft, not just because we make games for them. That's the criterion.
     The Tricky question initially seems a bit, well, trickier because he appeared in DKR before Star Fox Adventures, assuming it's the same character, which it supposedly is (or was originally intended to be) – but at the end of the day Nintendo owns SFA outright, and Tricky also turned up in the otherwise Rare-free zone of Star Fox Assault along with Krystal, which would more or less confirm it.
Hey Mr. Scribbler--I mean Loveday!
     I have some B-K rants for you? (And guess what? I'll actually make it easier and NOT do a numbered list! Yup, I'm great. And I know it.) First off, are we still sticking with Spiral Mt. as the opening world? 'Cos since Grunty sort of blew up the duo's house, you'd think they would relocate.
     Also, please tell me that there won't be ACTUAL voices in this and you'll stick with the strange sound effect and words you read off the screen? I mean I suppose you could always grab some hillbillies off their couches in southern USA, but that would just ruin it.
     And lastly (kinda) where the heck is your B-K 3 page on the site? Once you announce you're making something you are obligated to put up a page on the site for it. Even if it doesn't have anything on it really (of course then I'd complain about THAT, but it's really beside the point!).
     Well, that much aside, congrats on doing as well as you have for so long... some people would start to have half-baked games by now, but not you chaps! Keep it up! (I mean it.)
     ~*B-K Girl*~
Cheers. But tell me where you see the purpose in putting up a page for a game with no title, logo, release date, gameplay details or screenshots. We haven't even got enough stuff for a Piñata DS page yet, and we've already spoken about that more than Banjo. All things in due course, impatient wench.
     Now, team lead Gregg with some dramatic revelations:
     "Spiral Mountain will indeed be making a third appearance. We've just copied the old level from the previous games and tried to tart it up a bit with some lens flares and lots of blowing grass, hopefully you won't notice.
     "The 'voices or mumbling' debate went on for some time, but we have decided that... ... ...THE MUMBLING WILL REMAIN! Banjo is known for the mumbling so it seemed odd to change it to 'proper' speech just because we could.
     "I don't think we have told Leigh anything about Banjo, so it would be difficult for him to create a page for it. He sells secrets on eBay, see."
     That's not entirely true, I sell lies on eBay. Saves me breaking any NDAs, although my Feedback rating's currently -612.
Dear Scribes,
     I'm confused. Why? you ask, well, I'll tell you.
     Recently, I've discovered quite a few of my friends are old Battletoads fans. I'm a huge fan from way back, but when I discovered their interest, I decided to call them together for a massive Battletoads playing frenzy (purely heterosexual). We never could get past the 3rd level of Battlemaniacs, but we did spend many hours of pure happiness playing the 1st and 2nd levels. It got me thinking. Why? WHY? Did Rare choose to abandon this incredible franchise!? That's why I'm confused. This game was GOD.
     I realize asking for the immediate production of Battletoads 5 is stupid, but I am really interested in the possibilities. Have you attempted production and found that you couldn't formulate enough ideas? Is it on your list of possible future productions? Or is the franchise dead beyond a doubt? I can only dream.
     Sean Ware
     PS. From a gamer's point of view, I can't really see it moving into the 3D stage. A DS version, with the same style, gameplay and Dave Wise composing would be perfect. Love your work.
The idea has been bounced around a few times over the years, so we haven't outright abandoned it – but as with KI3, we'd need to have a good enough set of ideas to make something genuinely modern and memorable out of it. Or there might be a simpler reason, admits its designer:
     "As I've said before, Battletoads is too hard for today's gamers (you admit yourself that you can't get past level 3). A Battletoads game that wasn't stupidly difficult would not be a Battletoads game. Battletoads also has nice vibrant colours – modern games only use grey and brown. But who knows? In five years' time players may be more skilful and demand more colour, meaning we can rush out a half-hearted sequel and clean up."
