Scribes – May 9, 2008
It's the stupid Rare letters page! Send us your mail! Looking good hanging with the wild bunch, looking good in a buffalo stance!
Greetings Scribes,
     I've heard you are a small start-up chocolate-maker looking to take on Cadbury. Well, I've got news for you. Your paper animals filled with chocolate aren't enough to take down our empire! That's right, you Smarty-hugging freaks. We're already planning on rolling out our chocolate houses this Easter (or, um, later than the next Scribes). Cheap and affordable housing that'll take you months to eat through. Beat that.
     Oh! And about the other side of your business:
     - Will Rare or Microsoft push for a plush of the new-look Banjo? Rap, yo.
     - Are bosses going to play a big part in Banjo 3, or will it be more like the original game, with only one main boss?
     - Can we have a level that parodies Mario Galaxy's planets, please?
     - Any customisable elements in the game?
     - Has Rare got any development barns where they create mutant, monster farm animals?
     - Is there a pet cat that roams the offices?
     So hey! Thanks for your time,
     The Chocolate Sheep
Smarty-huggers, eh? That looks wrong. What is the singular form of Smarties? Smarty or Smartie? You've upset my balance. While I go off to have a think about this, here's Gregg to talk about Banjo. (Oh no! – Microsoft PR)
     "Some new plush Banjos would be nice, as the old ones are starting to look a bit dusty after a decade. The original plush Banjos were pretty good (and free), but more entertaining were the 'slightly inaccurate' mutant prototypes we rejected (but kept anyway).
     "Bosses: the boss has told us that if we don't hurry up and get Banjo finished soon it's going to be 'Chinese Burns' for all of us. Not sure what power-up we're going to have to collect to defend against that.
     "Mario Galaxy: of course you can! We have also included Mario's backpack from Sunshine, cut-scenes from Ratchet & Clank and an MMO mini-game like World of Warcraft. That's why it's taking us forever to finish the game, so stop asking!
     "Customisable elements: yes we maybe don't. Please customise this answer as you see fit.
     "Barns: no, we've just got development barns where mutant, monster farm animals masquerade as employees.
     "Pet cat: no, but the Banjo team did have a pet mouse. Sadly it had to go when it started getting a bit greedy and climbed into people's cupboards to eat their stash of compulsory unhealthy snacks that all developers must have as part of their contract. We also have plenty of 'pet' rabbits and squirrels that roam the grounds until they get run over on the drive." And Raredog! Don't forget Raredog. Mind, I haven't seen him for a while, maybe he got flattened too.
Dear Rarebear,
     See I already made a funny. I am pretty much continuing the trend and shouting out my love to you and every series of games you have ever made. Banjo is my soul mate and I hope to one day have little cubs with him. Anyway, like everyone else in the world, I am insanely siked for the new BK game. My question to the legendary Rare gods is if there is any remote chance that Banjo-Kazooie or Banjo-Tooie will appear playable on the Xbox 360 anytime ever? The greatest thing in the world would be to have a bonus disc or something with the first two games playable. I of course have them both on cartridge but if for some reason I have one too many drinks and accidentally snack on my N64 collection, then what?
     Thank you and stay sober.
     Mike Taibleson
That would be the greatest thing in the world? Really? Maybe we should look into it, I don't think any of us fully appreciated the significance. And how am I supposed to make it through our Steven Seagal marathons if I stay sober?
     The team would like to know: "How much are you willing to pay for this? If a sufficient amount arrives at the Rare stronghold in an envelope marked 'Banjo Team Fan Mail', then we'll consider it. Once we have sobered up, of course."
     PS I think the word is 'psyched'. My thanks to Ant and Dec for that. Watch us wreck the mic – PSYCHE.
Dear Extreme Scribes-o-Matic Typing Machine Deluxe (Patent Pending),
     Hey all you nice people at Rare slaving away on a hot keyboard to crunch a whole bunch of codes, numbers, and polygons into a disc just to make a few people with nothing to do and a desperate need to make a bear with a bird in his backpack do somersaults happy... you're so nice! I know you're probably sick of the Banjo info questions, so I'll only ask a couple.
     1. I'd REALLY like some kind of screen shot... I know that after a year or more of working on the game you can at least make an estimate of what the game will look like and have one of your more underpaid employees scratch it on to a napkin with a colored pencil.
     2. Is Mumbo going to be a playable character again? I guess I don't really care that much, Mumbo's 15 minutes in Banjo-Tooie weren't as fun as playing as the bear and bird, but I guess it added a little... hmmm... "something something" to the game that would make the average American soil their pants. I know I did, because Mumbo is my favorite character.
     Thanks for reading and if you put this on the next Scribes I swear I'll do everything in my power to make sure you get 100 billion dollars!
1) I've seen a demo. I can help. I think you knew this was coming and you've only got yourself to blame.
     2) If the part that made people soil their pants was the least fun part, what happened when they played the rest of it? You're right, I'm just stalling to avoid giving Gregg questions that can only end in a spanking from the PR and Marketing people. You'll have to play it for yourself to find it out if you get to control Mumbo, Humba Wumba, Blackeye, Captain Blubber or even Helpo in an exciting crossover from It's Mr. Pants. It's genuinely being considered! No, I'm lying. I'll still take the 100 billion though.
Don't dizzle the Fizzle, you jizzle shizzle
Hey, Fantastico-Scribers...
     I was sternly against the Xbox when it first arrived, but changed my view once I heard you guys were going to be making some games on it. It's almost like having Nintendo's little (yet partly superior in my opinion) brother.
     Viva Piñata... does everybody hate it because it's not 'realistic'? I thought that was the point of games? VP is possibly the best Sim City-esque game out there for the 360. The one thing that did disappoint me was not being able to see any of the island! I bought the game expecting to see the rest of the island and being able to build some houses on the beach for my Fizzlybear (aptly named Banjo). So, now that the cat's out of the bag for your next VP, more island space please? Don't get me started on Pester's revenge... PIÑATA BASHING!!!!!
     Fairly short letter. Thanks for listening!
The cat's out of the bag? They only said they were working on a new game, man. If there is a cat, it's still largely contained within the bag. Maybe one of its back legs just dangled out for a couple of seconds. Let's see what Justin has to say as a follow-up.
     "Everyone hates Viva Piñata? I'm so depressed I don't think I can answer any more questions...
     "Oh go on then. If we ever make another Viva Piñata game I think we'd definitely want to see a bit more of the island too. I wonder if Ryan has drawn it?"
     Turns out he has, kind of: there's a big aerial view of the island that was part of the in-game storybook sequence. I've been hassling him to turn it into a nice bit of wallpaper. Until this week he only sat a couple of desks away from me, so I thought it'd be pretty easy to whittle him down – then he disappeared to join another team overnight. We miss you, Ryan. You were like family, man.
G'day to whoever answers these email submissions to Scribes,
     I've always been a big Banjo fan, and have considered the 2nd to be my favorite game EVER. I just love all the hidden humour, and great gameplay. Now that that's out of the way, on to business. I'm recently having an interest in the 3D modeling type of job, and out of pure curiosity, what kind of program are you guys using for your newer games like Kameo (that game was awesome by the way, sequel please?), Viva Piñata, and of course Teh New Banjo Game. Oh and one other question, what's your guys' explanation of Grunty living after A) getting all of her skin/vital organs/muscles/etc. removed, and B) having nothing but a head?
     Here's Gregg to address your compliments and concerns:
     "Why, thank you. At least one person appreciated the long nights I spent on the unnecessarily complex worlds and tacked-on FPS sections!
     "A) We blew all our Grunty polygon budget on her 'realistic' skeleton so we couldn't afford to give her a body.
     "B) We had to reduce her to a head as we had already thought up a cool way of using it in eight years' time once we had finished messing around with haunted houses and paper animals."
     And let's just run that one remaining question about modelling software past our Head of Art: "Autodesk Maya. About £4k." Yes, that's four grand, not four quid. Sorry.
Dear Editor,
     I have been a Rare fan for a good chunk of my life and DKC2 remains close to my heart but when the Banjo-Kazooie 3 trailer came out my heart sank due to not having a 360. As of last week I now have one along with Kameo and Viva Piñata, two games which I have been interested in for quite a while!
     Rare is one of the companies that has inspired me to become involved in video game development and I believe that they are proof that games do not necessarily lose their enjoyability as they age. I've seen that Battletoads seems to be a running joke on the Scribes page yet I only got to play it recently for the first time not long ago and was surprised by the fluency and diversity of gameplay that it offered, even back on the NES.
     Anyway, since questions seem to be the convention for these messages:
     1) What is the main motivation behind the Banjo style change? It seems to be more stylised yet somewhat more mature. The N64 but more-so the Gamecube got a reputation for "kiddy" games and this is an image only now that the Wii is seeming to shake off. I hope that the change in design is not to cast off this prejudice but instead just due to the increased graphical abilities of the 360 that enable this style. I am probably somewhat nostalgic about the original design but I still feel that it was impressive for its day and that it is still very enjoyable visually.
