Scribes - September 18, 2009 It's the stupid Rare letters page! Send us your mail! Those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me! Dear Mr Scribes, Scriber or whatever... Thanks for the remakes of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. I lost my N64 a while ago and this brings the memories back. OK, to my questions: 1) Will there be a remake of Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge as well? It's the only Banjo platformer that isn't out on the 360 yet. This would complete my collection of Banjo games. 2) Also, how about GoldenEye? I heard somewhere that Nintendo wants to put it on VC, and you want to put it on XBLA. Is this true? Could it be released on both platforms? Could an agreement be reached? 3) Finally, why did Bottles have to become evil? It's just ironic! How could the knower of all moves do that to them? I suppose you've had enough of these questions, well I'll give you a break... until next time. John John! How's your arm, John? Oh, I see Mr. Pants already did the Commando references. Damn his scrawny hide. 1) I doubt we'll see Grunty's Revenge on XBLA any time soon, or any of our other GBA releases, come to that. I could be wrong, but don't bet on it. Doesn't the GBA version cost about £1.25 these days? 2) That was some time ago, my friend. Fate was against us that day. Destiny conspired to raise the hurdles even as we attempted to clear them, resulting in unpleasant groinal injury. I suspect we're long past the stage where an agreement was on the cards, but you never know. Stranger things have happened... somewhere... probably. 3) It's about as ironic as Alanis Morissette singing about rain on your wedding day, although if it did rain on Alanis Morrisette's own personal wedding day I suppose that might qualify as ironic. And Bottles didn't really become evil, did he? Unless you desperately hate tourism officers. Dear little Scriblets, 1. I am not a detective by trade, but I've tried hard for many years to uncover the purpose of collecting Tribal heads in JFG (which would look quite flattering in hi-def, I reckon). Some say that they work the same as Drone heads in unlocking the basic cheats. Others say there never was a point to them other than making you feel awkward and depressed, while other theories state that collecting enough of them would bring you eternal life. Without any true answer, I look to you for guidance. Oh, and one other thing... 2. Turning into a pumpkin to fit into a toilet: whose idea was that? RedPlasma076 1) It's been a while... as far as I can remember the Tribal heads were originally meant to unlock something, but in the end they didn't. The whole cheat addition malarkey came in pretty late and by the time Ants into Pants was unveiled, frankly anything else would have been an anticlimax. So any reward obtained for beheading helpless furry Tribals with their big soulful eyes is ultimately included within the act itself. You horrible deviants. 2) Isn't that the first thing anyone thinks of when a pumpkin enters the equation? Dear Scribes, Love to see the console Banjo Trilogy on Xbox 360, but roll my eyes at every butchered Jamjars military rhyme... Just dive on in Chief o' the Scribes, I've got some stuff (kinda) worth replying to, no game demands, and it's mostly spelled riqht! C) Were there any ideas too stup– I mean "unusual" even for Cloud Cuckooland when you were carefully piecing it together for Banjo-Tooie? As strange as that level was, as far as I can see it's good enough a place as any to have introduced Mr. Fit... R) After feeding a Sherbat a Bluebell Flower, naming it "Sherbatman" and buying a crate to ship it to a buddy of mine, I went to Petula's to accessorize Sherbatman to look the part. A Robber's Mask & black Combat Boots were a good start, and I was certain that since the icon for Body Accessories was the image of a Sherbat's midsection decked out with a Super Hero Belt it would be buyable for MY Sherbat to properly finish the pun. NOPE. How'd this one slip under the radar? I mean, you're showing that Sherbat + Super Hero Belt is the EXAMPLE of Body Accessories, only to exempt players from getting that C-c-combo? Us Creatures of the Night won't boycott Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, but don't let something like this happen again. Sherbats don't dig false advertising. A) Quickie: In front of King Jingaling's Bingo Palace there are a pair of HUGE Bingo Balls with the numbers "11" & "44" on them. Why those #s? +1,000 cool points for getting them to make nice billiard ball *CLACK*s when you toss them around. P) Was there ever a time in the development of any game where Mr. Pants could've been a playable character? Mr. Pants would have handed Wizpig his arse single-handedly. Excellent job with Twitter by the way! A pinch of snarky & lovable Rare goodness everyday helps me forget there's no announced new Rare games at the moment. (Does that make up for having to wade through a paragraph about belt-wearing bats? No? Sorry.) Zenek C) Well, I did hear that the designers (by which I mean Gregg) had a tough time restraining themselves from fashioning many, many inappropriate things out of marshmallow. Which isn't strictly unusual in the sense of being unexpected, but still, you did ask. And Mr. Fit isn't all that strange in the context of the broader Banjo cast list. R) Clearly there's only one Super Sherbat. Anyone who reads comics knows what sort of trouble superhero impersonators can cause. So we decided to picture Super Sherbat as a source of inspiration, but stop short of allowing you to actually infringe upon his crimefighting turf. It makes perfect sense. A) Designer Shaun says: "Thanks for the cool points, I'll be sure to spend them wisely. As for the numbers on the Bingo balls, if you add the 1 and the 1, and the 4 and the 4 then add those two numbers together you get 10. Spooky, eh?" P) I'm not sure the bemused goodwill towards the Pantsman would extend to dev teams actively wasting time making him a playable character. Besides, not too many of our games have selectable characters in the first place, and even in the ones that do, he'd stick out like a sore 2D thumb. You're right though, he would have murdered Wizpig. Ta for the kind words on the Twitterage. We're trying, man. We're trying. But it's hard, when there's so much injustice and suffering in the world. All we can do is post a few arbitrary links and pictures of ducks every day to try and ease that suffering. Let's just hope it's enough. Grunty's new necromantic bra fails to improve either her witchy powers or her appearance Dear noblemen (and women) of the holy Scribes! How come in Nuts & Bolts multiplayer you can't be different characters? I mean making different vehicles is cool... But when I first saw images of what