Dear Scribes,
     Well, if it wasn't for Rare, I may not be into videogames, my first two games were Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing and I loved those games and have bought every game in each of their series (I admit Diddy Kong Racing being easier than the Banjo series). Anyway, I have been planning to buy a 360 for the soul (don't know if that's the right 'soul' but whatever) reason of being able to get Banjo-Threeie and Viva Piñata (and maybe a few other games as well, but I wouldn't buy the console if you didn't make those games for it) but at E3 it was announced that Viva Piñata was being ported to PC, now this intrigued me. I originally thought your games were only going to be made for 360 and whatever other Xboxes come out in the future (and the DS of course!) so now it has led me to ask if any other games shall be ported to PC? In particular, the two games that are sequels to series you made on Nintendo, Perfect Dark Zero and Banjo-Threeie, I myself would think this would be a most profitable idea (well for you at least), as a lot of fans that were made in the 64 days may still be Nintendo fans, and not have a 360 and may not plan on ever getting one, but they almost all have a PC, and in the case of Perfect Dark Zero, they say FPS are better on PC than console, though Banjo-Threeie is the opposite (well at least I think platformers are better on consoles) but still, people would buy it (and it's possible, I mean I have played platformers on PC often and they weren't that bad at all) so basically I ask, will you make for or port any games to PC. Oh and another question! Will you ever strike a deal to allow games like Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark to be released on the Wii's Virtual Console in exchange for something like allowing them to be sold on Xbox Live Arcade?
     Zachary Clarke
My God, it's like some stream-of-consciousness literary nightmare. Paragraphs, Zachary Quack, paragraphs!
     As you'll know by now, Viva Piñata is set to be Rare's PC debut. We may or may not do it with others in the future should the opportunity arise and the game be a good match. As for VC, it's ultimately Nintendo's decision what gets released. Beyond the DKC games we don't have anything in the pipeline at the moment, but that doesn't mean it won't happen in future. OMG CORPERATE ANSER#!1
     "In some ways the Piñata PC version is a test into uncharted waters for us," ponders a chin-rubbing team commentator. "Depending on how smoothly things run and the kind of response it gets we could look into doing more of this in the future. But if it's a right nightmare and sells three copies (i.e. like Ghoulies) then we'll probably think twice before doing anything else."
Hello Scribes,
     Huge fan since the SNES etc. but I do have one major query. Nay – a plea. No, scratch that – an order for the Banjo 3 team. It concerns voice acting.
     Now, I know you must feel under immense pressure to take the franchise as far into next-gen gaming as technology and the space-time continuum will allow, but sometimes I feel following trends needs to take a backseat to good old-fashioned escapism and imagination. In my perfect world, we would all go around talking in a gibbered-up version of our own voices whilst text materialised under our faces.
     So please do give the decision serious thought – if not for the sake of keeping the series' charm and fans' illusions intact – then for the fact that a talking Banjo would sound alarmingly like Magilla Gorilla.
     Forever yours (no touching though),
Banjo's actually attended etiquette school in the time since Tooie and will henceforth speak with the impeccable diction of an English aristocrat. From the Victorian era. "You there! Bulging-eyed polygonal fellow! Deliver that rotating treble clef into my upkeep at once."
     Or you could go with the official word from the devs: "You'll be pleased to know that we have gone for the 'last-gen' option – no fancy speech for us! Holding a conversation with Grant (Banjo's musician) is pretty much like this, as he talks so unintelligibly fast in his pseudo-Scottish Yorkshire accent we haven't got a clue what he's saying."
Greetings Rare,
     I've sent you this e-mail to ask you a question about something that is really important to me. It is concerning the games you produce. I feel kind of disappointed to say this but looking from what games you made in the past (Donkey Kong series, Banjo-Kazooie) and what you are making now (Kameo etc.), what I noticed is that your quality has decreased. I think it is because Microsoft is very serious and Nintendo is more kiddy, and Donkey Kong was a success.
     Therefore my question is: Are you ever going to return to Nintendo? Me and many more people are waiting for a new Banjo-Kazooie, some REAL Donkey Kong games, and many more things. I know you are still producing for Nintendo DS but we need you on the Wii as well.
     Have Rare keep its Rare quality. Hope to hear from you.
Not entirely sure what you're asking us to do. Apart from make a new Banjo game and a REAL Donkey Kong game, whatever that is – and as we've already said, the former we're already doing, while the latter's not so likely unless Nintendo specifically request it.
     As for current games showing a decrease in quality... why, because they're not on the GameCube or Wii? That seems to be the issue here. If you don't approve of some of our recent output (or think it's not the traditional fare of the target console, which is the whole point), lift up the rose-tinted glasses and look at some of the 'less appreciated' titles we've released in the past on other platforms. Hang on, I think this just deteriorated into self-bullying. Moving on...
To the trained baboon who runs Scribes,
     First up, I bought Grabbed by the Ghoulies just yesterday and it's been a blast. I am so glad I am now a part of the (small) underground Ghoulies community. Shan't be long until it's a cult classic, what with that ever so crafty advertising in Viva Piñata on behalf of Leafos. ;). (Baron Von Ghoul is perhaps the most dastardly villain of any Rare game, ever.)