     2) Does the Pretztail's victory laugh have some connection with Grunty or Kazooie? I have heard that Viva Piñata has some references to Banjo-Kazooie (among other Rare games) but I was reminded quite a lot of the speech sounds from it once my Pretztail decided that my Sparrowmint looked tasty.
     I can understand if this e-mail is too long to respond to but I've had a large affection for Rare for a long time (from the SNES days) and so an e-mail like this is long overdue. With my first two Xbox games both being from Rare and BK3 easily being my most highly anticipated game for the 360, I think it's quite clear that this affection has not diminished!
"Wow, compliment overdose. He must want something," observes Gregg. I'll just let him finish reading...
     "Ah yes, the usual plethora of questions.
     "1) 'Stylised yet more mature'? I like that. Maybe we'll include that as a marketing line on the box and then you can sue us for stealing your line. We felt that 'old' Banjo belonged in his era, and there was less of a place for him in today's generally more mature market. So we gave the moth-eaten Jiggy chaser a bit of a makeover, but one that fits in with what his new game is all about.
     "2) Sadly our audio budget is stretched somewhat thin these days, due to Mr. Kirkhope's repeated 'business' trips over to Prague to record the Viva Piñata music with their swanky orchestra. Funny how he always returns smelling of beer and the music sounding exactly the same... Due to this, it means that Grant spends hours in the recording studio with a microphone rather than buying some sound effects CDs, hence the stuff in Banjo and Piñata sounding all the same."
Dear Scribes,
     Well, first of all I would like to thank you for using up some of your time to answer our questions, even though I know that it is probably not just one person answering all these questions. Am I right? Eh? Well hopefully you have time to answer my questions... Thanks... Oh wait I forgot about my questions. Here they are.
     1) I wanted to know who came up with the whole idea of the WildCards for Viva Piñata? I have to say that that is one of the best ideas I have seen for any game, this made me keep playing the game longer than I would usually play any other game. This made the game have a true challenge to try to "catch 'em all". I just hope next time, if there is one, and hopefully there is one [VP2], that you guys will add more Piñatas with more unique traits.
     NOTE: I love the WC Quackberry, I hatched one myself... after like a million tries.
     2) I wanted to know if there was going to be a VP2 or maybe you can just give us a clue. :D
It's just me answering the questions. Well, if you want to get technical, it's often me harassing people on the game teams to answer quite a lot of the questions while I scrawl some random introductory rubbish. Is it that obvious? Tell you what, let's not get technical next time, it's depressing.
     Justin from the team (there you go) says: "1. Game design guru Gregg Mayles was the brains behind that little gem. Why doesn't anyone like the things I was responsible for?
     "2. I can honestly say that there is not a game called Viva Piñata 2 in production. Is that a good enough clue?"
     Look at him with his provocation. Always pushing it, Cook. If I get accused of 'leaking' information in Scribes again there's going to be trouble.
Dear O'Scribes,
     Well with Super Smash Bros. Brawl being released, I can now reset my anticipation sensors to focus on Banjo-Newie, as I'm temporarily calling it, for the 360. And I know how much you LOVE those numbered lists too so let's do this:
     1. So, we're to expect references to the previous Banjos, are we? Mind telling me how many of those are Stop N Swop jokes?
     2. The fact that you mentioned returning locales as well new ones makes me think this is going to be some Director's Cut version of the very first Banjo-Kazooie. And Grunty having restored green flesh in that portrait hanging on the wall in that wallpaper you released for us around Xmas isn't helping to convince me otherwise. Look, Conker already had a remake on the last Xbox, do you really need to make Banjo go through the same thing on this one? Or is this a ::gasp:: brand new story?
     3. Speaking of the original Banjo, I think we need to address a mystery even more mind-numbing than Stop N Swop: Tooty. You've probably answered this before but I can't remember, whatever happened to Tooty? She just vanished in Tooie.
     4. Lastly, this isn't going to turn out to be as tedious as Tooie was, is it? As much as I liked Tooie, the character swapping and massive levels kinda got a little annoying for me by Terrydactyland, unlike DK64 where I kept my interest until I got to Creepy Castle.
     This is Banjo's first next-gen game, so I have high hopes that'll be awesome. Don't let me down or so help me, I'll... wait... oh schnapps, I forgot what I was going to say. Great, I have no empty threat to end the letter with.
Tedious? Annoying? Stop N Swop? Sarcasm and empty threats? Do you actually want your questions answered, boy? I'll thank you to talk to us with a little more respect. I certainly don't think Mr. Mayles is going to be answering any of – oh, here he is.
     "1) At the last count we had exactly 3,174 Stop n' Swop jokes, but as I type this I'm sure a few more have been added. There will also be packages of 250 Stop n' Swop jokes available each week to download from Xbox Live Marketplace at the astonishingly reasonable cost of 42,103 Microsoft Points each. We like the name Banjo-Newie by the way, it's far better than the one we are using.
     "2) How do you know that we haven't just put Banjo in Conker's remade levels so that we had to do the minimum work possible? Or maybe we have really pushed ourselves to come up with an all-new, unique Banjo adventure that does indeed have a brand new story? Which one do you think it is?
     "3) Tooty vanished because she was taken away by the 'Rubbish Characters in Video Games' Police. Thankfully they also rounded up the pleasant but dull Brentilda and the inexplicably odd Vegetables with Googly Eyes. Although we have heard rumours that one of them has escaped.
     "4) I spent ages making Grunty Industries the absolute pinnacle of massiveness, complexity and tedium for you, and you gave up even before you got there? Pah! I don't know why I bother sometimes."
Dear Mr. Scribesman,
     I've recently been going back through Donkey Kong Country 2 (Player's Choice version on the SNES, if it makes a difference). During my play-through, I noticed something I'd noticed every other time I've played the game: There are clumps of bananas shaped as letters. This was all well and good, until now. I realized that maybe these letters mean something... something far more sinister than ever imagined. SO. My question is, if any Donkey Kong Country 2 team members still exist that would know what the heck's going on, could you kindly ask them what the heck's going on?
     Thanks much,

According to a man in the know, who is of course Gregg but I thought I'd try to introduce him in a new and mysterious way to make it sound less like he's written three-quarters of this edition of Scribes, "the letters usually spell out the button you should be pressing when you see them, as some kind of not-very-secret secret. Unless of course you get to the extra-secret secret area that contains the swear words made up from bananas".
     Not many DKC team members still exist who know what the heck's going on with anything, let alone the meanings behind specific banana formations, so you got lucky there. Haha OMG I said they is all old and mental, did you see teh funny?

Hello there, Scribes,
     In the first (and only, as of this writing, perhaps you guys could do something to rectify this situation in the near future?) Banjo 3 trailer, when Banjo and Kazooie finally get past the door, a pretty rockin' remix of the Banjo-Kazooie theme kicks in. Is there anywhere I could find a full version of that music, or will I have to wait until the game finally makes it out in 2011 to hear the full version?
     Another music-related question, what's Dave Wise working on these days? If Wikipedia's right, it seems he hasn't done a whole lot since his masterpiece, DKC2, which I find unfortunate. He's one of the most talented composers in the industry, so I'd love to hear more from him. Diddy Kong Racing had a nice soundtrack, as did the GBA version of DKC3 (the Dave Wise soundtrack was the main reason I picked it up, actually; to be honest, though, while it was mostly great, there were a few tracks in there that I liked less than the SNES versions), but those are the only ones that really stand out in my mind.
     And one final question: Who would win in a fight between Banjo and Donkey Kong?
The rockin'-ness factor in this first equation leads me to suspect that it's Mr. Kirkhope we need to talk to.
     "Hello Kevin, I have done a 'Rockin' re-mix of the Banjo main theme with my good self playing the guitars etc. You can actually find a version of it hidden in Kameo: Elements of Power, if you search the web I'm sure you'll find it somewhere! (Will you stop encouraging criminal activities? – Ed) I have re-done it since and it may/may not make it into the new game... you'll have to wait and see... hehe!"
     And D. Wise is always busy. Observe: "Thank you for your kind words. I've been working on a few things recently. There are a few up-and-coming titles on the way, but we'll just have to be patient for a little while longer before these are released.
     "As for DKC3: I'm often asked why I re-composed the entire soundtrack for the GBA version. The original DKC soundtracks were written for the SNES, a home entertainment system, where one would expect to hear the audio through television speakers. Eveline had written a very atmospheric soundtrack for the original DKC3 which worked well for the mood of the game. This involved the use of low held notes, which sadly don't translate well to the GBA speakers. As I couldn't do justice to the original soundtrack on the GBA – I wrote a completely new soundtrack to hopefully suit the size of the GBA speakers and portability of the game."
     Banjo vs. Donkey Kong is hard to call. I suspect it'd be an unsatisfying stand-off for political reasons, like the end of Freddy Vs. Jason. The world today, eh? Tsk.