the game was gonna look like it looked like you could play as different characters.... : ( Boo hoo. Also, whatever happened to good ol' Dingpot? I thought it would've been cool if you could have the standard, strong, scuba, super AND Dingpot seats. Oh... and in the next one you make (hopefully not ten bloody years away) can you stick to the way you used to make them? I mean they were the best games I've ever played in my life, and to see games like that again with excellent 360 graphics would get 10/10 from all of us down under (that means Australia). Thanks and bye, Billy-Bob Oh, you want us to go back to platforming? That's an unusual request, Billy-Bob. Have you had that Angelina tattoo scrubbed off yet? Priorities, fella. N&B's Shaun chips in again: "The boring answer to only using Banjo in multiplayer is simply down to the size of the characters. To allow the player to control characters with such a size difference would have caused so many issues, we decided to keep it a Banjo-only zone. The more traditional Rare-style answer is that Banjo is such a prima donna he simply couldn't bear (sorry) to have any of the other characters stealing the limelight. It was a size problem, okay? "As you know, Dingpot appeared in the game as Grunty's seat. Banjo wouldn't dream of sitting in it after her warty backside had been in there. "Glad you enjoyed the original games. We felt it was time for a change, but who knows what the future holds..." Dear Scribes, Hey guys, first letter to Scribes, why haven't you guys made Conker available for the Marketplace? I mean, if it wouldn't be possible to put Reloaded up for sale, you could always make the N64 version available. Let's face it, you've done it for Banjo-Kazooie & Tooie, even went as far as to incorporate Stop 'N' Swap, is there any real reason why this hasn't been done? It's not too crude, GTA San Andreas is available and selling strong, this is what you guys need to revive Conker, and prep for a sequel! Everyone's always looking for new things to buy on the Marketplace, and it's great for those who missed out on Ol' Conker the first two runs through... If by any chance (it will) the Xbox or N64 versions are put up (make both? ^^'), include the stronger language. We are old enough for it. And we have ratings for a reason. Keep up the great work Rare, you guys are one of the few great game companies left. Thanks for the laughs Mr. Seavor & Mr. Beanland. Brian Marsh There's no single standout reason why these things haven't happened. Issues of cost, workload, predicted uptake and so on all combine to keep us focused on other projects for the time being; bringing back past glories for a new audience is all well and good, but we can't make it our primary goal. So will Conker (or any other Rare N64 game that hasn't yet resurfaced) appear on XBLA in the future? Possibly. Can we say for sure right now? No. Have we buried your favourite game because we think it smells of dog muck and we wish all its fans would fall off a building? No. And let's not dig up the whole Live & Uncut ohwaitit'sactuallymorecut situation again, shall we... Dear Rare, I have a few donkey kong questions i would like to ask you. 1.) Recently I have been playing though the dkc trilogy on the wiis vc and also donkey kong 64 on the n64 but since you left Nintendo I think donkey kong has lost his way after playing the terrible jet race I cant help but think how good donkey kong racing would have been if it was released you ever went back to Nintendo would you finish it? 2.) This probably is more of a question for Nintendo but my N64 is just about to give up the ghost and I was wondering why donkey kong 64 is not on the wiis vc yet I know jetpac makes an appearances in the game but that can't be the only thing holding it back. 3.) One last question what ever happened to Kiddy kong we have not seen him since dkc3 did Nintendo not like him. ResidentSteve Numbered list, distracting full stop/bracket antics and near-total absence of capitalisation and appropriate punctuation. I'm just saying. 1) I don't think there was ever all that much of Donkey Kong Racing; it's not as if we're talking tragically canned near-complete product here. And if Nintendo were desperate to see it finished they could have tapped someone else for the job. Would we seize the opportunity to finish it now? I dunno, isn't there a limit on the number of Kong-themed racers the market can sustain? 2) I have no idea why DK64 hasn't shown up yet, and whether Jetpac would still be in there or they'd replace it with Mario's Cement Factory (which ate about three years of my life as a child) or something. Or maybe a single-screen 2D shooty version of Jet Race would be more appropriate. Who knows? Not us, obviously, or we wouldn't be sitting here pitching clueless alternatives. 3) The very idea that anyone didn't like Kiddy Kong is just... well... moving on, I think the team just wanted a new cast for DK64, we haven't done a lot of work with the Kongs since then, and it's up to Nintendo which of the wacky monkey chums they want to bring back nowadays. Maybe you should start a petition, but then you've only got yourself to blame if Kiddy Kong makes an appearance rolling around like an idiot and ruining your yoga session in Wii Fit 2. Hello Scribes. So the general consensus is that Rare never developed a sequel to Blast Corps because 9/11 somehow made it politically incorrect to demolish old buildings, even if it's done to clear the path for a nuclear head to send it to a safe detonation site, thus ironically protecting the world from terrorism, not encouraging it. But we all know the general public is too stupid to grasp such a concept, and besides, you're from England, the headquarters of diplomacy and mindless PC bullcrap. I need some sleep, but I'd rather carry on daydreaming about a sequel to Blast Corps. I mean, seriously, just release it on XBLA or something if you're afraid it won't sell well (again, stupid public). Regards. Arthur PS. Do you still have any belongings of Grant Kirkhope since he left? Can you send me something that was touched by him, like his old coffee mug, or one of his synthesizers? I'm not a fetishist, I just believe in energy channeling... Is that really the general consensus? That's a stupid general consensus. The real reason we never developed a sequel to Blast Corps is that, you know, we can't develop sequels to every game we ever do. Although there were mutterings a while back... If I happen to stumble across the plastic arse that Grant traditionally wore on stage at our Xmas parties, I'll keep you in mind. Let's see you channel energy through that monstrosity. Hi There! Questions! That's all you'll be seeing: QUESTIONS! The least you can do is answer them, for interrupting my nail-clipping session with your English humour. And now for a change, I'll number them randomly (do you see how considerate I am?) 7) IS IT TRUE? IS GRANT KIRKHOPE ACTUALLY RESIGNING... or did he resigned? That's terrible news! (it's a sarcasm-free sentence...) I really loved his music and his 'hehe's from Scribes, he was like the less rude member of the staff when it came to answer a question... if he's still there, can he please answer this question and give some reasons (and a 'hehe')? So I can say 'I had a question answered by Mr. Kirkhope! Now I'll die happily!' 