Was there ever a temptation to create a brand new character and brand new IP?
NH: No. I don't think there was because it always was going to be a Banjo game. It wasn't that we came up with this idea then packed him in. It was always Banjo. I can see what you mean but no, we never really went down that route of going "oh it's a bit different, we should come up with a new character." It was always Banjo.
So with pushing the series in a whole new direction, how have you kept the 'feel' of a Banjo game in Nuts & Bolts?
EM: There's still a platform element. In Showdown Town where you collect the notes and the Jiggies, there still are platform elements.
NH: The whole concept of winning tickets, competing against Grunty, that's all there. The familiar characters, the humour...
EM: The humour is a big thing.
NH: ...the sarcastic comebacks and so on. That's all still there. Like Elissa says there are platform elements. You've still got the jumping and the attacking, ladders, tightropes, all that sort of stuff. So that's all very much Banjo.
Also Gregg Mayles is actually the designer on the team. He's our design director. He designed the original two Banjo games. So what's funny is some people turn round to us and say "well, this isn't a Banjo game." And it's like well, Gregg designed the first two and he designed this one so if anyone knows what makes a Banjo game, it's Gregg.
Was it difficult to restrain yourselves with voice acting and stuff under the new, Microsoft-size budget?
NH: That was a big decision, whether to have audio voice for the characters or to keep the jibber jabber from the old games. We kind of ummed and aahed about it and we were thinking quite a lot... if we just keep text, people will think we've done that because we couldn't be bothered to do the audio or couldn't afford to do the audio. In the end, we decided to keep the text because Gregg felt that was a very important part of the Banjo franchise.
EM: I did quite a lot of voices for the characters [laughs] That's kind of like a Rare thing, try and make it as funny as possible.
It's quite easy to get swayed by the money and make it 'next-gen'. Obviously it is next-gen but little things like that keep it grounded and to the Banjo roots.
NH: From a visual point of view, the old Banjo games were always quite colourful so we've kept that theme going. We've probably, in some respects, made it a little less colourful because people might otherwise dismiss it as a kid's game because it's bright and colourful. But it's still very, very bright and vibrant.
Where did the decision to put old Banjo Kazooie on Xbox Live come from?
NH: Don't know. To be honest, I don't know where the idea came from, whether it came from within Microsoft or within Rare. But we're quite happy about it because it just hopefully regenerates the franchise somewhat.
There are still a lot of people who want to play the old game. It is ten years old but it dates quite well, actually. If you play it, it's now in HD and actually runs at a decent frame rate [laughs] so on an HD telly it looks pretty bloody good. But where the decision came from, I'm not entirely sure.
And the new Stop 'N Swap was a hark back to the old fans. It's bit of a joke, really. If one game detects the other on your hard drive, it'll unlock some stuff.
EM: It gives you more components, things like that.
Last time we saw it, it was still branded up with Nintendo logos and stuff. Is that still in there?
NH: In the old game, branded up as Nintendo? I don't know to be honest.
I can't really comment on the legal issues but Banjo is our IP and I think if it was in the old game, then I think we're okay to use it. But we've certainly got the legal people to go through it. They've taken out things that we're not allowed to keep. We just do what we're told [laughs]