Microsoft: Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and More Will Return Eventually

"We have surprises in store in the near and long future," Ken Lobb says.

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Though Microsoft has shown hesitance in investing in classic Rare franchises such as Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Blast Corps, Viva Pinata, and Battletoads recently, that doesn't mean the company is abandoning them altogether. In fact, Microsoft Studios creative director Ken Lobb says each of the franchises will return someday, when the time and circumstances are right.

"Will there ever be another Banjo, Viva, Blast Corps, Battletoads? Yeah, someday. And I think the reason you see things like [the Battletoads trademark] revived, is because we know there's value," Lobb said on the latest Inner Circle podcast.

"So we renewed the trademark. Does that mean it's coming this year? No. Does that mean it'll never come? Absolutely not. We have a lot of passion internally for each of the games. And we have surprises in store in the near and long future."

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Lobb summed up Microsoft's strategy around revisiting older IP by saying those Rare franchises and others, like Perfect Dark, give the company the ability to surprise and delight gamers with titles they may not have expected.

"Understand that what it's really about is we want to build this suite of IP that we can add to a list of, 'Let's build some new things, let's build some recent sequels, and let's do some crazy stuff like dig back into our portfolio of IP and build some games that people love,'" he explained.

"I think the best message to give to your listeners is we love the old IP as much as you do--please be patient because we can only build so much at a time."

Lobb isn't the only key creative person at Microsoft's Xbox division making decisions about what franchises are revived. He added that Head of Xbox Phil Spencer is a great leader and decision-maker because he not only looks at the business side of the coin, but also the creative.

"This is one of the things that I love about [Phil Spencer]: He understands the value of IP," Lobb said. "Not just in terms of let's go make a new one every year. But in terms of, 'let's go think about the portfolio and what makes the most sense at the right time.'"

While there has been much speculation about what UK studio Rare might be working on next, Lobb revealed that it's not a new Perfect Dark game. "Today, no one is working on a new Perfect Dark," he said, while also pointing out that Perfect Dark is "in the discussion a lot" regarding which franchises Microsoft should bring back for the new generation.

Lobb also teased that a new Perfect Dark could, if it ever does get made, be a more story-driven game that dives into who Joanna Dark is. He also suggested that it might not even be a shooter, as Microsoft already has the shooter space covered well with the Halo and Gears of War franchises.

"In a world where you have Halo and you have Gears, having another Perfect Dark Zero-style game maybe makes a little bit less sense than something that's a little more story-driven around Joanna," Lobb said. "Whether that's third-person with stealth, et cetera, et cetera ... we like the IP."

Perfect Dark Zero was set in the year 2020, which Lobb teased could make for a fitting time to see the series return to life. "Maybe we'll see another Joanna Dark game with Joanna by 2020. That would be an interesting year to bring her back," he said.

Gamers may not need to wait much longer to find out what Rare is working on next, as the developer says it has "huge" plans for 2015, a sentiment Lobb echoed. "It's a nice, big year for Rare and I'm excited as well," he said.

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Avatar image for greebe55

i remember back in the day when every game RARE made was a 10/10

Avatar image for celestian1998

<< LINK REMOVED >> Ever played Jet Force Gemini? That is one of the few Rare games that I've played that no ones ever heard of lol.

Avatar image for megakick


Avatar image for XeroShinobi

Completely asinine plan from Microsoft. "Let's just sit on IPs that we recently (not so recent now) purchased forever! That'll make millions!"

How about instead of maybe someday making a new Banjo or Conker game if the starts align, you just f***ing make one? M$ has the resources to hire new devs to help the current lackluster Rare team out on any potential game.

Avatar image for thelilota

am i the only one who cares about new banjo kazooie characters? lmao

Avatar image for Skrilla_XS

I thought everybody that made Rare games awesome left?

Avatar image for f3kuinth3a55gs

<< LINK REMOVED >> They did, Rare is just a name now and the people that made it great left shortly after microsoft bought Nintendos shares out.

Avatar image for MigGui

they should bring back whacked!

Avatar image for DarkReign2022

I feel like the one Genre Xbox is really lacking in is Platformers. Nintendo has Mario &Donkey Kong, Sony has Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper, Microsoft has... none. With the possession of Rare they're sitting on Banjo, Conker, and Kameo, all excellent franchises that have the potential to be a regular mainstay in the industry.

Conker has the best potential for being a success because of it's humorous parodying nature and mature themes suiting an older generation of gamers. Kameo also holds a lot of potential with the popularity of Tolkien and the LOTR series at the moment as well as the more mature appearance of the concept are that was leaked for the cancelled sequel.