1) Since which game was the soundtrack orchestrated? Because the music from Mad Maze Maul seemed to me like from a synthesizer, as well as Hideout Helm's... 69) Wikipedia says your company has a media-shy nature... and it's true! Wouldn't you change that and tell us if you have any project under development for the DS? 0.000004) Nintendo is no longer using Donkey Kong for their games, what if you asked them for DK's rights peacefully, and maybe they would give them to you in gift wrap? Sounds highly probable... -24) That would be all... Will you answer to my desperate questions? Fantino 7) Kirky-boy left the building (more specifically the music department) some time ago, followed more recently by Burkey-boy. They just decided it was time to leave, we didn't lock them in an underground car park with a load of violent tramps or anything. Grant was less rude? Less rude than who? Me? Damn your eyes. 1) I don't think we started recording soundtracks with an orchestra until the 360 era. Kameo is the first that springs to mind. There wasn't much point until we had a console with sound capabilities advanced enough to properly showcase the differences. 69) If we were shy I wouldn't feel comfortable calling you a bumface in public, bumface. Alright, we've traditionally been a bit media-shy, but we're slowly veering away from that. We still haven't got anything DS-related to blurt out though. 0.000004) Have you been studying the intricacies of the modern business world again? Anyway, DK's still going strong in Nintendo's regular multi-mascot games. -24) I'm answering to them as we speak. Also, -24 sounds like a brilliant pitch for a show about a maverick special agent who travels back in time to save his daughter from harassment by terrorists/survivalists/mountain lions, or a crack team of all three. Dear Scribes, I'm starting to enjoy the little off-topic questions from people on here, so I decided to ask a couple of my own. 1. Are you guys at Twycross good friends? Do you guys eat out together? Are there specific members of the team that you're close to? I imagine sitting in chairs a large part of the day would seem a tad monotonous, especially without someone to at least poke fun at. 3. Are you in particular stationed at the studio? If so, how is it possible for certain projects to be hidden from you or other members? Is there just an "I solemnly swear..." oath taken amongst the developers? Or am I entirely wrong? 4. I'm not sure if someone has asked you this already, but what's your favorite and least favorite Rare title? Yes, you have to answer the second part of the question too! 6. Is there always that little "nitpicking" about other games from other developers? It would seem logical if Halo would be the source of some of this, considering how cliché it is (you know... the moon jumps, 100% sensitivity, small maps, extraterrestrial interactions). Perhaps such games are a popular hit there, but there's bound to be something you guys sneer at. Anything in particular? 7. So how was Elvis so fortunate to have been named after a little alien cast in one of the most prominent shooters in history? Oh wait, maybe I worded that wrong. 9. Believe it or not, club music is comprised of a huge catalogue of tracks which are mostly produced in your country. Do artists like Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, Markus Schulz, Airwave and Armin Van Buuren sound familiar? If you are familiar with the scene, what are some of your favorite producers? 10. Last but not least, I saved you the easiest question! In fact, you could just call up one of the devs to answer this one. I knew I was going to have to word it correctly though, because you might just skip it altogether (means it's so simple). Here it goes... uhm... 'ahem' uhhhh... so when is the next Perfect Dark coming out? Anytime soon? Eli Davies Random question removal time! Rein it in a bit next time, Davies, there are plenty of other people lining up to have their own questions slyly avoided. Let's see what's left. 1) There are between 150 and 200 of us these days, so all of us hanging out together would take a bit of logistical planning. Of course we all have our own friends and colleagues, and of course we all indulge in the traditional British pastime of cheerfully slagging each other off whenever possible. And don't knock sitting in a chair all day, man. 3) Development at Rare HQ takes place in five separate buildings, not all of which are accessible to all employees, for many reasons including confidentiality. It's not as clear-cut as 'everyone gets to see everything whenever they like'. 4) Straw poll! Let's get us a nice spread of answers. Designer Shaun: "I'll go with Blast Corps as my favourite and... err, KI as my least, purely 'cos I hate scrappers..." Artist Gav: "Favourite would be Jetpac (original, which scored bonus points for 'SPECTRUM CARTRIDGE!'). Hmm, I don't truly hate any with my official hat on, but of course Star Fox Adventures technically stole most of my life..." Community rep Mike: "Favourite has to be GoldenEye – wasted way too much time playing four-player split-screen, so much in fact that it almost made my brother fail his GCSEs. Least favourite – I'm not that stupid, I like working here, well, the time not spent playing Banjo-Tooie anyway... damn it." Musician Robin: "Favourite: the BAFTA-winning ;) Conker's Bad Fur Day, least favourite: Ken Griffey or whatever it was." 6) Again, we're a big company, we all have our likes and dislikes, it's not as if we can (or would particularly want to) come to a consensus on a single game and publicly declare it to be a load of old bumcakes. And there are more deserving targets than Halo, you sassy young stirrer. 7) Obviously Mr. and Mrs. Presley invented time travel, went forward to Chicago in 2023 and were so struck by their experiences that when they came back they named their son Elvis. Or maybe they took Elvis the alien back with them and they are actually THE SAME PERSON. 