Nintendo has announced what the next title will be for their Switch Online Expansion Pass. It’s none other than Banjo-Kazooie, one of the most critically acclaimed titles from the 1990s. The game is also considered one of the greatest Nintendo 64 titles of all time, building on the success of Super Mario 64 and amplifying that by 100. The main reason why this is such a noteworthy mention and addition to the Nintendo Switch is because of the time significance. This will be the first time since the year 2000 that a mainline entry of the Banjo-Kazooie franchise will be available on a Nintendo console.
Embark on a wild quest with an unlikely pair! The adventures of Banjo and Kazooie begin here!
Banjo-Kazooie is coming to #NintendoSwitch for #NintendoSwitchOnline + Expansion Pack members on 1/20! #Nintendo64 pic.twitter.com/R349r8gbvD
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 19, 2022
For those who don’t know, back in 2002 Rare was just coming off of a successful partnership with Nintendo which included Donkey Kong Country, the aforementioned Banjo-Kazooie, the sequel Banjo-Tooie, and Star Fox Adventures for the Nintendo Gamecube. After a long bidding war between many companies, Rare was purchased by Microsoft for a monstrous $375 million. Surprisingly, Nintendo allowed Rare to withhold the rights to Banjo-Kazooie, essentially giving the IP right over to Microsoft, and removing any potential new entry from being released for a Nintendo console for the foreseeable future.
At the time this was practically unheard of for a company to spend this much capital on a video game developer/company, but as we’ve seen recently, the value for studios has gone up exponentially. Microsoft again showcased this with Bethesda and Activision Blizzard. Rare did release two spin-off entries for the Game Boy Advance, but ever since their buyout, the mainline franchise has been absent from a Nintendo system since the year 2000. That is until later this week when it returns in the form of a new Online Expansion Pass title for those who own the service.
The return of the original 1998 title marks a long time coming, and something that a lot of fans thought would never happen again. Banjo-Kazooie will be released for the Nintendo Switch through the Online Expansion Pass this Thursday, January 20.