Banjo-Kazooie designer ‘stunned’ to see his creations in Smash Ultimate

Banjo-Kazooie Smash new Banjo-Kazooie sequel Rare Microsoft Xbox Series X Xbox head Phil Spencer Xbox Game Studios

The euphoria over the arrival of Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate still hasn’t subsided. Pretty much everyone is stoked. “Everyone” in this case includes Steve Mayles, the character designer who created the look of Banjo and Kazooie. It also includes BK composer Grant Kirkhope, who has contributed the song that plays with the BK Smash stage, Spiral Mountain. YouTuber Shesez interviewed them both individually to talk to them about their reactions to this incredible event.

Mayles had watched the Nintendo E3 Direct with the rest of his team at Playtonic, the maker of Yooka-Laylee. They were simply watching as Nintendo fans mostly. Although they had heard the same rumors as the rest of us, they were still shocked when Banjo and Kazooie actually appeared. As VGC helpfully transcribes, Mayles said this to Shesez:

“It was just mind-blowing; there’s no other word for it really. I just couldn’t take it in. I had to watch the reveal later in the day about 10 or 20 times just to take in everything that was going on. It was just really surreal.”

“It’s just surreal to see these characters I made 20, well more than 20 years ago in some cases… and they’re back in high resolution looking as I originally created them. It’s just strange but awesome at the same time.”

Later in the video, Mayles also said, “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I teared up a little bit, especially the Nintendo store in New York announcement, where everyone’s cheering and yelling.”

Composer Kirkhope echoed this precise sentiment, though he had known about the coming crossover since this past February:

It was absolutely perfect; Nintendo did a fantastic job. It ticked all the boxes. It was nostalgic and it touched the heartstrings — I was crying along with everyone else while I was watching it.

I didn’t really expect people to go that crazy. When you see someone totally lose it with happiness, like in some of those fan videos, it really touches your heart because everyone connects on that human level. To see people crying and laughing at the same time – I was the same – I think those things are once in a lifetime.

So yeah, Steve Mayles and Grant Kirkhope are exceedingly happy that Banjo-Kazooie has finally crossed paths with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Pretty much everyone at Nintendo Enthusiast is too.

Check out the full interview below — it’s a really nice listen.

Little update: Japan seems to be liking Banjo as well.


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!