9) I don't know which aspect of any given Rare game (Rock Solid/Big Bug Fun Club aside) led you to ask us this question, but, er... not really, no. 10) This winter on XBLA okthxbye. Dear Scribes, You've probably been asked this many times before but I'm much too lazy to check all the past mailbags. Any chance of having a remake of Solar Jetman (back from the NES) on Xbox Live Arcade? Considering it was only published by Nintendo out in Europe...? Also, Captain Skyhawk would be nice too. I loved those games, and my NES doesn't work too well these days. Even with the Game Genie. And if this game ever were released, some kind of unlimited lives would be a must for it. Andrew PS. Please answer for real if it is maybe possible one day and just hasn't been done, or if there are too many legal hurdles? A lot of the stuff that Rare developed in the late '80s and early '90s is murky in terms of ownership, so it's difficult to pick out individual titles and say "definitely 100% ours". If we really had our hearts set on bringing one of them back, we'd have to jump through those hoops as and when they came hulaing perilously into our faces. Until then, we can't really give you an answer. Having said that, original IP like Captain Skyhawk and the games featuring Jetman would be riper for revisiting than any of the licensed stuff. This is also another fine opening for stalwart programmer Brendan to relive the olden days: "I do have a soft spot for Captain Skyhawk because it was my first published game, and it's the only one for which I've received any fan mail. On the other hand, it didn't exactly set the world alight sales-wise, and I never really liked the name. "For me, the biggest hurdle for this is simply that it doesn't fit with Rare's current direction. We're almost entirely focused on Natal for game control. Can you imagine playing Captain Skyhawk with your hands outstretched, pretending to be the plane? Shouting 'Neeeoouuurrrggghhh' to do a barrel roll, and yelling 'da da da da' to shoot? Hang on... that gives me an idea! "I won't say it'll never happen, but sadly I bet it'll never happen." Dear Scribes, You've probably gotten messages like this before but, will the Conker games ever come back? I mean maaan, Conker's Bad Fur Day was the funniest game ever created! Now that people know who Conker is and his popularity has grown since it was first released in 2001, you'll be laughin' all the way to the bank it would sell so well! YEH, MORE SPONDULI! I understand Conker's Other Bad Fur Day was going to be released but Microsoft stopped it. But can't you still make SOME type of Conker game. The end cutscene of Conker's BFD kinda sorta hinted a sequel. Well I hope you guys find a way to make more Conker! :D NarfYakko94 "You've probably been asked this before" – it's the latest craze! All the kids are doing it, or at least the last two. You make it sound like a new Conker game was all but finished and then Microsoft ran in screaming and shot everyone who was working on it. Obviously things are never quite that abrupt. There may be more Conker in the future or there may not, we appreciate the enthusiasm but one of the drawbacks of having 20-odd years of IP is that everyone wants different things from us. Hello, Scribes-Guy! A few years ago (seems like it) you posted two, yes two, pictures of the stairs in your office. Me and my friends enjoyed the amazing hours that we spent debating if you took the picture from the top or the bottom. Would you kindly bless me with the glory of another brain-twisting riddle of the Scribes Stairs? Because to be frank, I thought more about that than that SnS rubbage in Banjo-Kazooie! Now on to the point... I am one of those few people who can look back to your two launch titles on the 360 and say "I like that one a lot." And not PDZ. FPS games were never my strong point. I mean Kameo! I might be the only, or last fan who likes the game still, even though its plot had the potential to be great. I mean Feature Length Movie Great! But that aside, I think I'm the first person to put up more of the game's gameplay than any other YouTube account combined, not counting the 300 copies of the trailer... And now about Banjo-Kazooie N&B... How do you guys call it? Kazooie and Tooie were simple, BK and BT. But how is Nuts and Bolts? NAB? N&B? n&b? Has the team been impressed by how some of the players have beaten challenges? I made a huge walkthrough of the challenges, even a guide for all the notes, and LOG's Lost, too. Only a few days ago did a friend alert me to a really simple and funny way to outsmart Pikelet in his Sumo challenges. So, have the game designers been outsmarted by the fans in their own game? That's all pretty much. I'd like to close with these comments... *Piddles in NaB has so much potential, I am really disappointed in how she wasn't used much, at all. Maybe a plot twist, maybe comedic relief, but... just wasted potential. *The same for L.O.G. I mean, the God of games messes with a fattie and a skull from duking it out, yet he remained neutral. WASTED PLOT-ness. He should have had the desire to kill both BK and G in the end, but... horrible. Please don't use the concept of an all-knowing deity without having him blow stuff up... *Kameo Two please, and make it more like a movie :) Wkw427 The stairs weren't actually in my office, let's be clear. That would be insane. They were outside my office. I've been on the ground floor for a couple of years since then but I'm now back up in the Tower of Power, at the opposite end to those stairs, next to a lift. Maybe I'll get you a picture of that, if you promise not to spend hours discussing it with people. I like your use of the word 'rubbage'. I fixed the other typos but decided to leave that one. Shaun says: "Believe me, the game's designers were outsmarted within days of the game's launch! The level of ingenuity and invention shown by many players simply blew us away. "Don't tell me you missed the secret chapter where L.O.G. and Piddles lay waste to Showdown Town with that 50 megaton nuclear warhead? "Go and play through the game again, I think all of your prayers will be answered..." Here's that picture of the lift. Pretty crazy. Any day becomes a special day with a close-up of Mr. Ribs Hello, You probably don't hear this very often (and if you do I'm sorry) but I would like for the team behind Grabbed By The Ghoulies to seriously reconsider either a remake or a sequel. I greatly enjoyed the game and am a big fan of it. I really have no means of obtaining the game and having enjoyed it soo much as opposed to people who loved it soo little I would really like to see something happen to the franchise to change people's minds. Please consider my idea I would really like to see Mr. Ribs back in action. Nuclearapplepie But of course we hear this all the time! People are highly passionate about Ghoulies! Why, it wasn't so very long ago that I got verbally abused on Twitter for joking about canning an imaginary Ghoulies II project. Realistically: it's unlikely, at least in the foreseeable future. It's all