Every Sunday we present an article from our archive - giving you a chance to discover something for the first time, or maybe just to get reacquainted. This week, with the Conker-starring Project Spark finally releasing, we go back to Wes' interview with the man behind Rare's foul-mouthed mascot.
The roots of my appreciation for Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts began long before Rare had created either bear or bird in an inauspicious-yet-somehow-none-too-surprising fashion that outwardly has nothing to do with video games.
Through a locked gate, down a winding path and by a still pond a few miles outside of the leafy village of Twycross, England, a bonsai tree stands. It was a gift given to Rare by Shigeru Miyamoto, the most famous game designer in the world, as a thank-you for the game developer's critical and commercial success in creating games for Nintendo, the most famous game maker in the world.
It's a CV packed with best-selling games spread out across a decade: Killer Instinct, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Kameo… we're talking, of course, about Rare.
With only weeks to go before Rare's venerable Banjo-Kazooie franchise emerges from its decade-long slumber, the game is seriously taking shape. This week, at Microsoft's UK headquarters in Reading, we were able to go hands-on with almost finished (albeit not yet bug-free) code.
Sadly, we are unable to settle the debate. We may have been invited to Rare to play Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts last week, but we cannot definitively confirm what percentage is platforming and what percentage is racing. Apart from being impossible to quantify, this is because - after several hours of egg-and-spoon races in shopping trolleys and playing darts with soapbox racers and a ski-jump - we don't care. You too will get over it, we suspect, once you've spent a few minutes in the vehicle editor.
It's not been an easy few years for Rare. It's a cliché to point it out, of course - you'd be hard-pressed to find an article about Rare in the last few years that doesn't mention its fall from grace following Microsoft's buyout, and we've no doubt that the studio is sick of hearing about it.
The first thing you need to know about Banjo-Kazooie's expansive E3 demo is the one that's going to get the traditionalists shaking and sputtering with rage: you don't do very much platforming in it. The second thing you need to know, following close on the heels of the first, is that that's fine, because it's still great fun.