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MS sees Banjo as Mario-like 360 mascot

Banjo to be up there with Sonic, Mario and Lara Croft

Rare wants Banjo-Kazooie to become an Xbox mascot in the vein of Mario, Lara Croft, Sonic and a Tetris Block (we ran out of mascots towards the end there), the developer has told CVG.

Speaking in an interview published today, on Banjo-Kazooie's 10th Birthday in Europe (raise your pint glasses), Rare studio head Mark Betteridge said that the new Banjo is a game the Xbox 360 "needs".

"We think the time is right for Banjo to be a mascot character for the 360, that's the key point," he said. "The price of the box is less than it was at launch, there are more casual customers buying consoles, so I think there's now a really good opportunity there. It's a unique game in the 360 line-up, it's a game that the 360 needs."

"Certainly as a mascot character Mario is fantastic and that would be wonderful to have Banjo mention in the same breath as 360 in way that Mario is with Nintendo," he added.

Should we expect to see Banjo Kart shortly, then? "We've used our characters in other games before with Nintendo," Betteridge added. "I suppose that's an historical skill of Rare's, to create likeable characters and characters that have proven to be popular worldwide."

Read the entire interview with Rare here.