about broadening the market nowadays, and the first Ghoulies didn't do too much of that. But we will keep your plea in mind, along with the 90-page sequel pitch from that French fella the other week. That's right – 90 pages. Hullo thar non-worshipable gods, I was playing Perfect Dark to get extra hyped for the XBLA edition of it and I was messing around with the Combat Simulator and the customizable characters. I noticed two heads – one looked like Grant Kirkhope and the other looked like Robin Beanland. Was this intentional? Also, YOU GUYS ARE WORKING ON A PERFECT DARK SEQUEL! On some Perfect Dark XBLA description, you said "and this is only the beginning of the latest conspiracy..." YAY. I love you guys. Gregg the most. LOL. Matt the B-K Mastah I noticed people were getting all worked up over that line. Well, I wrote the ruddy thing and I can assure you that it just meant the beginning of the conspiracy that forms the Perfect Dark storyline. Doesn't mean there'll never be a PD sequel, but that particular line is far from watertight as evidence goes. Loads of Rare staffers, journalists, reps etc. got their faces scanned into Perfect Dark back in the day. The XBLA version updates the roster with several new ones. PD veteran Jon adds: "Yep, you could well have seen them, I believe the heads of both Grant and Robin were in the original. There were numerous faces of Rare employees added to the game at various points in development, so throughout the entire game you would most likely be looking at the heads of the team members and also some from the canteen staff and testing department." Dear Leighypie, The first and only time I ever saw a copy of It's Mr. Pants, I naturally snagged it. I enjoyed it so much that I'll reward you with a numbered list: 1) What's the point of the Puzzle mode high score list? There doesn't seem to be a way to get your name on it. 2) Is the line "we are to blame for this" when you choose to view the credits a reference to It's Mr. Pants 2001? Why am I asking this, you all probably forgot. 3) What on Earth is Mr. Pants saying when you select Marathon mode? "Better get it"? "Peddler get hit"? 4) Enough about It's Mr. Pants. In Area 51 of Perfect Dark, there is a ventilation tunnel in the ceiling that ends with a tiny wall with a keyhole in it. This is only visible with the FarSight, and the All Weapons cheat (which I earned, mind) does not give you the Slayer to fly up there. Similar to the question marks and unobtainable ammo boxes in some multiplayer maps, was this really included solely to mess with people's heads, or were they, like the cheese, planned secrets that simply turned into pointless easter eggs? I MUST KNOW. 5) I made you an RPA so I'd get a reply. A fan of your homepage since 1998, LM Nobody from the It's Mr. Pants team was available for/willing to comment, but after your bold work on attempting to resurrect the RPA tradition I felt you at least deserved something, so I fired up my own copy of the game and came to the following conclusions. 1) Not sure. Number of puzzles completed? Maybe not, if you've already unlocked the credits. I'll try the team again. Response: "It's a puzzle, they should work it out." Oh. 2) I expect the developers were just downplaying the honour of being involved in such a prestigious project. 9/10 from Eurogamer! Never forget! 3) "Better get fit", surely? 4) This one's not for me to say, so here are the recollections of PD art fella Jon: "While we were all working late nights, one of our designers Jamie thought it would be a neat idea to place some 'Easter eggs' about the place – much like another guy did with the cheese. I can confirm that yes, sadly the Keyhole shape is just like the Question Mark and Ammo crates, they are all simply extra geometry in the level which initially slipped through testing and made it into the build of the game. They all have no purpose other than to confuse people and cause no end of speculation – normally Ammo crates and anything interactive would be added into the level via an editor, so because these items are in the actual background geometry they cannot be interacted with other than by looking at them. However I would urge those players who know where to find them to check out the XBLA version to see whether any of these 'Easter eggs' make a return or not!" Dear Scribes, I'm gonna skip the part where I tell you how awesome your stuff is to save time and make this seem smaller. Questions (because everyone loves questions): 1. Are you upset that Nintendo didn't ask to put Banjo or Conker in Smash Bros on the 64? 2. The songs that play on the MP3 on your site are awesome where can I get em? 3. If it were purely up to you who would you develop for, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft or all of the previous? 4. The new Banjo game was wildly different, any plans to make a more traditional style one? 5. How is it that you got away with more on the N64 version of Conker and so much less on the Xbox? I thought the Xbox was supposedly "edgier". Last one I promise: Capcom always makes VS fighting games, they've done so many (Marvel, SNK, Tatsunoko, Namco), any chance for a RareWare VS Capcom game? Thank you and I look forward to some British style humor. smashbrother29 1) Well, it was hardly surprising: Conker had only appeared in DKR at that point and Banjo-Kazooie was in development at the same time as Smashy. Memory tells me there were almost a boatload of Rare character trophies in Melee at one point, but it never happened. 2) Er... from the MP3 Downloads section? 3) Ha ha, nice one. 4) I'll magically answer this in point 4 of the next letter. It's almost as if these things are cunningly planned, or the emails are all made up on the spot. 5) Yes, it supposedly was. But then, at least for the purposes of swearing animals, it wasn't. British style humour: whoops vicar! Pull your trousers up before my husband gets home – oh no, the deckchair has collapsed and you've sat on a cake. Greetings, Oh Second Rate Game Developer, Before I get to the questions, I first wanted to say that I think N&B was brilliant. There, I said it. Now I'm sure you want to read my questions by this point, but because I'm such a prat, I'm going to keep you in suspense for a little while longer. (Twiddles thumbs and whistles a merry tune for an annoyingly extensive amount of time.) I think I've kept you in suspense long enough. For my first question, I wanted to ask whether your were still supporting N&B with DLC. I thought L.O.G.'s Lost Challenges was great, but was disappointed when I discovered there were no additional vehicle parts packed into the dowload. Also, I want to know what you guys think of Project Natal. Thanks for reading (and possibly answering on Scribes) my questions! Typed with absolute respect by Victor 