Banjo I was personally never a fan of, but it seems to have the largest following of the Rare franchises, but that can also be a double-edged sword as Nuts & Bolts proved. Too much hype can trash a game faster than any design flaws ever could.

Avatar image for boz2478

All they have to do is not mess it up! :D

Avatar image for tacosnackn

Battletoads and Perfect Dark on Vita would make me cream.

Avatar image for cashboyzz


Avatar image for blaise0fgl0ry

I would ring with joy to see a new Banjo or Conker game done right. Two of the best platform games on the N64 were Bad Fur Day and Banjo and Kazooi. Those characters have some real potential to bring some magic back to the industry with the proper treatment.

Avatar image for coop36

Wish Retro studios could make a new Banjo game.

Avatar image for chisoxrule

I'd splurge for an XOne if a 'real' Banjo game were to come out. That is one old franchise I still continue to play to this day....

Avatar image for Rushaoz

I'll get an Xbox One when Microsoft puts Rare's talents back to good use again. Such a huge plethora of games under this developers belt and MS has got them making Kinect games.. c'mon..

Avatar image for f3kuinth3a55gs

<< LINK REMOVED >> The thing is rare doesn't have those talents anymore since about 95% of the team left shortly after MS bought out the 49% share Nintento owned.

Avatar image for Rushaoz

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Wow is that so? Any idea on where they all went? That would make sense though. You would have to be stupid to release kinect games instead of capitalizing on a slew of IPs people loved and want more of.

Avatar image for celestian1998

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I know this is a few months late but 6 of the employees started a new company called Playtonic games. << LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for boz2478

<< LINK REMOVED >> 100% agreed, thats the only way I would buy an Xbox One. I would prefer Nintendo get Rare back but I doubt that'll happen. I would love to see a WiiU Banjo Kazooie game though

Avatar image for incrediblmullet

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Nintendo doesn't need Rare back, M$ just needs to sell Rare's franchises back to Nintendo....and the big N will take care of the rest

Avatar image for kkdrummer

man, give me Banjo...and this is all!

Avatar image for seriousdave

I don't even know if I want a sequel produced by the "current" rare. The people who made the great games of ancient lore have long left the boat. Remember the last couple good games Rare made? Yeah, me neither...

I imagine if they'd try another Banjo or Conker it would just be the same level as Nuts & Bolts or even worse.

Glad at least DK was put into capable Hands.

Avatar image for supersouvlaki




Avatar image for karloss01

Rare died after the most of the team went on to form Free Radical and then released Haze which killed all financial support. the likelihood of getting a respectable sequel for any of these games outside of fan creations is zero.

Avatar image for jtb_pred


wrong.... so very wrong. rare hires and fires devs all the time they are terrible at keeping workers.

even back in the nintendo days

Avatar image for kkdrummer

<< LINK REMOVED >> blah bllah blah

Avatar image for ALLIAMOS

kameo 2 please or kameo full hd 60fps or 4k

Avatar image for scyth01

All I read was a lot of blah blah blah, we bought Rare and right now were doing nothing with the company. Well that's one way to look at how Microsoft destroyed Rare

Avatar image for bladexdsl

rare died a long time ago after they created that abomination nutz and boltz

Avatar image for June-GS

You had me at "Perfect Dark".

Avatar image for xxstrghtmnyxx

I don't know... I think the longer they wait, the less relevant those games become. Very rarely has a franchise done well after the original team leaves it behind.

Avatar image for DimitriX360

Rare was killed by Don Mattrick and now it's Rare will rebirth by Phil Spencer.

Avatar image for rickphoenixxx

New Conkers Conkers.

Avatar image for Mirimon78

msft needed the powa of teh cloudz to finally be able to play N64 games in 1080p??

Avatar image for Simulator_Shock

<< LINK REMOVED >> Say no to drugs.

Avatar image for blackace

<< LINK REMOVED >> Go find your brain kid.

Avatar image for deactivated-5a7a9f13c46dd

Let's face it, Rare is nothing like they once were, and any IP that might be brought back will most likely suck.

Avatar image for jtb_pred


they have never been "like they once were" because they were dropping and hiring devs at a constant rate. they could never hold on to devs that was their problem.

Avatar image for blackace

<< LINK REMOVED >> Naughty Dog no longer have their founders and their games are just fine. Keep trolling.

Avatar image for bladexdsl

and they'll all be garbage

Avatar image for PortalJumper93

<< LINK REMOVED >> Better than whatever Portstation's got.

Avatar image for bladexdsl


not the wiiu though :P