The Lord of the Games' chat LOG
On May 13th, 2008, the embargo (that was shamefully broken) ended, and with it came new information on both Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.
Unbeknownst to the Rare fanbase, Rare themselves set up a moment of their time and ours to host a chatroom with the Banjo franchise's creator himself, Gregg Mayles. Selected webmasters from various Rare fansites were chosen to participate and ask questions regarding the heavily-debated Nuts & Bolts. With Alberto representing MundoRare, and Mark representing MundoRare's sister site DKU, we went in and, logically, got twice the opportunities of getting questions from the Rare fanbase.
What originally was planned to be a chat that would've just lasted an hour resulted in a nearly two and a half-hour chat. We managed to get a lot of interesting questions on behalf of both of us with some new information that will blow your mind. Sit back, listen to some Banjo music, microwave popcorn, and enjoy this textual treat of a chat thanks to the efforts of George Kelion, Gregg Mayles himself, and of course, Rare, for taking time to talk to some of their most dedicated fans.
Mark @ DKU: The overall reaction from our site's Banjo diehards has been mixed, with many of them concerned that Nuts & Bolts is less a Banjo game and more a game with Banjo randomly stuck in it. How would you defend it to fans that were originally drawn in by BK's move-based platforming?
Gregg Mayles: It's true that anyone wanting a carbon copy of the previous two games will be disappointed. So I'm not even going to make out that it is. What I believe it to be is an evolution of the platform adventure genre. The genre is too stale, it needed shaking up, so we are trying somehting different but within the framework of a 'traditional' Banjo game. It has a familiar structure, things to collect, characters to talk to and all the humour you would expect. I said on one forum that all we have done is to make the travelling fun. So that pretty much sums it up, we have taken the boring bit (travelling) and made it fun.
Francis @ Perfect Rare: Why have you been so quiet on Banjo-Kazooie since the X06 trailer? Was is maybe too early to tell everyone a new Banjo is coming or was it Microsoft's decision to promote the Xbox 360 with new fresh platform games?
Mayles: We have been hard at work trying to make our concept work. We didn't want to reveal anything until we were sure it would work. There were many times when I thought we would never be able to get it working! Too many games these days are previewed too far in advance; by the time they are released it feels like you have already played them. Anyway, you wouldn't expect any less of Rare!
Mario @ Rare-Elite: You mentioned that musical notes are a way to pay. Could you make it more specific? The music notes are clearly music themed. As we've seen in Banjo-Kazooie, both the bear and bird can play music. Why not make some music in the shop and for every music note you collect, Banjo and Kazooie play better music. And if you play good music, you can earn better products from the salesman. Normal paying seems so dull.
Mayles: The musical notes have always been an oddity, in that they aren't really musical at all. None of the previous Banjo games have ever used musical notes for a musical theme. But at least in this game they are actually used for a larger role. There is many things that the player can buy around Showdown Town with the notes. You can buy upgrades to Banjo's basic abilities - speed, strength and stamina. You can bribe the police! You can buy prebuilt vehicles. Plus some other stuff that we aren't talking about / yet to put in!
Nick @ Roysten's Fishbowl: Does Kazooie still have some unique moves, apart from using Mumbo's staff? We've seen her attacking in a screenshot, but not much else...
Mayles: No, all of Kazooie's abilities are linked to the Wrench. Apart from her sarcastic comments! But there are more abilities that you have seen.
Paul @ Spiral Mountain Are you able to explain in greater detail how the vehicle building will be integrated into the game? i.e. do we have to go into Mumbo's Motors to do it, or can you access the vehicle editor at any time?
Mayles: Most of the vehicle parts are found in Showdown Town. They are hidden all over and the player had to find them. Some can be bought, others won. You take them back to Mumbo's Motors where they are added to your parts store. You can go to the garage at any time apart from when in a challenge. You can also edit your vehicle at any time when not in the garage, e.g. if you want to take a part off or come across a new part lying around and want to bolt it on. It sounds complex but it isn't. You have a lot of freedom to do what you want, when you want. The idea is that you find out what the challenge involves, then either chose a vehicle that you think will suit the game, or make one.
Just to add... You build up your parts, which can be used to make anything you want. You can then save your creations and then use the same parts to make something else. So if you started with 10 parts, you could use these 10 parts in as many ways as you want. When you find more parts they are simply added to the total available, allowing bigger and better vehicles to be made. So you build up your abilities as you would in any platformer game. But people will find different parts at different times, so it's not linear as to who will have what parts and when.
Rareman @ NewRare: We assume that you decided of keeping the original voices in the game but what's the secret for making a bear scream? Do you recruit a drunk guy?
Mayles: No, we recruit the lead programmer of the previous Banjo games and tread on his toes. He has to remember to cry out like Banjo though! It took us a long time to decide to keep the mumbling. People automatically expect real speech today but I think that would have ruined the Banjo charm.
Alan @ RWP: In the gameplay footage we saw of a flying vehicle, a rocket was fired at another vehicle in the sky. Does the player have to manually target the other vehicles, objects and enemies, or is it an automatic thing based on who you're closest to. How does the combat system work in general?
Mayles: Depends on the weapon. We have quite a few, ranging from the Blue Egg Gun that fires unguided Eggs in a stright line to the guided missile you saw (called a Torpedile as it works in the air and underwater). You also have the Mumbo Bombo and the Rustbin to look forward to! Plus lots of other crazy weapons and gadgets. You really do have lots of abilities; just not how you was expecting them.
Alberto @ MundoRare: How big is (i.e. how many components could contain) the biggest vehicle the player can build? And, also, can we create a mix of vehicles all in one? Like a hover-copter-4x4-submarine or something!
Mayles: At the moment it is 19 'blocks' high, wide and deep. So that's pretty big. We've built some real monsters. I made a nuclear sub the other night but it was too heavy and underpowered, so it sank! You can make a mix, yes. We've had old fashioned galleons with jets. There are around 100 different types of blocks, with numerous examples of each. So around 1600 in total. But a 19x19x19 area is 6859 blocks! So don't worry about not being able to build something!