'Second rate', is it? What kind of a plan is that, calling a developer 'second rate' in your opening gambit and expecting them to print your letter? Oh. Shaun responds to various individual words/points... Brilliant: "Cool! We thought it was too! :)" DLC: "Sorry, no current plans for further Banjo DLC, we're far too busy on new, uber-cool projects." Natal: "Project Natal... hmmm." Suspense: "And the suspense continues!" Bumgrapes: alright, so you didn't write 'bumgrapes'. Hi Scribes, I will try and make this quick. You can't quit Nintendo DS. The 360 has produced some good games but the hardware issues suck. I heard people chatting about your handheld team closing down. I have some interesting evidence from just last month that fires against this. Just after Banjo-Tooie launched on XBLA, my mum asked someone showing off the Wii a question. He is a guy from Nintendo. The question was when we're going to see Donkey Kong 64 for Virtual Console. He claims it is being made for DS. Is this true? Obviously it would be a nice surprise to see it for DS. Adding Wi-Fi to the multiplayer is pure genius. But it also raises an interesting question. Does this mean you haven't quit DS as people are claiming? You can't just abandon the console. If DK64 is coming our way, as a fan I have to say I love you guys! But what else are you planning? So far we only have two and that is not enough. They're both great games but I have three requests of my own. 1. Banjo-Tooie, reason: My 360 is set to die very soon. I just got the game back and already it's choosing to break. Please make this on the DS. 2. Kameo, reason: Interesting that Shane Kim from Microsoft talks about Kameo or Piñata on DS only for Piñata to happen a few months later. Is the other one doable? Give it a try. You know this makes sense. 3. Jet Force "frickin" Gemini, reason: OK come on, this ain't fair. Where's the love for some Jet Force on DS? Come on Rare, I love this game and never got a chance to finish it. I haven't heard anything about a rerelease except someone did claim it was part of your GoldenEye XBLA deal. Apparently it was set for a rerelease on VC. The reason I say DS for this is so I can play it on the go. Thank you for reading. I was kicked in the nuts to hear JFG was scheduled for a rerelease only to NEVER happen. It's the gamers that suffer here. Please rerelease this game. You must. I will no longer cry if you make these games reality. If DK64 is being made for the DS I say quit stalling and give it us. It will be rereleased one day anyway but I never expected DS as a possiblity. I want at least two more DS games before you quit the handheld so please think about it? Quitting the handheld would be gobsmacking! Please stay! Colin Tosh If DK64 is being made for DS, this is the first we've heard about it. Are you sure that the man showing off the Wii wasn't just a tramp who'd mugged a Nintendo rep and stolen his clothes and badge? Similarly, there was never any solid word on JFG being lined up for XBLA release. "Part of our GoldenEye XBLA deal"? Where's this stuff coming from? JFG on XBLA could happen one day, but at the moment there's no call for you to go around feeling betrayed because someone said it would and then it didn't. Because that never happened. And while Shane Kim did mention Kameo and Piñata at one point, an example isn't a guarantee. I don't think it's fair to assume that we've permanently quit DS development, but yes, we are focusing on other things at the moment. Natal is a pretty big deal and needs a lot of attention. Speaking of which... Good afternoon, Mr. Loveday. It's been a while since I've sent a letter (or rather, it's been a while since I've sent a letter that merited a response), which is why I have a burning question unrelated to the burning questions of the Pantsboard. Project Natal. Shane Kim confirmed that Rare would be developing titles with the Natal in mind. Now, I know that asking what projects you guys are working on is an utterly silly prospect, but I do have this question: will your future Natal-implemented titles still implement the Xbox 360 controller if it's possible to use it within good reason? If there's one thing that gamers like in games, it's choice. For context's sake, I'm referring to choice in control schemes. Pocket Paradise is a perfect example of this: you can move around the garden with the stylus if you're feeling adventurous, but you can also use the Control Pad if you wish. In this new world of motion controlling and using the touch screen to play games, it's still nice to know that developers still recognize that there are gamers out there who wish to use their controllers as well. It'd make me very happy to know that you guys have this in mind, and that one day down the line, gamers can not only use Project Natal to move puzzle blocks around in It's Mr. Pants for the Xbox Live Arcade (I can dream), but can also use their controllers to do so if they wish. May the Pants bless Rare, Mark "darkmark8" Mazzei Let's give designer Chris a go at this one. He is, quite literally, champing at the bit, and not just because we've dressed him up as a pantomime horse and given him rabies. "You're quite correct; asking exactly what we're up to now would be nothing short of madness. MADNESS, Mazzei! Your other question's a bit trickier, and I think it's one that will answer itself over time once people start to see just how wide the opportunities afforded by Natal actually are. We're talking about technology that allows us to make new types of experiences, things that people haven't played before and probably haven't even considered yet. Who, in an industry as creative as this one, wouldn't want to take full advantage of those opportunities? "When I look at even the simplest examples of what Natal can do – for instance, what the press liked to refer to as the '3D breakout demo' shown at E3 – it would be tremendously difficult to take the fluidity and immersion of moving just one hand around in a 3D world and shackle it to the controller, let alone all four limbs at once! Even if you did, it'd be cumbersome, counter-intuitive and not very much fun. "I think, in fact, you're going to see the reverse of what you suggest. Studios working on games with traditional controls will be tripping over themselves to integrate Natal support into their titles and build from there, not in the hopes of jumping on a bandwagon but out of a genuine desire to make better, fresher games that can be enjoyed by a wider variety of people. This doesn't mean your favourite series are suddenly going to become dumbed-down, shallow or exhausting to play – the same people that worked on them all along have simply been given a bigger canvas with which to create. That's great for us, great for gamers, and it's going to be great