Banjo-Kazooie’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate crossover is a major step for Nintendo and Xbox and it’s been a long time coming.

Nintendo and Xbox are getting jiggy with it, as Banjo-Kazooie finally returns!

I’ll admit it—I’ve watched Nintendo’s E3 2019 reveal trailer featuring Banjo-Kazooie joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate several dozen times. Seriously. After dreaming of this crossover since the original Super Smash Bros. released in 1999, the reality of this announcement still hasn’t sunk in. I think that sentiment is shared among everyone that has followed Smash in any meaningful way. It’s surreal to even consider a Microsoft-owned hero appearing in a Nintendo-made game.

On the surface, it appears that this bitter rivalry between Xbox and Nintendo has evolved into a close partnership. However, the truth is that both companies have long played in the sandbox together. We’ve seen Nintendo hire Rare (under Microsoft) to remake Diddy Kong Racing, and at one point there was even a Halo game in development for Nintendo DS. Things quieted down on these fronts after a while, but their return is indicative of much larger happenings between Xbox and Nintendo.

There have been rumours of what Microsoft and Nintendo’s future partnership may look like. Everything from Xbox Game Pass on Switch to a port of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Nintendo’s console has been discussed behind the scenes. Heck, we’ve even listed our dream list of Xbox games we hope to arrive on Nintendo Switch soon! Nothing official has emerged about Xbox’s big franchises like Halo, Gears and Forza, but it almost feels inevitable at this point.

There’s also be talks of Project xCloud, Microsoft’s upcoming game streaming technology, coming to Nintendo platforms. Minecraft has been joined by Cuphead and Hellblade on Switch, Banjo-Kazooie is joining Smash Ultimate, and more partnership deals will surely follow.

This once unfathomable partnership benefits Microsoft as it transitions its Xbox brand into a service. It could be years before these plans are fully realized, though, because we still don’t know whether xCloud will reliably work on today’s rather patchy internet—particularly in rural areas with slower speeds. Until xCloud is widely adopted, Xbox will likely continue porting its games to Switch to keep new Nintendo gamers engaged with the company’s IP. It’s a win-win for both parties, despite Nintendo appearing to have no intention to return the favour.

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Riley's Take

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Banjo-Kazooie crossing over to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a pipe dream’s pipe dream. I remember dreaming about this moment as an eight-year-old kid, and it’s surreal to finally see it happening. I believe it will lead to a sequel or remake of the Banjo-Kazooie franchise in time. For now, Xbox would be silly to not release the original titles on Switch sometime before the characters’ arrival as DLC in Ultimate this Fall.

I’m genuinely excited to see what else Microsoft and Nintendo have planned for the future. Will Master Chief join Smash Bros. next? Could versions of Gears of War and Forza Horizon release for Nintendo Switch? There is a lot up in the air as the next generation of gaming approaches, but one thing is certain: Banjo-Kazooie is finally back with Nintendo.

Damn, it feels good to type that.