As we mentioned earlier, Grant Kirkhope handled the music for Banjo and Kazooie's reveal for Smash Bros. Ultimate. In an interview with VideogamesChronicle, Mr. Kirkhope elaborated on the whole topic. Apparently he worked on 12 different iterations of the tune before he got to what we heard in the trailer.
“In about January this year I received a message from Davide Soliani, the creative director on Mario Rabbids, who said Nintendo were asking for my contact information. He said, ‘can I pass it on to them?’ and I was like, ‘too f***ing right!’ I think it was Nintendo’s idea that they wanted the original composer. This had been going on long before they talked to me and they must have been talking to Rare at the back end of last year. A couple of days went by and I eventually got an email from Nintendo saying that they had a piece of music they’d like my assistance on and that they really loved what I did with the Princess Peach theme in Mario Rabbids. That was it.
So my brain was going mad trying to work out what it could be. I did quickly wonder if it could be Banjo in Smash Bros., but then I thought it couldn’t be that because they always use their own Japanese composers to remix the tunes for that game. They never get the actual composers: even David Wise didn’t get to do his Donkey Kong stuff for K Rool, which I didn’t understand.
So I thought it couldn’t be that. I wondered whether it might be Rabbid Peach as a playable character in Smash, or something like that.
I think it was Nintendo’s idea that they wanted the original composer. This had been going on long before they talked to me and they must have been talking to Rare at the back end of last year. I started thinking what the most recognisable Banjo-Kazooie tune would be. I went through a few different ideas like Mad Monster Mansion, Freezeezy Peak or Treasure Trove Cove, but eventually settled on Spiral Mountain. I thought that would be the most recognisable of all of them. I didn’t actually know the Banjo stage in the game was Spiral Mountain, so it was pretty handy when I found out I’d accidentally matched the tune with the stage. Maybe they should’ve told me at the start!”
When I have to redo any of my own stuff, like in Yooka-Laylee which was very much Banjo style, I don’t want to do it almost. I’m not great at going back to old stuff – I usually end up making it worse! But once I started it, it was great fun. But I had to get it right for the fans. Nintendo Japan also asked me to weave in some references to other Banjo levels, so I put in bits of melody from other tunes. It’s up to the fans to spot them!
I think it is significant that Banjo is back on a Nintendo system. They were born on Nintendo consoles. I feel that their home is with Nintendo, but that’s just my personal opinion and I think the fans definitely agree.”
Kirkhope isn't the only one pleased to see Banjo and Kazooie popping up in Smash. Steve Mayles, the character designer of the duo, was quite happy about the reveal.
“It’s wonderful to see Banjo and Kazooie return after 11 years in gaming wilderness, and back to their spiritual home on a Nintendo console no less. I’m really pleased for all the passionate Banjo fans who never lost faith that their heroes would one day come back! The duo are a great fit for Smash Ultimate – I can’t wait to make them Rat-a-tat-Rap Sonic in the face. Take that hedgehog boy!”
Chris Sutherland, lead programmer on the Banjo-Kazooie games, shared the same sentiment.
“It was a surprise to me, but I know many people have been asking for this – it is great to see the bear and bird back in action! Guhuh!”