for a whole new audience of people who can finally get in on the fun. Stay tuned." Jo prepares to shoot up any forum where they're complaining about her proportions Dear Scribes, Just a quick question now that I hear PD64 is [finally] coming to Arcade (Day One, here :D)... I remember seeing old old videos where Joanna would hold her weapons (dual Falcons) palms-up, facing out... another scene where she held them up to her face covering the view... and another where she would hold them up to the sides of the screen. Of course, in the final game, rather coolly the Falcon would twist when you got close to someone, so you could pop 'em gangsta style... but what I'd like to know is what some of the other uses were? Perhaps holding them up to your face was an on-paper idea that sounded good until implemented, but what about holding them up to the sides? That looked really cool actually... was this for sprinting maybe? What use did these have? Yours Perhaps-Too-Curiously, Martin Badowsky Let's go back to art fella Jon with this one. Because he's one of our few remaining original PD team members, and he actually remembers stuff. "Early on in development there were indeed many different ways of holding the guns that the team tried out. Some of the positions you may have seen were on a very early build and as such we were still experimenting with new and interesting techniques. It was a programmer called Beau who settled on the gangster twist style for close-ups – initially the pose up by the side of the head was a team favourite, but I believe there wasn't time to make the system work for all weapon types so it was removed to prevent confusion between the guns that did it and those that didn't. There were also some lag issues if you needed to fire instantly and the gun was up by the face and had to transition down again before you could fire. So although it was very cool visually, sadly it wasn't fully implemented in time to make it through to release." (Insert clever greeting here) I'm glad to say that Rareware is by far one of the greatest video game companies to ever have existed, and I'm glad you guys still haven't lost your touch even with the big move from Nintendo to Microsoft, I honestly don't see why everyone is whining about that still. But enough arsekissing, I've got a few questions in the back of my mind I'd like to ask you right now. (Yes it's a number list with a few sequel questions, don't whine.) 1. What is the possibility of a new Kameo? That is by far my favorite Xbox 360 game along with Viva Piñata and Halo 3, and I heard it sold pretty well. What I'd give to fly across the Badlands, or quite possibly some new lands as Kameo changing into new Warriors and killing more trolls... but wait, the trolls are supposedly "history" at the end of the game. Looks like I've written myself into a corner. Still, what do you think the chances are of a new game? 2. WHY THE HELL DID WE NOT GET TO SEE KAMEO AND KALUS GET INTO A BIG CATFIGHT AT THE END OF THE GAME?!?! THATS WHAT THE BUILD UP OF THE ENTIRE GAME WAS ANYWAYS AND YOU KNOW IT!!! 3. Whew, sorry about that last one. Anyways, my friends and I really like the Conker games, especially the original on N64, which is probably my favorite game of all time, not that the Xbox one was bad, it just wasn't quite as good. But I think a sequel to Bad Fur Day or Live & Reloaded would kick arse and sell pretty well. Have you guys considered it? 4. I know a lot of people bitch all the time at you guys for making Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts a vehicle game, and I have to ask, was it really not a good decision in your opinion to just make another platformer? (Dammit, this probably won't get answered now.) I mean I saw in interviews that you guys wanted to make it a vehicle game to make Banjo change with the times and be original, but I don't think it was that necessary. Just look at Mario, his new games aren't completely original yet they add some new things in and they're still awesome. But oh well, I'll be lucky if this even gets on Scribes anyways. Still, thank you Rare for kicking so much arse in every humanly possible way, and for hopefully continuing to kick arse even more in the future. James I bet Chris from the Kameo design task force would love to jump back in and have a pop at the first two: "1) A wise man once said 'there are always possibilities', but we haven't got anything to announce regarding a new Kameo (or, indeed, a new anything else) at the moment. As for the Trolls – well, they're not as stupid as the Elves like to tell themselves, and although Thorn himself is trapped on the ocean floor there's bound to be someone eager to take his place... "2) If you're really desperate to see Kameo and Kalus having a scrap I suggest you download the Expert Mode DLC from the Marketplace. When you get to the Airship level you'll find Kalus popping up frequently to lay the smack down on her more popular sibling – it's like EastEnders, except TEN MILLION times better." 3) Looks like all the Conker nuts (do you see) are out today. "Favourite game of all time" is pretty high praise, so thanks for that, and pass on our regards to Jesse and Meowth as well. Sequel? Maybe one day. Not sure there's really much of a demand to make Bad Fur Day available for a third time, but the libertine rodent hasn't officially retired just yet. 4) Point taken, and everyone's entitled to an opinion, but by now this argument is just spinning its wheels. Those who wanted a straight platformer aren't going to be swayed by our reasons for branching out, and that's fine, we realise there are plenty of people in that camp, but it's pointless for us to continually present the same justifications to those who don't accept or don't want to hear them. Will feedback along these lines affect the direction of future Banjo games? Maybe. I'll warn you now, it is possible that the next Banjo game will be an XBLA dating simulator just to be awkward. Dear Scribes, Only one, multifaceted, question: Will Rare ever look to: a: Re-release the old 8-bit games in a compilation (Sabre Wulf, Alien 8, Jetpac, Knight Lore etc...) for us retro gamers to play on our shiny XB360s? b: Re-release the old 8 bit games separately (Sabre Wulf, Alien 8, Jetpac, Knight Lore etc...) with enhanced graphics and gameplay to play on our shiny etc. etc. etc... c: Print my email and respond? d: Edit this line out? Matt As a fellow oldie Spectrum gamer whose first 'proper' game was Jetpac (or maybe Manic Miner, or possibly Scuba Dive) I support the sentiment on a knee-jerk fanboy level, but in a purely financial sense... well, not so sure. Obviously I don't make the business decisions so never say never, but don't hold your breath. God, that's all I seem to be saying since I started answering/bodyswerving this