Good evening,
     First of all, a suggestion. You, Mr. Loveday, should do a podcast where you and other Rare employees discuss and dissect Scribes mail. You can give us hope about a new Battletoads or Killer Instinct game, only to crush us like the vermin we are when we find out that you were only joking, but we couldn't tell because of your British accents. I loved the chap who voiced Carrington in Perfect Dark by the way, his Scottish accent made me think you'd hired Sean Connery, very convincing work, give him my best. You could also comment on current events in the gaming world. I can't wait to hear your comments on E3 '08 sometime in April '09. That was a joke by the way. Since you guys are like the tortoise in that race with the hare. Quality over quantity you know, I'm not complaining. But I digress. Towards the end of the podcast you could ridicule people like me in the Snippets section. You should release a book containing all the best Snippets, with Clipper on the cover of course. The ad should say: "Inside we reveal the Perfect Dark push-button codes". Guaranteed million-seller.
     Onto the questions/comments/facts of life:
     1. GoldenEye XBLA. Yeah I know you've probably gotten 500 emails about this, but do any of those emails contain this interpretation of how BK-3 might look like? So please explain in great detail the story behind GoldenEye XBLA. Is Satoru Iwata really Hiroshi Yamauchi reincarnated? (I know he's not dead, but still it sounded great when I acted it out in my mind. You were a lot shorter than I expected and for some reason you looked like Rush Limbaugh. Do you?)
     2. What is Chris Seavor and the Conker guys (and gals) up to? (I added the gals part because you seem like a feminist. Which is weird because it contradicts your Rush Limbaugh appearance.)
     3. Fess up, the only reason that the shurikens were in Jet Force Gemini was to behead those Tribals.
     4. Is Martin Wakeley still at Rare?
     5. (You can answer your own questions here).
     6. (And here).
     Sincerely yours,
     Fernando, owner of a specialist magazine
'Scribes podcast'. Agh. Perhaps the only two words that fill me with a greater sense of dread and foreboding are 'Uwe Boll'. So much could go wrong. Duncan could get upset and starting trashing the furniture. Chris Allcock could break the internet by appearing on both sides of the Rare-public divide. People might make fun of my Welsh accent, or what's left of it, and I'm a delicate flower. Tthe Snippets book idea is sound though. I was going to do a 'Best Of' edition of Scribes for the website's 10th anniversary, but then I thought a) that's a bit weak and b) I've already got enough questions for at least two proper editions of Scribes (or a single hunky chunky one – case in point) without putting the buggers off any longer.
     1) GoldenEye on XBLA? That's a great idea. Why didn't we think of it before? Lads, get to work!
     2) Something that isn't Conker. By the way, nobody over here really knows who Rush Limbaugh is. I imagine he looks like Willie Rushton, but I could be wrong.
     3) Doesn't that go without saying?
     4) Only in spirit (no, he's not dead).
     5) Yes, I thought the original Sontarans were much better. The new ones look like disfigured lollipop ladies.
     6) I can't believe you'd even ask that – what are you, some kind of pervert? The police are on their way.
G'day Mr. Scribes person! Random person from Norway here.
     I would appreciate to be allowed to ask a question or tooie. I may? Thank you :) OK, here goes:
     #1: Banjo-Threeie. Or Banjo-Kazooie 3? Or maybe Banjo-Overninethousandie? Why would you want to call it anything other than Banjo-Threeie? Banjo-Threeie is perfect. Well, maybe not for those poor persons who have never heard of the Banjo-Kazooie series... But what about "Banjo-Threeie: The 1337est platformer game which has ever been released. Ever."?
     #2: Since you are making a new game of a series which some 70-80% of gamers worldwide have never heard of, why not spread some info? Why not make Banjo appear on your website? Why not stop the Viva Piñata hysteria before it's too late? WHY NOT GIVE US A DAMNED SCREENSHOT???!?!?! Please do, or else... (see attachment).
     #3: Will you guys ever reveal what Stop N Swop really was?
     #4: Can't think of any question to put here...
     #5: Will Weldar ever return? His head was never destroyed you remember...
     ...And that was my questions for this time. Remember to give proper answears! :)
Answears? Answers combined with swearing? I like it. Over to the Banjo team to tackle your Scandinavian randomness.
     "1) Banjo-Threeie: The 1337est platformer game which has ever been released. Ever is better than some of the game name suggestions that I have seen floating around recently. Banjo-Kazooie: Dirty Works? Banjo-Kazooie: Gears of Paw? Banjo-Kazooie: Bears just want to have fun? Banjo-Kazooie: Italian Carpenter Universe? OK, I made the last one up.
     "2) You'll get more than a screenshot if you keep up your cheek, sonny. We may even resort to revealing what the game actually is if you're not careful. Then you'll be sorry – along with the other 70-80% of gaming heathens worldwide that have yet to experience the glory of inanimate objects with eyes.
     "3) Not until you stop going on about it.
     "4) Good, because I am running out of meaningless answers that keep the Microsoft PR department happy by not revealing big secrets.
     "5) Yes he will! Oh dear, I wasn't supposed to reveal any more new information. Maybe if I end this answer now the Microsoft PR department won't see this."
     Not nearly enough swearing in those answears if you ask me. Buggery bumface, cack badgers and arse mackerel.
Hello Scribing people with no name,
      Firstly I want to say that Rare is the awesomest most fantabulostirific company ever.
     Anyway, I am a 17 year old from Australia and the first Rare game I played was Banjo-Kazooie on the N64. It (in my opinion) was a great game, Banjo-Tooie was even better and I am really looking forward to the third BK. I still play Banjo-Tooie on my N64 once a week. I have played PD Zero and Kameo plus I just started on Viva Piñata. Every one of these games was perfectly executed and I loved them all. Just one thing to point out. Perfect Dark Zero was a prequel to Perfect Dark on the N64 so why was the prototype weapon in Perfect Dark (N64) an available weapon in Perfect Dark Zero? Other than that can't wait for the release of BK3.
     Your Friend in the Fridge,
You can only stay in the fridge if you promise not to touch the pork pies or the streaky bacon. There's plenty of room in the salad drawer.
     Duncan from PDZ clears up all your futuristic weapon woes: "Clearly it was an earlier version of the later weapon... just look at the variants of the M16 assault rifle through the years. Or rather don't, because that's a little disturbing."
     Norwegians! Australians! Who's next?
"Killian! I'll be back!" "Only in a re-run."
     I'm Gino, I'm from Holland so my Englisch is not so good (sorry, I hope that you can understand it a little bit), I playing PDZ now from almost the beginning, and it's one of my favourite game, but it's really pity that there aren't so many people online the last time :'(
     But I got some questions, and I hope that you can answer them (I really approach it if I get an reaction back):
     1) Infection is one of my favourite modes, but why is there not a friendly fire option in it? (it's much better if you can put the friendly fire off, because bots shoot some times accidentally on me, and that's annoying).
     2) Why is there no bot option in the Sabotage game type?
     3) Are there coming new PDZ maps?
     4) Are there coming some new PDZ weapons?
     I'll hope that I get an answer back soonly,
Ooo, a Dutchman. With more PDZ questions. But if we answer these now, we might not be left with anything to break up huge blocks of Banjo questions further down the page. Ah, what the hell. Botwood! You still there?
     "1) Friendly fire would completely remove the most important part of Infection mode, the Last Minute Betrayal.
     "2) Because we didn't get around to having the bots recognise Sabotage props, so it would have been a bit one-sided.
     "3) and 4) No, we finished work on PDZ a long time ago, and we have no plans for any further updates."
     I hope you approach those soonly answers, Gino. Oh come on, nobody complained when I made fun of "please contest me fast".
Dear Scribes,
     Perhaps the most satisfying feeling I ever got in playing video games was in B-K, when Banjo and Kazooie would do a short jiggy dance after obtaining each jiggy. At six years old, seeing this dance brought joy to me in a way that nothing else could, as it still does every time I replay B-K. To my dismay, such a rewarding jig was absent from the brilliant (yet jiggy-danceless) B-T. However, I soon realized that the reason for its exclusion was due to the ability of Banjo and Kazooie to split up and get jiggies separately. Obviously, it would have been impossible for Kazooie to be part of the dance when only Banjo had the jiggy, and a bear dancing without his bird is reprehensible. This dilemma raises two questions:
     1) Will the jiggy dance return in the new Banjo game?
     2) Will Banjo and Kazooie have the ability to split up again?
     Most humble regards,
You're absolutely right about the taboo nature of birdless bear dancing. That'd be as bad as, say, a badger gyrating suggestively in the middle of an otherwise innocent title screen, and we could never condone such a thing.
     Banjo designer on Q1: "No. Current gaming fashions will simply not accept dancing bears clutching shiny puzzle pieces. Now, if he was to wave a gun instead..."
     And on Q2: "No. I can still hear all the nasty sweary names that Banjo-Tooie's lead programmer called me for deciding that splitting up the characters was a cool idea."
To teh Scribz masta at RARE,
     I have two ggggreat questions:
     1. Can you give a little more info on any upcoming DS games? For instance, are there any besides Viva Piñata? And a question I have been waiting for a few years: Is there any chance of Banjo & Kazooie coming to the DS?
