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Banjo-Kazooie BoxBanjo-Kazooie is a platforming video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. Released in 1998, it is the first game in the Banjo-Kazooie series. The origins of the game started with the development of another title for the Super Nintendo, Project Dream.

Project Dream TitleProject Dream was the codename of a role-playing game that Rare was developing for the Super Nintendo over the course of 16 months. Inspired by LucasArts adventure games and traditional Japanese RPGs the game was led by the same team that worked on Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest.

Using the technology that was developed for the Donkey Kong Country series, the game used the graphics technology to an advanced level. Development began in 1995 and in the middle of development Nintendo announced the release of their next home video game console, the Nintendo 64. Rare staff saw an early version of Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 that was going to launch with the new system and realized that by the time Project Dream would be completed it was going to make their game look outdated.

Project Dream EdisonRare decided to scrap their plans for Project Dream and began developing a new game inspired by Super Mario 64 for the upcoming Nintendo 64. When development transitioned to the Nintendo 64, the scale of the game grew and evolved into a large RPG rendered in 3D. The project proved to be very ambitious for the developers and the game no longer felt fun to the team. As development progressed the game went through many iterations including the lead protagonist being replaced twice, first with a rabbit and later with a bear, Banjo. Originally a bear was designed in the original concept of the game as a secondary character however morphed into the lead character during the development cycle.

Banjo-Kazooie Prologue 2The team applied a Snow White like backstory to the game. A witch named Gruntilda asks her magic cauldron who is the fairest of them all. The cauldron answers back Tooty, Banjo’s little sister. Gruntilda kidnaps Tooty with the intensions of stealing her beauty. Banjo and his companion Kazooie set out on a quest to retrieve Tooty from Gruntilda.

The game struck a cord with Nintendo fans and was a commercial success, selling 3.65 million copies worldwide. Upon release the game was praised for its detailed graphics, dynamic soundtrack and intricate level design. A sequel, Banjo-Tooie was released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000 which expanded on the core concept and gameplay mechanics of the original game. Rare continued to expand the franchise with multiple releases on the Game Boy Advance and Xbox 360 after Rare was acquired by Microsoft.

Banjo Kazooie Logo
Platform(s)Nintendo 64
Media TypeCartridge
ReleaseNA: June 29, 1998
EU: July 17, 1998
JP: December 6, 1998
Development Time16 Months
Sales3.65 Million
RatingESRB: E
Rereleased Platform(s)Ports
Xbox 360 – 2008

Xbox One (Rare Replay) – 2015

Game Screenshots:

From Project Dream to Banjo-Kazooie


Rare Revealed: A Rare Look At Dream

Rare released “Rare Revealed: A Rare Look at Dream” as part of their promotional campaign for Rare Replay.  The video is a short documentary about the making of Dream and how Banjo-Kazooie came about.

Gregg MaylesGregg MaylesLead Designer
George AndreasGeorge AndreasDesigner
Chris SutherlandChris SutherlandLead Programmer
Profile PlaceholderMorten BrodersenSoftware Engineer
Paul MachacekPaul MachacekSoftware Engineer
Profile PlaceholderGraham SmithSoftware Engineer
Kieran ConnellKieran ConnellProgammer
Rhys LewisRhys LewisProgammer
Profile PlaceholderMark WilsonProgrammer
Kevin BaylissKevin BaylissArt Support
Steve MaylesSteve MaylesLead Artist
Ed BryanEd BryanArtist
Steven HurstSteven HurstEnvironment Artist
John NashJohn NashArtist
Chris PeilChris PeilArtist
Grant KirkhopeGrant KirkhopeComposer
Huw WardHuw WardTest Lead
Steven BrandSteven BrandRare Quality Assurance
Gareth GloverGareth GloverRare Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderGavin HoodRare Quality Assurance
Steve MalpassSteve MalpassRare Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderAdam MuntonRare Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderShaun ReadRare Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderJamie WilliamsRare Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderAndrew WilsonRare Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderDavid WongRare Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderTodd BuecheleNOA Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderDougall CampbellNOA Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderKyle CarlsonNOA Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderBrent ClearmanNOA Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderSean EganNOA Quality Assurance
William GieseWilliam GieseNOA Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderThomas HertzogNOA Quality Assurance
Michael KelbaughMichael KelbaughNOA Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderSara OsborneNOA Quality Assurance
Profile PlaceholderPatrick TaylorNOA Quality Assurance
Mario ClubSuper Mario ClubProduct Debug & Testing Unit
Profile PlaceholderSimon FarmerProduction Manager
Profile PlaceholderEileen HochbergProduction Support
Profile PlaceholderLeigh LovedayCreative Services (Manual)
Keisuke TerasakiLocalization Support
Masashi GotoMasashi GotoLocalization Support
Profile PlaceholderNaruhisa KawanoLocalization Support
Yasuhiro SakaiYasuhiro SakaiLocalization Support
Hisashi NogamiLocalization Support
Eveline NovakovicEveline NovakovicSound Effects
Profile PlaceholderLee RaySound Effects
Chris SeavorChris SeavorSound Effects
Ken LobbKen LobbSpecial Thanks
Hiroshi YamauchiHiroshi YamauchiSpecial Thanks
Minoru ArakawaMinoru ArakawaSpecial Thanks
Howard LincolnHoward LincolnSpecial Thanks
Mike FukudaManabu FukudaSpecial Thanks
Gail TildenSpecial Thanks
Joel HochbergJoel HochbergExecutive Producer
Tim StamperTim StamperExecutive Producer


Nintendo 64 (North American Release)

Nintendo 64 (Japanese Release)

Media & Promotional Material