     Now to the questions, in the obligatory numbers system so you can understand me easily and not hurt yourself trying to decipher what I'm saying.
     1. Exactly what the bloody hell were the Perfect Dark Zero design team thinking when they created the Hawk 'Boomerang'. In the game, the 'boomerang' can travel at high velocity and bounce off walls, floors and people. The thrower can retrieve it if it happens to stray into their own path. What really gets my goat, however, is that a real boomerang returns to its owner of its own accord, after it travels in a wide curving motion and comes back. The (Wikipedia) definition of a boomerang is: "A boomerang is a curved, usually wooden, device which is thrown. A boomerang spins as it flies through the air, and can travel long distances. A boomerang is designed to, when thrown correctly, fly in a curved path to return to the person who threw it". You see that? Alas, I'm yet to get my Hawk to return back to me, by itself without it bouncing everywhere. (Sigh)
     2. Exactly how many, to the nearest thousand, letters in Scribes do you receive regarding Killer Instinct 360, the GoldenEye Beta cartridge or any other popular yet fruitless inquiry?
     3. Why no information on Banjo-Kazooie 3 (whatever you're calling it) at this year's E3? Oh the woes of not knowing the progress of perhaps the greatest bird and bear adventure in recent history!
     4. Why did the Piñatapedia, as with everything else on the site, take so long to complete? You crazy Brits and your tea sipping, Neighbours watching and football watching antics! (I'm Australian, hence the previous boomerang argument.)
     Well I hope to get a reply because I may need to send in complaints regarding TipTup the sociopath turtle, Leafos' lovely nature – yet somewhat useless tips or the weapon balancing in DK64's multiplayer. You don't want me to do that.
     Here's cheers, and have a rubbish link too. Did you guys have anything to do with this?
     C. Gibson
They tried to train me, but I put a box on my head and whooped until they went away.
     1) Let's give those crazy PDZ kids a chance to acquit this particular design decision in 20 words or less: "Boomerang or Crazy Robot Discus. Your choice. No, you can't have Crazy Robot Discus. Too many letters."
     2) Lost count of how many we've received over the years (oh God, the long years). Not so many lately. Well, not so many on the GoldenEye beta front, but the KI3 zealots can still be pretty vocal. PD button codes are still a 'hot topic' too, apparently – see next letter.
     3) Er... didn't wanna. But just check out all the giddy Banjo revelations on this very page.
     4) Feedback on the Piñatapedia! Oh, it's just a load of moaning. What's the problem? We did it in regular weekly updates for ten weeks straight without a hitch. What, you wanted all 60 species in one go? SORRY TO DISAPPOINT, MEL.
     No, the lovely cookie lady is nothing to do with us, but with all the extra hits I bet she'll surpass #16 on North Carolina's Fantastic 40 any time now.
Totally impractical in a gunfight, hence the desk job
Dear Scribes,
     I was wondering when Rare took down the Carrington Institute website and the DataDyne website?
     When are you going to release the button codes for Perfect Dark as well?
     Happy fan since 1993
I wasn't even going to bother answering this one, but Duncan seems keen to do so despite the number of times we've done it already. There's still that spark of optimism within him insisting that people will stop asking if you tell them something for the 79th time.
     "We never took them down, since we didn't own/create them anyway. You'd be wanting to talk to Nintendo, who handled all of the marketing for Rare for games released on their consoles.
     "We will release the button codes just as soon as someone invents a working time machine and goes back in time to insert button codes into the game during production, since we didn’t at the time. What an oversight, etc. If you still believe that there are button codes after this length of time you may as well also believe in Father Christmas/the Tooth Fairy/the fairness of any electoral system, anywhere. Also: see every previous reply or comment we have ever made on this subject since the release of the game and possibly also before, all of which state that there are no button codes in Perfect Dark (roughly half of these comments also contain related threats of violence, particularly the later ones)."
Dear Warerare...
     Hey, it's a numbered list! TO THE SHERBAT-CAVE!
     ...moving along, then.
     1. In Viva Piñata, how and why did you choose to base the final product around... piñatas? Was the idea derived from the team leader's childhood trauma of being whacked with a stick every day at school, or is there something I don't know?
     2. Any clear word on who's publishing Viva Piñata DS? Piñata isn't Nintendo's property, so they probably won't be involved, but what about THQ? Is the contract with them still intact, or will a new publisher be taking the job this time around?
     3. What's the final verdict on Sabreman Stampede? In a previous Scribes, I quote: "It's still coming out. In some form. Wait and see." I've been waiting for three years now, and haven't seen much of anything. Care to redeem yourself, Mr. Loveday?