     2. – OK, technically 3. – Is there any chance of a Banjo-Kazooie TV show? We know Viva Piñata came to 4Kids and I think 4Kids', huh, "interesting" voice acting would be perfect for the Banjo universe, plus the overall story would be better than the random Viva Piñata "cartoon styled" storylines, not that I'm knocking it... One more thing, if your intense sarcasm and rudeness makes me cry, can I sue you? Eheh, never mind...
Those questions weren't as ggggreat as Frosties. Probably just as well, Kelloggs would have had to take legal action.
     Banjo team: "1) Whoa! Banjo hasn't even made his debut on the Xbox 360 and you want a DS game? Mmm... is it acceptable for us to repackage Grunty's Revenge and just add on some poorly implemented stylus mini-games?
     "2) If we did a Banjo TV show it would mean we have to come up with some decent storylines, and everyone knows the storylines in Banjo games are a trifle 'basic'. 'Witch kidnaps sister' (B-K) and 'Witch tries to suck life out of everything' (B-T) are hardly worthy of Oscar nominations, are they?"
     Whereas Viva Piñata was actually entered into the Best Storyline category of one of the big awards ceremonies last year... true, that was down to an administrative error, but the fact remains that it was CONSIDERED FOR A MAJOR AWARD.
A Letter to Scribes...
     (To be performed by your nearest, readily available snowman and large crowd. Starring yourself.)
     (Enter Snowman with a large top hat and no arms. Enter Scribes Reader and Audience. Snowman begins to read a letter in a moderately feminine and distinctly Chinese accent.)
     "Read: Salutations, Sir Scribo -STOP!-
     "Having been thoroughly enchanted with the music for Kameo, eventually to the point of purchasing a 360 and game, I felt the pressing need to write to force my faithful snowman sidekick to respectfully request more sound files from said fantasy action adventure -STOP!-
     "In addition, I have recently remembered a certain Easter Egg in Kameo wherein a mysterious radio played a remixed version of a Banjo tune -STOP!-
     "This certainly seems like a hidden indication of what was to come, and I was hoping you could post the track so your humored readers could write what they enjoyed and disliked about the particular direction of the soundtrack -STOP!-
     "While it may be too late for said audience to impact the direction of the music score, I believe the studio would benefit from the readers' misguided belief that they were impacting the future videogame would more than warrant such an upload should any changes be implausible -STOP!-
     "Much obliged –"
     (Snowman's facial expression turns as blank as the signature line.)
     (Exit snowman. Exit Scribes Reader, with a curious aura that suggests the certainty of a future upload.)
     (Audience stares helplessly, listens to uploaded music and writes back to Sir Scribo.)
Trying to process that hurt my brain, but your letter made it in regardless because our mutual friend Mr. Burke has recently supplied us with some more Kameo MP3s. Including variations on in-game tunes and some previously unheard stuff. Investigate here if you haven't done so already. Steve clarifies further: "Three medleys with some of the remaining Kameo music that isn't on the soundtrack – quite a few of the tracks in these medleys didn't make it into the final game, so it's the first time they've been heard outside the Kameo team."
     Free stuff! Free stuff for nothing, with a considerable amount of effort put into it! He's a crazy man with crazy ideas.
Dear Scribes,
     In a recent edition of Scribes, you said that Banjo-Kazooie 3 will not feature traditional gameplay, and multiplayer. I sincerely hope that this does not interfere with the nostalgic gameplay I'm hoping to experience: collecting jiggies, finding all 100 notes, and so on. My opinion is that if you're going to change the way that the game plays, you may as well just give it a different name, different characters, stories, and anything else that requires changing.
     If people are going to go to buy Banjo-Kazooie 3, then they'll probably have played the first and second, and will be expecting something that lives up to its expectations, am I right? I don't have an Xbox 360 as of now, and hearing about this game made me want to get one (for a few other games too, as well, but this one is the main reason). I've been a bit sceptical about this game, because of the two co-founders of Rare leaving the company (or something like that; it was in an interview several months ago).
     I'm not going to make a final judgement until I see some gameplay videos, but I sincerely hope, with my knees on the ground, my hands clutched together, my breath held, my waste-disposal passages blocked, that you will [...interrupt this lengthy spiel with a hidden competition. Remember the five possible game storylines we released on April 1st? Tell us which one you think is correct. Just send an email with a single number on it (1, 2, 3, 4 or 5). Everyone that gets it right will win a prize. No idea what, but we'll come up with something. Closing date May 12th, no members of the development team can play and our decisions are final, etc. Meanwhile, we will consider if we should...] retain most of the game's main features and gameplay styles, or to make a sixteen-year-old fan of your work's dream come true, perhaps change your mind, and do keep the platformer style the same, perhaps? And if that is not possible, at least tell me this: will the game feature the same musical style as the previous game (instruments, the horns blowing in musical tone, and so on), and will the same team be working on the soundtrack? It was one of my favourite parts of the game, for I've been bugging everyone around me as I hum those extremely catchy songs over and over again.
     Thank you, and feel free to answer just one or two of those questions, if others cannot be answered, or put them in short form, if you plan on posting them in the Scribes,
The Jengerer Bus is coming, and everybody's jumping. Take a breath sonny, calm down! You'll strain something.
     "We do have Jiggies and Notes to collect," the team stresses from a secure distance. "We're aiming to mix nostalgia with sparkly new ideas and technology, so that there will be 'something for everyone'. Or perhaps there is at least 'something for everyone' to complain about.
     "Tim and Chris Stamper did leave Rare at the start of 2007, but as neither of them was part of the Banjo team you have nothing to worry about. The lead designer, character artist, background artist and musician of the two N64 games are all still toiling away on Banjo, so rest assured it is in good hands (unless we've decide to see how bad we can make the game). Just to be on the safe side, this morning we arranged for seven more pointless types of collectables to be included – happy?"
     And to expand on what's already been said, Rare's co-founders hadn't been directly involved in development for some time before they left, so that certainly shouldn't be one of the factors influencing your opinion of this or any other forthcoming Rare title. Whatever you think of the brand new Banjo when it's unveiled, you can't claim that the team behind it is inexperienced in the ancient ways of bear and bird.
To Scribes,
     Every time I check the new Scribes update I am always on the lookout to see if you have answered my very simple and easy question. Each time I am disappointed, all I see is the same question over and over about Banjo Threeie, written differently by another illiterate fan. What I want to know is IF a sequel to Perfect Dark/another Perfect Dark series is made, can you please consider bringing my favourite character, Velvet Dark, back from her 64 bit prison? I don't want any confirmation of a new Perfect Dark game, all I want is for you to say you will or you won't put Velvet in one, if you ever do make a sequel to my favourite game of all time.
I'm sure Mr. Botwood is up to the challenge.
     "No easier said than done: 'We will or we won't have a character called Velvet if we ever do get around to making another PD game.'"
     Yep, thought so. There, we've answered it, you're not allowed to be disappointed any more.
Hi Rareware!
     I really liked some of your old games like B-K, B-T, DKR and DK64. As I'm sure you know Nintendo has the Virtual Console for the Wii. Now they have already released all of the DKCs, but what if they wanted to release Diddy Kong Racing. Diddy Kong Racing was just released on the DS as a remake, but would the original ever appear on the VC even though Banjo and Conker are in it? Banjo and Conker were replaced with Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong in the DS version because they have their own series so now I'm wondering if they would want to put the original. Can you guys help me out here?
     Duncan Lockhart
To be honest... dunno. There's nothing to suggest that Nintendo are in the habit of changing games for their VC appearances, and DKR DS was a cheeky remake rather than a straight port so there was always some leeway to tinker with the more troublesome elements. So I'd be tempted to say it'd probably stay intact on VC. But don't quote me on that.
     I've heard no talk of it happening anyway, so chances are this is all academic. Nintendo's back catalogue isn't exactly flimsy, and "highly unlikely" is the best VC prediction I can get from someone who worked on DKR DS.
Dear Scribes,
     I am really a big fan of your games, especially Banjo and Conker games.
     I am completely aware that you are nearly drowning in questions about Banjo-Needsanamie, and the only thing I want to know is about the teaser website. It appeared from nowhere and I would like to know how it's gonna work, is it gonna be a blog or something like that? If you can't answer that I will understand, but at least could you tell us your definition of "Coming Soon". How soon?
     Also this is about Scribes itself, how often do you update the Scribes section in the Rare website, is it each time you receive enough worthy mail, or in a predefined time? Or just each time you like?
     I hope you answer this and I hope to see more news on Banjo or even a new Conker game.
Gregg on the teaser site's abrupt appearance: "It was just like the 'good old days' wasn't it? Rather then endless previews and announcements over a period of months, something just appears out of the blue. I'm not sure what the plans are for the teaser website as it is mostly in Microsoft's hands, but I'm sure they've got some great plans for it. If they haven't, and the site remains stuck with the same image for the next year, then you'll just have to write to Scribes again to complain. Leigh loves complaints."
