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Session with Salvatore Fileccia and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Having never played any of the previous iterations of Banjo Kazooie, we really didn’t have much to expect from this session. But when Rare’s Salvatore Fileccia, Lead Software Engineer walked us through a level, it was clear to us that this title is going to be a tremendous hit. Faceplate extraordinaire, Microsoft Xbox MVP, and overall uber-geek, Ed “Spaceghost2k” Webb, was spot on when he predicted prior to the session that games in the future will be more about playing around, and less about playing the game.

Remember when you used to play around with toys without necessarily following the rules (putting GI Joe figures inside Transformer figures, or making new vehicles out by combining Lego sets)? It seems like Banjo will be capturing that same level of creative-freedom and fun with this game.

In Banjo, the platforming elements are all present, but the game really shines when it comes to the vehicles. There are objectives, or challenges in the game, but players are free to create a variety of vehicles to help Banjo achieve these challenges. Not only are there standard vehicles available to the player, but each vehicle can be totally customizable, from propulsion, to accessories (slap on a spoiler, or place a spring under your vehicle, for instance), to the location of these accessories, to the type of vehicle (plane, helicopter, car, boat, all in one?).

And if you’re familiar with the classic PC game, Incredible Machines, you’ll come to see a strong resemblance with the vehicle creation aspect in this game. Expect some wild results when you go through the potentially infinite combinations of parts in your vehicle. Experimenting with the vehicles and seeing how they react to the wild physics rules in this game in itself is an incredible gameplay element.

The vehicle portion of the game allows a player to approach any challenge any number of ways. One particular challenge for example, requires the player to collect a certain number of nuts and place them in a container within a time limit. The player could certainly have Banjo carry them by hand, but that would take too long. So Salvatore experimented by creating a car with a vacuum to suck all the nuts up. The capacity of the vacuum however was limited, so several trips were required. Next, Salvatore created a helicopter with a sticky hook attached to the bottom. He hooked the actual container, picked it up, and started picking up all the nuts directly with the container itself. It’s this type of gameplay that is so incredible about this title.

We were also shown how vehicles can be built to transform, on the fly – from a land-based vehicle to a flying vehicle. Players need only find the parts scattered throughout the five main levels to create and play with tons of vehicles. By the way, vehicles cannot be permanently destroyed, per se, but can be dismantled, sometimes violently (like a self-destruct mechanism). While a player can make Banjo go fetch all the parts and rebuild the vehicle, the parts are automatically stored in Banjo’s garage. Along with the fact that the parts themselves are indestructible, a player never has to worry about losing a part (of which there are hundreds) that was found in the game.

We saw one multiplayer mode, which was a sort of a king of the hill type of mode, where players must knock each other off with their vehicles of a hill to earn points to win. Of course, players are given time to construct their vehicles before the match – turning this mode into something very close to the shamelessly addicting Robot Wars.

And graphically, this game is set to stun. Textures, colors, lighting – it’s got it all. The environments look amazing, and the water looks alive. There is no doubting that this is a next gen game, and we will be counting the days until it arrives!


11 Responses to “Session with Salvatore Fileccia and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts”

  1. this was one of my top 5 games in the past… i hope thy dont ruin it

  2. This game is just sad… To think RARE thinks most want a LEGO vehicle game that has no structure is wrong on so many levels… I don’t want to build a f-ing car plane to pick up a bunch of bolts to complete some stupid objective.

    The sales will not be so good for this title.

    Moderator Comment: Have you played this game? We have. And it was all kinds of fun – the biggest surprise for us out of all the games we played at the Spring Showcase.

  3. I don’t need to play a game to know I don’t like the premise… This is not Banjo #3

    Moderator Comment: You may not like the idea, but you’ve never tried it in its execution. At the very least, hold your judgment until you’ve played it.

  4. That’s like YOU telling ME I will like playing cooking mama, knowing damn well I would hate it… If I don’t like the concept, I will not like the game.


    Moderator Comment: Actually, no. Recommending that you reserve your judgment of the game until you actually play it is far different from telling you that you will like it. Judging a game based on limited information and not having played the game makes absolutely zero sense.

  5. No, YOU telling me I will like the game based off what you played makes zero sense. Only I would know if I want to build crap in a game or not.

    This is not Banjo… RARE fails again!

    Moderator Comment: We never said that you would like the game. We said WE loved the game, and that you should reserve your judgment until you play the game yourself. How difficult is it to do that?

  6. It’s also asinine to tell a human to reserve judgment on something they hear that they DO NOT LIKE. I don’t need to see some girly movie to know I don’t like those movies… SAME with this GAME

    I don’t need to play it to give my judgment = I know I don’t like it!

    Moderator Comment: You have exhibited the epitome of closed-mindedness. Congratulations.

  7. Sure… Now go see Sex In the City & think, “Is this as good as Indiana Jones?”

    I guess closed-mindedness is better than pure ignorance.

    Moderator Comment: And we’ve demonstrated ignorance how? BTW, if multiple critics find Sex and the City more entertaining than Indy, we’d probably be hard-pressed NOT to check it out.

  8. And caring about what other critics think matters to your own opinion?

    That’s like Gamespy calling MGS4 a Masterpiece… Do you now think it is?

    What a joke!

    Moderator Comment: What the critics thinks does not affect our personal experience, but it does compel us to take a look at a product. Let’s say everyone says a particular burger tastes great. We’d be more compelled go try it for ourselves. If critics say that something isn’t that great, we would be LESS compelled to try it out. But we will withhold our judgment of something until we try it for ourselves.

  9. Yeah, & how many time do movies live up to the Academy Award standards while they ignore truly great movies?

    Take a hint = Don’t care or go out of your way just because some critic had his/her agenda, & as a person that uses logic will know if they like something just by reading it & seeing gameplay in videos… No need to push buttons/move analog sticks to know if something is terrible in their opinion.

    Get a clue please.

    Moderator Comment: No one ever said the majority opinion is a guarantee that you would like a particular movie/game. Critics’ opinions are meant to be persuasive, to assist in helping a person make their own decision. We’ve played this game, and we love it. You haven’t played it, and hate it. We’ll let our readers judge who is more logical in this case. That’ll be the end of this ridiculous argument.

  10. LOL at mike telling the mod to get a clue. Practice what you preach dude.

  11. I agree with both of you… first, mike is right… this isn’t a Banjo game anymore and maybe its fun and stuff but this new type wont compare as the 2 games in the past, that’s my opinion…

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