     4. Does Rare have any of those commercial writing utensils, like most of the fancy companies pass around these days? Even you can't deny that taking a calculus test with one of those would instantly deem me the most popular guy in class.
     I took into consideration that you might grace me with cryptic, non-revealing comments as usual, so that's why I've prepared myself with an RPA of Mr. Pants laughing at an injured animal! Clive Alive!
Numbered lists FTL (i.e. for teh lose, not faster than light). Should be able to get the VP task force to take down at least half of these, Bourne-style (i.e. quickly and efficiently, not by holding a book to your face and punching it really hard).
     "1. It was a master-plan by the design team. We really like sweets and stuff, and we thought if we were doing a game that involved sweets we might get Microsoft to send us some for 'research purposes'. Watch out for our future games because we just realised we really like cake, now we need an idea where cake is essential to the game... hmmm.
     "a. Sorry, that isn't entirely true. The real story is that our artist is really good at drawing blobby animals that look a bit like piñatas. He can also draw really good-looking cake.
     "2. Oh, here's another one I don't know the answer to. Let's try this again... 'You might be lucky in the near future'. Oh no, that doesn't seem to work in this case. Oh well." So much for Bourne.
     3) At the time, it was still coming out in some form. What's to redeem? You can only work with the facts you have. There was a time when Russell Mulcahy claimed that Highlander II would be a worthwhile sequel with a brilliant script, and look what happened there. Of course, that was more of an outright lie, but still – I don't hold it against him. Any more than anybody else does.
     4) If you're angling for a free pen, I fear that setting a precedent for Tat Handouts in Scribes would be a dramatic and sweeping error.
     Mr. Pants is obviously laughing with relief because they've just announced the dog's going to be fine. What kind of a twisted mind would see anything else in that picture?
Hey Scribo.
     This might be considered a little old school, but...
     It's been many, many long years since I played any of the Killer Instinct games, but I've always wondered what Jago was saying when he did any of his special moves. Maybe you could enlighten me a little. Is it actual Tibet lingo? Or just a bunch of jibble-jubble-jarble-gurble-garble?
     P.S. Tell them to make KI3 already.
I expect Robin would know.
     "KI1 was artist Kev trying to read random phrases out of some ninja book he had. KI2 was NCL employee Hiro Yamada who looked at the special moves and came up with Japanese phrases that he thought were appropriate, along with phrases for winning and losing."
     Another burning question from the Rare archives put to rest! Wait, that's a mixed metaphor. Another burning question from the Rare archives urinated into a blackened husk! Sorry, for some reason nobody wanted to comment on KI3.
  Shut your f**king mouth and make a new Conker and K.I. Thanks a lot. I very much appreciate your time.
None None
We very much appreciate you taking the time to write too!! You arsehole!!
  What happened to Killer Instinct? That's the best fighting game of all time. Tell me that ya'll are going to bring it back exclusively for PS3.
That's not just one, but two reasons to immediately cease the development we hadn't started.
  Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why you had to hide away for so long (so long)?
Electric Tights Orchestra
I expect he had to go into hiding after that godawful ELO-themed episode of Doctor Who.
  LOLXROX OHNOES WUT OTHER cARcTURZ BE RETURNONG IN BK3?!!!!11onme1!!!1 LOL ME HAZ WATED 7 YEARS FOR TIS DAIY!!!!!!!!!!!!!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!111!!1!11!!11!!!
Waiting For BK3
Banjo says: "Have some dignity, scoundrel. Butchery of the Queen's English is a slur on her great name."
  In the old "Music Team Tepid Seat", Dave W told he is working on "a game for Xbox"... We still don't know what it was! Is this one of your next secret projects on 360?
Dark Cook
It was for a while, but then it wasn't. There were monkeys and rhinos in it. Doesn't narrow it down much, does it?
  Trunker wants rain, give him some Rare... give him some.
Jared Curtis
Trunker's diva demands have escalated to a point where it's in his own best interests for us to disregard them.
I told you, we've got the sinister Bumper origin RPG and Timber/Pipsy WWII FPS to do first.
  When do you think Banjo Threeie will be coming out, because it would be nice if it came out before christmas so I could ask for it. It would be cool if you could add some extra stuff in it like blood. p.s. please put this on your site or write back. THANKS!
Vinny D.
Couldn't possibly say when it's coming out, but I'll make sure that nobody messes with the stealth kills and decapitations.
Scribes - August 30, 2007