     Oh, I see he's directing his mischief at me now. How often is Scribes updated, you ask? It's basically a combination of options one and three, but I'll delay it for another week every time we receive a complaint about the Banjo teaser site. In your face!
A 'note' to Scribes... well technically,
     Grant, as your contributions to BK's atmosphere resonates in my eardrums I think... am I ever going to hear all of it? I've been doing a bit of looking at beta videos and have noticed that the final version of the Treasure Trove Cove music is quite drastically different from the music playing in one of the beta videos (the video in question covering footage of the cove, Mumbo's Hut with an early transformation routine comprising no pad and green smoke and what I assume is the model that eventually became Clanker in what I also assume is a cavern of water in Fungi Forest). There also seems to be a snippet of some other music just before the player finishes his entrance into Mumbo's Hut. We know there are two beta tracks of Click Clock Wood in the memory still (I loved your work on that level, Autumn was gorgeous with the frogs and cello) and I was wondering... any chance of releasing all the music we never heard from the development stages? I'm certainly one man who would love to hear them all in full. Keep up the awesome sound.
Here's Grant to respond to your email personally, while ignoring Gregg's impertinent comments about him throughout this edition of Scribes. Well, I say 'ignoring', strictly speaking it's more like 'not knowing about'.
     "Hello Tee-Hee, thank you for your kind words! I actually wrote different pieces for Mumbo's Mountain and Treasure Trove Cove, I changed them near the end of the game to the tunes that you can hear now. If you go into the Ants' nest in Mumbo's Mountain you hear a different tune than the rest of the level, this tune is a version of the original tune I had written. The original tune for Treasure Trove Cove doesn't exist anywhere else as far as I know, it had a section in the middle that broke into a kind of Beach Boys Wipeout type thing, it was quite funny as I recall!
     "I don't know about the extra tracks being in memory... hmmmm... I guess it's possible. The problem is that all the sounds I used for the tunes in the game are on the cartridge and don't exist anywhere else, so in order to recreate any of the music from the game I'd need an N64 dev kit which we don't have any more. I could redo the music as I still have all the MIDI files etc. but it wouldn't sound the same. There are quite a lot of websites out there that have all the channel fades from the game as MP3 files for you to download, you'll just have to do a bit of searching."
     You too? I'm not sure we should be encouraging that kind of thing, you know. Stay on this website instead! It's brilliant!
Dear Scribes,
     I'm here for one reason, and one reason only; and that's to unveil the mystery of whether or not a certain croc will be making his triumphant comeback in Banjo-Needsanamie. Yes, I'm speaking of Mr. Vile. It took me eight years before I finally obtained his jiggy, and regardless of how many times I got my "shorts chomped", it was fun each and every time.
     ...and speaking of menacing crocodiles, what's the DKC designer's stance on Kaptain K. Rool's relation to King K. Rool? Up until now, it was pretty much implied that the King and Kaptain were one and the same, but K. Rool's trophy description in Super Smash Bros. Brawl claims otherwise, referring to the Kaptain as King K. Rool's "brother". It's more than likely just faulty information on Nintendo's end, but who knows.
     With that said, I think I just nullified the first sentence of this e-mail. Whoops. But while I'm on a roll, does Mr. Vile have connections to the Kremling Krew? Besides, y'know, being a crocodile? Maybe he's a Klaptrap who was banished to the giant crocodile head of Bubblegloop Swamp for embezzling Kremkoins. Or not. Ahem.
Joy, more questions about DKC interpersonal relationships. It's a fine line between this and the 'cacky backpack' approach (see later) but I fear you may have overstepped it. Let's turn it over to DKC/Banjo vet Mr. Mayles for confirmation.
     "We flushed Mr. Vile down Loggo. He must be massive by now.
     "When you are an evil megalomaniac reptile/pirate/military hybrid you can call yourself what you like. He might be Karavan K. Rool next time, Kauliflower K. Rool or even Kipper K. Rool. Why don't you write us a 5000-word theory about how he and all of the Kremlings are related? But write it on something soft will you, as they took our decent toilet roll a while ago."
     Now the Mr. Vile/Kremling question. Go on, answer that one. You can't avoid it. It's just sitting there like a wretched, diseased old dog, pleading for an answer with its big rheumy eyes.
     "Please, no more. It is 9:27pm, I'm trying to work on Banjo and you keep asking me questions about supporting characters in games I designed nearly 15 years ago. Why not badger Grant about the DK Rap instead? He likes being made to repeatedly explain it was supposed to be a deliberate bad parody rather than a lack of ability on his part. He hasn't been asked about it for ages, whereas I seem to get questions about the bloody Kremling family tree on a weekly basis."
Kameo fact #373: Major Ruin used to be called HARMAKILLO... no, not really
Dear Scribes,
     I know Rare has directed focus from Kameo to other projects, but I have one request:
     Please use the updated maximum achievement point cap of 1250 to update the added zero point achievements?
     Roger Davis
This not even remotely Banjo-related letter demands an accompanying picture to celebrate. Then I'll send it along to a designer on the comparatively attention-starved Kameo team.
     "Sadly I'm afraid this isn't possible for all sorts of technical reasons – I don't understand them, but the programmers tend to start frothing at the mouth when I even mention the idea. It's probably got something to do with maths.
     "Anyway, I have a horrible feeling that anyone who's already snared the DLC-related achievements wouldn't find their score backdated with the extra Gamerpoints, meaning that Kameo newcomers would be at a distinct, not to mention unfair, advantage over t3h 0ld-sk00l crowd. The resulting fury from the achievement-hoarders would probably shatter the internet into a million tiny pieces. Do you want us to break the internet? DO YOU?!"
Dear Scribes,
     First off, I wanted to give a big "thank you!" to the Banjo team. Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie are among my favorite games of all time, and the fact that they're hard at work on Banjo-Kazooie 3 (and trying to get it out this year! Bless them) makes me a very happy camper. Secondly... I have some BK3-related queries (saw that coming, didn't cha?). Really, they're just minor questions, but I'd really like to know for sure. For one, will Bottles' wife and kids be returning in this installment? I thought they were kind of cool. For two, will we be seeing everyone's favorite talentless turtle Tiptup again?
     Like I said, very, very minor queries, but still things I'd love to know. I can't wait to see what the team is cooking up (especially can't wait to see Bottles and Mumbo in the new style) and BK3 is one of the main reasons I'm buying a 360. :) Definitely buying it day one.
     Larry (Bottles98)
"Your thanks are gratefully received," says both games' lead designer with a magnanimous bow. "I'll accept all the credit, apart from the bits you didn't like, as they were obviously someone else's fault.
     "Bottles' family have left him, as the trauma of seeing him killed and then resurrected was too much for them to take. The mole has been a regular sorry sight at Jolly Roger's Inn, attempting to drown his sorrows with Blackeye's 'sea sickness' drink." However... "Tiptup will indeed make an appearance, complete with wooden acting skills." Did he just give away the secret Sunset Beach level? ZOMG PR CATASTROPHE.
Hello once again, admirably persistent website editor,
     For some reason or another during a wonderful evening of procrastination, Banjo Pilot managed to squirm itself into my train (or plane) of thought. Specifically, the dragon that appears on certain levels that appears to be the heterosexual love-child of Kerozene, Krunch, and the female dragon from Shrek who I don't care to know the name of. It has occurred to me that it never was blessed with the birthright of an actual name. That is my question in disguise for you. Furthermore, would you happen to have a render of the three-way love-child/dragon hidden away somewhere in your headquarters? It was a nice treat finally getting a render of the Banjo-Tank on the day before Valentine's, and it'd be nice to see a detailed version of the dragon if a render was made.
     May the gods bless Rareware,
     Mark "darkmark8" Mazzei
It gets a bit scary when people are referencing Rare characters that nobody at Rare even remembers. Observe the response of the game's designer:
     "I have no idea what he's on about, I can't even remember a dragon in Banjo Pilot. I don't really remember anything in Banjo Pilot at all, must be getting old."
     That's not much good, is it? But because I care, here's a link to an equally brilliant dragon I found on teh intarnets instead. Get a load of that.
Dear Scribes,
     I am among the millions of fans out there awaiting for the release of Banjo-Kazooie 3, which is THE reason that I bought a Xbox 360. Anyway, since you guys have answered some of the fans' questions about certain levels, features, characters in B-K 3, I feel that it's only fair that you answer two of my questions and I only need a yes or no.
     1) Will the Minjos return in Banjo-Kazooie 3?
     2) Will at least one Banjo-Tooie world be featured in Banjo-Kazooie 3?
     Don Liu
'Awaiting' or 'waiting for', not 'awaiting for'. What do they teach you kids in school these days, texting and CD ripping?
     Over to our Banjo rep for today: "1) (Checks with PR) I'm afraid that I can't confirm that the Minjos will certainly be back in the new Banjo game, and you'll also have to wait and see whether they have an all-new role, if indeed they are in the game at all. Sorry, Don – but these PR guys are pretty strict with us these days...
     "2) (Checks with PR again) Sorry, embargo time now. Can I tell you about how Word 2007 is different to Word 2003 instead?"