latest load of questions. At the very least, we're more likely to re-release Knight Lore than Scuba Dive. But that's because Durell made Scuba Dive. G'day again, fantastico Scribers. You may remember me as the nutter who first sent you a VP letter about more romping room and then a rather overexcited note upon getting the Banjo question right. (Y'know, the one for the wallpaper that seconds after got posted on one of the forums I belong to. Modern kids, eh?) I guess the first thing is that the new VP is near perfect (gives VP people thumbs up) and the extra amount of scenery is a nice change. I also finally got Banjo NaB and I have to say, I can't understand what the gripe is. The vehicle editor is hours of fun, the levels are huge, Showdown Town keeps throwing hidden platforming bits at you and the art is absolutely gorgeous to boot. I think I only have one gripe about it – see, the game lacked one thing that could have made it immensely epic and would have left me a very happy man. That was the fact that there were only, to an extent, two bosses. Sure, there are plenty of Grunty challenges but they hardly felt like tactical bosses, just... more challenges. I honestly had the best time trying to fight Mr Patch in both his incarnations, and I couldn't understand why there weren't more. I would have loved the bosses to appear in hidden parts of Showdown Town to unlock extra parts or districts or even the worlds themselves, just to make things have a little bit more story to them (Grunty's cheating by sending minions into Showdown Town? Say it ain't so!) and to also add more characters, perhaps. So I guess my question is what was up with that? Were there any bosses we didn't know about? And why only those two? And do you think you'll be going back to boss fights at all in any future installments or is it pure challenges from now on? Apart from that, I'm very content at the direction that Rare has taken their franchises into and really, really hope that the next game, whatever it my be, is extremely awesome. I still think that my Rare games will keep me perfectly happy till the next one, so consider yourselves to have actually pleased a longtime fan with your vehicular-based exploits. Jiggys for all! Will I'm not sure how to react to this. You're... completely happy? Apart from the boss thing, you have no complaints whatsoever? What's the catch? I'm going down to make sure there's nobody standing in reception with the cold dead eyes of a killer. I'll hand you over to Shaun from the N&B team in the meantime. "Hi Will, so glad you liked the game... we're pretty happy with it too! As for your question about bosses, I guess that depends on your exact interpretation of what makes a boss. Yeah, we had Mr Patch in the game and I guess he's what you'd describe as a more traditional-style boss. However, as with most things in Nuts & Bolts, we tried whenever possible to stray away from tradition. Grunty appeared on each level in some outlandish vehicle that basically took the form of a boss fight. Also, let's not forget that in the final showdown on Spiral Mountain she actually pilots not one but FIVE different boss vehicles! Besides, at the end of a project the 'B' word is always a touchy subject on the team, we try to avoid it as much as possible!" Couldn't see anything too suspicious downstairs. But I pushed the receptionist into a cupboard and incapacitated a couple of deliverymen with a chair just to be on the safe side. Honoured Scribes, I have a request regarding the release of Perfect Dark on Xbox Live Arcade. I'll keep this short, or you'll be adding so much new content you'll delay the game by four years and call it Perfect Dark 2. I would like to be able to listen to all of the awesome soundtracks in the game, while hooked up to the Combat Simulator. The soundtrack menu is missing the final boss soundtrack, and several others that would be cool to listen to. I believe this would be such a simple change for 4J Studios to make, that even a Breegull could do it. Thanks in advance, Krijy Of course, it's not quite that simple: as far as I know 4J aren't in a position to make changes to most of the original code, so soundtrack availability update shenanigans probably won't happen. However, if I'm being naive and it's easier than I think, then using keywords supplied by some other random correspondents on this page I would also like to request the addition of Bat out of Hell, the pomptastic theme from Falcon Crest and the song from this classic 1980s Marathon advert (not too sure about that tagline though). Snippets Is there any plans to make a Conker 2 or Conker 1 completly uncencerd on Xbox Live. Could you please e-mail me back PS: is there any way I can get a copy of Conker 2 a week or 2 before it comes out thank you bmwmoody sory no plans for conker 2 or uncencerd conker 1 but we can do betar than replyin we can show ur mesage to teh hole intarnet Seriously. I've been waiting ten years now. Can I please have TND in a 64 cartridge now? FLEABttn Ah, happy days. I remember, even if 99% of our other readers don't. You guys should make a British pop themed survival horror and name it Dead Spice. It would sell like hell. Easy V I'd be more inclined to witness the Sugababes destroyed by a howling infected mob myself, but that's just me. I, along with maybe 2 other people liked the new Banjo game for what it is rather then what I expected, or a new installment in the series. I also liked the soundtrack but am sad that I can't find it in a store, so is the soundtrack only avaible online or am I not looking hard enough? Deadlinejon If by "only online" you mean "physical CD only available from online shops like Amazon", then yes, probably. Killer Instinct WILL be Ultra Comboing its way to the 'Box in a subjectively short period of time. Don't let reality cloud your judgement. Easy V You again? If you say so. I think I've met your cousin, Slightly More Complicated W. I was just wondering, I am as I am sure that many are a very big fan of Killer Instinct......Will you by any chance develop a version for the PS3??? Tytanrdpit If we mutiny, overthrow management, break away from MGS, join Sony and bring KI3 to PS3, then will you leave us alone? I was wondering, is there any chance Conker: Live and Reloaded will be released as Xbox Original on the Xbox 360 Marketplace? Keep up the good work and achieve the status of a god (which means you guys are great). Greetings from Holland. Owen Hoogenboezem I think we've already answered this, but your name alone earned you a place on the page. Can you direct me to the nearest soda machine? I'm really thirsty. I am about to die. Bonk. Cloud8745 There's one just downstairs – fetch us up a Diet Coke. Wait, did you just die? That was damned inconsiderate. Scribes - September 18, 2009