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Banjo X was a remake of Banjo-Kazooie that Rareware were developing for the Xbox in 2005, which was eventually cancelled and redeveloped into Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. In an effort to surprise players who're familiar with Banjo-Kazooie, the game would have been advertised as a straightforward remake with very few changes, but in reality it would diverge wildly from the original as it progressed. Characters would develop a sense of self-awareness about having to relive the scenarios featured in Banjo-Kazooie, and they'd change their behaviour accordingly. The levels and gameplay setpieces would differ too: for example a giant termite queen would burst out of Ticker's Tower in Mumbo's Mountain, and Conga would use his oranges to defeat her. Humba Wumba and other characters from Banjo-Tooie would also appear, possibly along with some of its locations.

Banjo x swim cycle

A Banjo X swim cycle, featuring the smooth high-poly style the team tested in early development

The art style for Banjo X strongly resembled that used for Nuts & Bolts, although early assets for the game (such as a redesigned Mumbo Jumbo model that was used for testing character lipsync animation) featured rounder silhouettes compared to the appealing constrasting blocky/curved contours used in the final art style. In a behind-the-scenes featurette created for Rare Replay, artist Ed Bryan explained that they tried out this smoother high-poly approach at first, but felt it lacked the charm the characters had in the original games - this led him to push his designs in the more stylised direction seen in later assets and in the final Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.[1]

Veteran Rareware devs Steve Mayles and Ed Bryan have kindly shared a number of the game's unused assets and animations over social media in recent years, as well as insights into the team's vision for the game.

Trivia

Banjo X - Mumbo Jumbo Animation

Banjo X - Mumbo Jumbo Animation

  • It's known that Humba, Mumbo, Tiptup, a Jinjo, and a "Bully" had all been modelled (and in the case of Mumbo and Humba, animated) by Ed Bryan prior to the game's cancellation.[2] These designs would have differed from the ones that were eventually created for Nuts & Bolts, and likely had the rounder art style seen in Mumbo's lipsync test animation.[3] Conga and the Ticker Queen had also been modelled and animated by Steve Mayles before production ceased.
  • Grant Kirkhope composed a reorchestrated version of the theme for Mumbo's Mountain before development was cancelled.[4] Some of this music was reused for Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts's teaser trailer.
Mumbo's Mountain - Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts

Mumbo's Mountain - Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts

Gallery

References

  1. https://youtu.be/_R2sCzlT5Uc?t=242
  2. https://twitter.com/mingellasfella/status/1001163031492136963
  3. https://twitter.com/mingellasfella/status/1001165697161023489
  4. http://www.grantkirkhope.com/banjo-kazooie-nuts-and-bolts/
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