Dear Scribes,
     Ever get tired of those stinking Killer Instinct questions? Does it give you writer's cramp responding to those darn questions? Does it make your head hurt trying to figure out how you can respond in a sarcastic way to such questions? Well here is the answer, just give the license to someone else! Remove the words Rare and Killer Instinct altogether! Then everyone will be happy! Why? Well Rare will no longer have to answer such questions and the fans can at least get some game from some developer! Hell, sell it to EA, it looks like they'll buy anything these days.
     John Meyer
Killer Instinct questions? We don't get any Killer Instinct questions. Anyway, I'm not sure "remove the words Rare and Killer Instinct altogether" is strictly speaking the best way to make a new Killer Instinct game. And in spite of all our teasing, we wouldn't be too happy with the series degenerating into "some game from some developer". If we brought it back, we'd want to do it right. Until we have the manpower, incentive and backing to do that, or an extremely persuasive argument for outsourcing it, this one's on the back burner (along with a lot of other Rare franchises, so there's no sense in taking it personally).
Well then, Hello,
     Daniel the name, asking about Killer Instinct is my game. No but seriously, I'm just a Swedish asking a question about KI3.
     My friend always bugged me about how wonderful Killer Instinct was on the SNES. I never believed him. Until... that day...
     There I was at the local flea market, when I pick up KI Gold for N64. "OK sure why not..." RAREly have I ever, EVER been blown away from a game. The speed, the announcer, the graphics, the awesome music, the characters... Pure PERFECTION!!!!
     And then, heh, I buy the original Killer Instinct for the SNES. Killer Instinct + SNES = Drooling on floor for 20 min.
     Now finally to my question: If you decide to ever release Killer Instinct 3, can I assume Cinder and Fulgore will be in there? I know that's an impossible question to answer, but hell you want stimulation right? Now you got a toughy to take care of.
     Last note: For the love of god, make Killer Instinct 3 already!!!!
     Raquel Lizama
I said we don't get any Killer Instinct questions! Now you've shown me up for a shyster and a fraud.
     However, as impossible questions go, this one's not so bad. The official KI storyline dictates that Cinder's dead and Fulgore's out of action. There's always an opening for a new Fulgore model (we've been there once before), but the fact that Cinder didn't even graduate from KI to KI2 suggests that he's not on the 'essential KI characters' list. I could, of course, be massively wrong: we may never know. But cheers for the kind words and drool anyway.
     By the way, I assume you're not really called Raquel, but that was the only name on your email. People using their partner/mother/neighbour/child's email account, beware!
Dear Rare,
     While on one of the Internet's many fine message boards in recent times, a discussion arose over whether or not Kazooie defecates in Banjo's backpack. She seems to be cooped up in it for most of the time, at any rate.
     One can imagine the bottom of Banjo's backpack being a mess of soiled feathers and droppings. However, the point was made that Kazooie may defecate in the form of eggs.
     The eggs could certainly be feces – it would be extremely odd for an animal to fire her unborn offspring as sacrificial projectiles towards foes.
     Of course, that also means that the eggs Banjo picks up off the ground are turds from other Breegulls that Kazooie eats. She's eating the feces of other members of her species.
     It's one thing to cough up one's own feces as a weapon, but to eat the feces of another organism and to store the feces inside oneself until the point where one will vomit it back up as a defense mechanism – truly bizarre.
     Thank you for your time.
See, this is the kind of question we appreciate receiving and spending our valuable time mulling over. You can keep your superficial demands for release dates and screenshots and button codes. Give us serious questions about the logistics (and basic health and safety concerns) of long-term backpack residence and egg/poo discrepancies any day.
     I put this issue directly to the team, who responded: "Aren't video games great for stuff like this? Why can you repair damage caused by a bullet wound by eating junk food? Why does resurrection from the dead work just because you managed to collect 100 shiny objects? How about breaking and entering people's houses, smashing up their furniture with a sword and stealing their cash, all under the flimsy pretence of saving the world? Let's not even go into encouraging members of the same family to dance and then eat each other. So for a bird to eat other birds' number twos and then spew them up is quite normal, I think you'll have to agree."
Hello Scribes people/person/creature!
     A few quick questions.
     1) How do the various people involved in the Donkey Kong Country series feel about bits of their work and design appearing in Super Smash Bros Brawl, and how it's been represented? Obviously there's Diddy this time around and lots of music and stages either inspired by or ripped straight from the DKC series. Definitely worth checking out the soundtrack and such – the theme from K. Rool's ship in DKC remixed is actually god-like. But yes, how do the music, graphics, design people that are left from those days feel about their work making Nintendo History? Also, do you guys know that data referring to Dixie was found when hackers started looking into the disc? She was in a directory along with a load of other ditched characters like Dr Mario, Mewtwo and such. Shame she didn't make it in.
     2) Okay, I'm not going to ask one of those questions you can't answer because it'll give away a big announcement, so I'll keep it vague. So vague it'll make forums explode and you'll end up on Joystiq and stuff as fans wildly speculate – here goes – are you bringing back any of your old/neglected franchises or heroes (stuff from N64 or earlier) in any way shape or form, sequel, Live Arcade, DS – whatever?
     3) Conker or Ghoulies hitting Xbox Originals any time soon? Never played Ghoulies, and this would be my chance. And I'm perfectly willing to buy Conker for a 3rd time to help to encourage you guys to do a bloody sequel already.
     4) This is a stupid question, but bugger it – I read on some forum somewhere that BK3 would finally solve the mystery of Stop & Swap. This made me chuckle, but is this truth? Obviously it won't use the original carts, but are you going to finally put all those desperate hackers out of their misery?
     5) Not a question, but a demand – Mr Pants on Live Arcade please. I'm only a few miles away; I will come down there and destroy you all if this doesn't happen.
They weren't quick questions. Every time I decide to trust you people, something like this happens.
     1) Old boy Mr. Mayles says: "I think it's great that the old Donkey Kong Country stuff has been dusted off for a new appearance. A bit like a grimy old half-broken toy you find in the attic. Although I have to say they missed a great opportunity by not having Cranky as a fighter. He could have stood in a corner and complained bitterly about how the old game was better, while Mario pummelled his prune-like face with a sock full of gold coins. I just don't understand why Nintendo sold us when we could have been contributing such wonderful ideas as that."
     2) And again: "That's not very vague. What are 'old and neglected' franchises? Do you mean the unsuccessful ones we have tried to sweep under the carpet? Or maybe it's the ones you think we can milk a few more coins from? It could even be the ones we try to do but then fall foul of the end of level legalities boss?"
     3) Good question. I don't see why not, but then again there are a lot of viable Xbox games out there and the Originals selection doesn't seem to be expanding at the same speed as, say, Live Arcade. We'll let you know if and when we find out for sure ourselves. Gregg helpfully adds: "If you want a copy of Ghoulies have a look on eBay. I think they usually go for around three pence."
     4) Official word at last! "It might. Or we may string it out for another decade."
     5) It almost happened at one point, or at least it almost appeared on MSN Zone or whatever MS' online PC casual games area is called. Can't remember why it stalled. Maybe I just imagined the whole thing after nine cans of Strongbow seasoned with delusions of grandeur.
     Gregg (who's still hanging around waiting for questions, he loves questions like I love complaints) has a different recollection of things: "Poor old Mr. Pants, once the mainstay of our website and cameos galore in every game. Got too big for his boots and demanded a game didn't he, but tragically one that sold even less than Ghoulies. We have had to promise Microsoft to never do another Mr. Pants product, as even Bill's pockets are not deep enough to withstand the catastrophic monetary loss this would cause."
Juno finds Iron Man's arc generator, stuffs it down a Tribal's neck, hilarity ensues
Why hello thar Mr. Scribes man. Or potentially Scribes Woman. I is not sure.
     Anywho, long time Rare fan (ever since Snake Rattle 'N Roll on the NES) writing in for the first time. Just felt like saying that Jet Force Gemini features one of my favorite soundtracks ever put in a game. Major probs to Robin Beanland for that one. What's he up to currently?
     Also, every single one of your games should allow you to turn all the enemies into Mr. Pants, while simultaneously allowing you to blow said Mr. Pants into a rainbow of colored blood.
     Keep up the good work, doing whatever it is you people at Rare occasionally do.
Major probs? You mean props? Or do you genuinely have major problems with Robin? That's harsh. But it looks like he's giving you the benefit of the doubt.
     "I am frantically working on Banjo, writing tuneage to record with the orchestra in Prague sometime around the end of June. I'm still very proud of the Jet Force score and would love to hear it performed with a real orchestra one day... I reckon I can whistle for that though :("
     Maybe if we all whistle for it, we could release that on an exclusive acoustic CD. Throw in a couple of tracks performed on the spoons or a row of half-full milk bottles and you're looking at a certifiable blockbuster. Let's do it! Let's stick it to the man!
Well hay thar Scribes, it's been a while.
     As I can only imagine you are frollocking in the green sheep fields of Twycross, throwing flowers behind you from a wicker basket, while Jinjos play a friendly game of kickball and gumdrops rain from the sky. I hope this question isn't answered by the time you reply to it, however, I would like to know if Untitled 2008 Banjo-Kazooie Project is going to have a dark theme, a light theme, or a mixture of the two? Banjo-Kazooie felt upbeat and happy, and Banjo-Tooie felt dark and epic. I enjoyed Tooie more, and a darker theme would lead less people to believe it's a "kiddy game" hmm?
     Affection and Pancakes,
     *~th3 BrEeGu1 oF m1sFoRtUnE~*
'Frollocking'? Sounds like a barely legal combination of 'frolicking' and... never mind.
     "This is going to sound a bit noncommittal, but I think we have pitched the new game somewhere between the two," declaims the team leader. "Banjo-Kazooie was slightly too happy for today's 'rough n' tough' gamers, whereas 'Tooie was sometimes overly depressing. So we have a compromise – inanimate objects with googly eyes that have psychological problems as a result of a troubled childhood, dancing merrily on colourful levels to a gloomy soundtrack."
Dear Scribes,
     As I was inspecting your lovely Xmas card for clues about Banjo 3, I discovered something horrific. Next to the chair, at Banjo's left, is what appears to be a water pump. In your last edition of Scribes, you hinted that Banjo 3 "Won't be a traditional platformer". I died a little bit inside after I heard that. But the reason the water pump scares me so much is I'm fearing you're going the way of Super Mario Sunshine with all the cleaning and non-platforming. So tell us, will Banjo or Kazooie have a squirt gun this time around? Because if they do, I will seek you down.
You crazy kids! You're all convinced Banjo's holding a crown in that picture and brooding like Hamlet while at the same time harbouring secret water pump backpack urges. Let's see if Gregg would like to dampen (ahaha) some of this speculation.
     "Banjo has a squirt gun! You won't find us though, as we'll hide in our secret underground vault where we archive all the scrapped games and assorted electronic detritus that Greeny (our wheeler dealer IT technician) sells on eBay."
     Don't dis the Green, he may have more old Colecovision and Atari 2600 bits and pieces than any sane person would ever need but he also sold me Lego Count Dooku and Bib Fortuna for a couple of quid each.
Dear Scribes,
     While you're busy deleting the billions of begging fan letters for KI3, you could be making billions of bucks by suing the makers of Capcom's Dead Rising for ripping off Grabbed by the Ghoulies. Come on, hapless dude rushes into supernatural Heck-hole and saves strangers by beating the ectoplasmic crap out of Zombies and their krew. All they need is Mr. Ribs, and it's a carbon-copy clone. While you're at it, get on Cartoon Network for ripping off Kameo with that Ben 10 thing and Nintendo for not giving you guys credit for the Motion Sensor Bomb in Brawl.
     D) I've had a discussion with a buddy while co-opping the Ice Temple about those nasty, shield-wielding Ice Trolls, and I think that their roars are based off of a jaguar's growls. I'm just calling this a hunch and I think I know my South American big cats, but just in case... What animal is the Ice Troll's collective voice based on?
     K) I'm one of the only people who bought an e-Reader, the card-based NES emulator. IF Rare had stayed with Nintendo and since the 40 dollar abomination was introduced to the uncaring masses in 2002, was there any chance Rare might've made an e-Reader game? I can just see the 32 pack of cards needed to play Donkey Kong Cocon- Oh, stop giving me that look. I just can't let some things go, alright?
     C) Rare Roots is the BEST game-specific feature on your site and Scribes the best fan-based, but who's keeping score? I absolutely adored seeing all of the background for Viva Piñata, and it was only too cool to watch the little candy-stuffed freaks mutate into the Cluckles and Mothdrops we all know and smash. If I promise to never-ever bring up your plans for the e-Reader port of KI (208 individual dual-swiped cards. Sorry) can we get a Rare Roots feature for Perfect Dark Zero? It's funny how little the fans have seen from the development side of the million-seller when compared to other recent releases like Kameo and Ghoulies. Jo's prequel was in the works for quite some time, and I know there's plenty of behind-the-scenes goodies to share with us. Please?
     4) How's that Kameo anime movie thing that everyone else forgot about coming along?
     With all of the Ka$h you'll make from the lawsuits, you can fund KI3, JFG2, and buy the Donkey Kong franchise so Lanky Kong can star in his big come-back game. Get on that already, eh?
1) Mr. Burke says: "Hi Zenek! After flicking through my old Kameo sound effects folders, I see that I've got a bunch of puma sounds combined with a few dog snarls to get that nasty, snarly sound for the Ice Trolls. Not sure how a jaguar sounds, but I think it'd be pretty close to that. Good guess!"
     2) My God, that's a whole new level of hypothetical question. I suppose we might have. We did Super Glove Ball, after all.
     3) You know, do you? Is this you admitting to being a prowler? Well, technically a Rare Roots feature is possible for any game. I'd have thought that Kameo might be a more suitable candidate, having a similarly layered history to that of VP. But at the end of the day it all depends on people from any given team finding the time and motivation to work on it. I can prod, drop unsubtle hints and perhaps resort to minor bribery, but no guarantees.
     4) Haven't heard a dicky bird, let's ask the team, shall we? "No news on the progress of the Kameo movie yet, but it's probably worth mentioning that the related Kameo manga (a retelling of the events that brought Kameo to the Enchanted Kingdom) has been released. It's available from all good online retailers, and probably a couple of bad ones too. See that spin? Effortless. Eat your heart out, Apprentice candidates."
Dear Scribes,
     David Wise, I am wondering what your opinion is on the version of "Stickerbrush Symphony" in the new Wii game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
     Many fans seem disappointed with the new remix; I, however, like it for what it is, although I believe the original is much better.
     Your thoughts?
Dave lays the smack down on the new version in a blistering outburst. Not really. Dave actually says: "Very kind of you to say. I'm continually flattered by the amount and quality of remixes covering my work, and I always look forward to listening to new variations.
     "Whilst it's not the same as the original – we've already heard that, so to hear a different version with a totally different approach is very refreshing. I too like this remix for what it is, and I think the Super Smash Bros. Brawl version somewhat suits the gameplay a little more than perhaps the original version might. It works for me!"
     And I'll let you know if it works for me as soon as we're able to play it in Europe without being branded dirty good-for-nothing importers.
Dear Scribes,
     I'm sure you have a giant mass of Banjo-Kazooie (and the like) questions. I don't think this has ever been asked before, but just what is Captain Blackeye's first name? Or did Mr. And Mrs. Blackeye actually name him "Captain"? (With a name like Blackeye he had to be a pirate, or fisherman or something anyway!)
     Or is that just his pirate name (like how a pope takes a new "pope name") and he has a different name altogether?
     Also: I can't help but think he [Capt'n Blackeye] is either related to Gruntilda or dated her... but I don't want to inspire any BK fanfics here so I'll shut up about that.
More importantly, what's Captain Falcon's first name? Or Captain Birdseye, who tragically died earlier this year? Will we ever be told? For now, we can at least ask Gregg about Captain Blackeye (I doubt he'd be able to shed any light on Captain Birdseye).
     "Captain Blackeye never had a first name. We were too busy inventing all sorts of other daft characters and names for Dream, the game he was to feature in. Grant (Banjo's musician) wrote a great soundtrack for this game and to this very day he is still raiding his hard drive, recycling the old tunes and bringing them back to life in his games. I'm almost certain you didn't know (probably because we never told anyone) that one of the daytime music pieces in VP was originally called 'boy', Mad Monster Mansion in B-K was called 'bully' and the Shipwreck tune in DK64 was 'mudplugger'."
     If that's not good enough for you, just assume Captain Blackeye's first name was Brian.
Just A Quick Question,
     Will you guys be coming out with an upgraded replica of Perfect Dark 64 for the new generation consoles? I was just wondering because Perfect Dark Zero was an excellent prequel, and Perfect Dark 64 is possibly the best FPS ever made (according to almost every gaming website... and me), so it just wouldn't be right not to remake PD64 on the new generation consoles. Everything on PD64 was perfect, so the only thing you would have to tweak would be the graphics, and maybe some online features.
Stop calling it PD64! I don't know whether that's a job for the orange text or the italics. Damn it, I'm going to have to go with the orange text and hope it doesn't break the physics of the internet.
     Now let's go over to Duncan and pick up some overwhelmingly positive comments on remaking PD for a new generation!
     "Nope, we have no plans for doing anything like that at the moment. And the process is never as simple as people like to think, sadly."
Hello, O Divine Game Developers!
     Our family has been playing Rare games since BK first beak-bombed this side of the big pond. We are B-I-G fans, esp. of the Banjo franchise, but also love GBTG, DK, and Star Fox. My kids (ages 9 & 13) grew up with BK; they knew the moves before they could tie their shoes. We still play BK to improve our previous record time of solving the game. (As you can guess, we are holding our collective breath for BK3 to be released!)
     I wonder, does your campus in Twycross have a gift shop? We have a friend who lives in London who will be visiting us this August. Can she buy us some small memorabilia that would make us feel a little closer connected to the game we love? [Perhaps a life preserver with eyes that track you as you pass--no, that might be a little too scary.]
     Thanks for teaching my kids motor skills I never had, and giving myself a second childhood!
     Chris Lindsay
Loads of N64-era Banjo fans emerging from the woodwork today. And they said nobody knew who he was any more. We'll show 'em!
     We appreciate the kind words, but no gift shop, no. Sadly. As a business venture it wouldn't do very well considering we only let about six outsiders through the doors every year. We're no really that close to London anyway (well, maybe in the eyes of someone from a country that can't be driven across in one day). If we end up taking delivery of any cheap free tat – sorry, quality merchandise – following the release of the new game, rest assured we'll put it up for grabs in some kind of breathtaking online competition.
Dear Ultimate Play The Game,
     Woops. I goofed. I meant Rare. It's just too bad I can't backspace… Anyways, I'm typing to you in the hopes that you will shed just a little more light on this "brave gamble" you're taking with Banjo-Threeie. First let me state that I very much trust you guys, and I will back you all the way. You must be so relieved. Now let me also state that your previous gambles, one for example, Viva Piñata on a console overrun with FPSs, have turned out quite well. But now let me also state that we've seen some brave gambles in platformers before (water propelled Mario, anyone?), and while they haven't strayed too far from the originals we love, they strayed far enough.
     So, on to Banjo-Threeie. How far would you say the new game strays from the originals, gameplay wise? Are we talking "crazy machine to assist the duo in their adventure" or are we talking "good old collecting notes and Jiggys and opening new levels, only now with the help of little Piñatas that seem to have appeared out of nowhere"? I simply ask for some idea of what we can expect. Though whatever it is, I'm sure it will be worth the risk.
     So that's my main question (that's why it's 10 or so fragments long). But I have another little, tiny, portable question. Viva Piñata DS. How is it going in terms of development and do you think we will be able to have a little, tiny, portable garden in our pockets within the year? Well that's it, that's all, I'm out. Thank you again for your time.
     Cameron Parker (Mr. Patch)
You're still going on about the water squirter? I can see we're going to have to address this 'properly' once and for all. Let's hope it doesn't go horribly wrong. Gregg?
     "It's a 'brave gamble' because we haven't actually been doing any work for the last four years and we hope the bigwigs at Microsoft won't notice.
     "Let me try and explain the new game's approach with a little story!
     "Once upon a time, Banjo and Kazooie woke up in their house. They'd had a bad Dream, so they went for a walk to cheer themselves up. The first place they found was a lovely cheery location called Banjo-Kazooie Village. They quite liked it there, but after a while they wanted to move on. So the bear and bird left to head for Banjo-Tooie City, a short distance away. The city was like the village, only a lot bigger and slightly less cheery. It was darker in the city and there were also lots more things to collect. After stuffing their backpack full of Jiggies and Notes, they finally left the city. But they didn't know where they wanted to go next and got a bit lost. After wandering past a haunted house and though a vast papery wilderness, they eventually stumbled across a wondrous new kingdom, the likes of which they had never seen before. Thanks to Kazooie's backpack full of familiar goodies they felt immediately at home, despite the unfamiliar surroundings. Banjo and Kazooie liked it there and wondered why they ever bothered to visit the previous places. The End.
     "And Viva Piñata DS is complete. We are just waiting for our army of university interns, illegal immigrants and small children from the local schools to assemble the hand-made cartridges that we'll be selling at all good flea markets this Sunday."
     I can't decide whether that response contained significantly less or more inflammatory content than I was expecting. All I know is that it was definitely one or the other.
Hi Scribes,
     I'm sure you've been inundated with emails of a similar theme to this one since the last Scribes on Feb 13th but I'm going ask you anyway. In one of your replies to another fan you mentioned that "The Viva Piñata team is working on a new title that we hope to be able to tell you about soon, and should be in the shops before the end of the year (it's not Banjo)" and I wondered how soon is soon?! Is this mystery project going to be revealed before E3?
Actually, that little nugget seemed to fly under the radar for some reason. I suppose everyone's too busy asking whether Tooty is related to Candy Kong and there'll be collectible macadamia nuts and Leaky the bucket will be playable and Mumbo will turn Banjo into a toasted sandwich maker or a bag of compost.
     An official VP team quote: "Revealed before E3? Yes, yes it will." Or will it? I suppose it has to be, they wouldn't lie just for the sake of it. Or would they?
"Oi! Taxi! Aye, nice one son... yer me best mate."
Hola Senor Scribes,
     Having recently purchased Grabbed By The Ghoulies with a button I found in the park I'd just like to let everyone in earshot know how bloody good it is. I was up 'til the small hours last night promising myself 'just one more room'. Top-hole.
     Give everyone involved a hearty slap on the back and buy them a Guinness. Put it on my tab.
Ah, there has to be at least one every time. If I didn't personally compile the letters for Gregg to answer, I'd swear he was sneaking them in himself.
     "See how the love for Ghoulies grows! Maybe in another 50 years we'll have sold enough to warrant making a sequel. I'll leave the last word in this matter to the Cursed Mummy, as seen in Ghoulies Basement: 'Wuhhhhh... Ankhaaaaaaaarrrrrr!'"
     And on that note, time to transition into the last phase of this Bumper Epic 10th Anniversary Celebration (Kind Of) Scribes as we bring you the inevitable crop of Bumper Epic 10th Anniversary Celebration (Kind Of) Snippets...
  I see you have shenanigans going on with the Banjo rumors. You should keep this up, and make sure it doesn't turn horrible, into *evil* shenanigans...
Andrew Bell
Where's the fun in that? Enjoyed your solo album, by the way. How about another half-decent Erasure one?
  If someone accidentally types the correct name for the third Banjo game, will it automatically turn orange?
Theoretically, yes... assuming we're not still faffing about trying to decide on a final name.
  Is it me, or if Barack Obama grew a beard, he would look like the President in PD64? What PD prophecy will come true next? :o
Martin Badowsky
DB: "It's you, he looks more like the guy from Babylon 5. With a beard. Mysteriously. Prophecy factor: low to sh*te."
  stop playing in baby tubs and jump in to the ocean,where da faak is k.instink3?
What? What does that even mean?
  This is a really short question – how many projects do you guys have going on and how many will be awesome? lulzors.
Gregg the Grim Reaper
LOLZ d00d confidential! There's a bit more than Banjo going on. You won't have to wait too long.
  Just a quick question I was wondering – I know the show has been canceled, but did you have plans to take the part of agent Moulder in the new season? Or were you planning on just forgetting about him and letting him disappear for another 3-something years?
I absolutely cannot even begin to imagine what you're talking about, but good luck with that.
  i was sad to see you loose to bungie but they had an unfair advantage. They made the game! Anyway you guys hardly lost. i'd like to see who came out on top in a viva pinata-off; first to tame a roario wins.
RARE uprising
Oh, they act all macho with their guns and stuff, but they're just as likely to spend six hours raising an orange Doenut variant.
  Please could you consider doing Viva Piñata on Nintendo DS. I love the game so much that I'd like to play it wherever I go.
Rachel! You've given us a brilliant idea – VP on DS! Sorry your character died in Highlander: Endgame.
  For the love of God, please let David Wise out of the basement and put him to work on a 360 game. In another basement. Preferably with a harmonica.
Paul Watkins
DW: "Yes – I totally agree." He's feverishly buffing the harmonica as we speak.
  MAKE A NEW COKERS, that will be all
Drake Jenkins
OKAY DRAKE we will HAPPILY TAKE ON coke AND PEPSI in the soft drink MARKET
  How do you say Jinjo, Scribes? It it Jing-O or Ginge-O?
Sir Boogie The 3rd
GM: "It's 'Ginge-Oh' or 'Gin-Joe'. Named after the esteemed ginger artist who designed and modelled them."
  I have every Rareware game since the first Donkey Kong Country. That deserves a crate full of Jiggies doesn't it? Heh! =) Evidence A.
This even made it into Rare's internal newsletter. No, we're not paying you royalties.
  I have been thinking, after seeing the success of Super Smash Bros. Brawl You lucky people should create your own Smashing title with RARE characters and stages. Just think, Horstachio knocking Joanna, Joanna bashing Banjo, Banjo whacking Mr. Pants, Mr Pants with a cowbell
Timothy Treoson
A REVOLUTIONARY idea that has NEVER EVER been suggested before IN THE WORLD EVER.
  i have been eagerly awaiting the new banjo for some time now. i was just wondering if you have any idea of when it might be released. if so TELL ME NOW YOU PIG-DOGS, not in a bad way, i like pig dogs. thanks, if you tell me.
GM: "I've been awaiting the end of these questions for even longer. It will be released when all the Pig-Dogs have finished working on it."
  In the last scribes i saw a picture of a Banjo Tanker. Will this Banjo tanker come back?
Connor Versnel
Everyone loves the Banjo Tank! No.
Scribes – May 9, 2008