Rare talks long games, also reveals storyline for Nuts & Bolts

Rare famously made a gigantic collect-a-thon out of its previous Banjo-Kazooie games, but has decided that more of that might be bad for business, as people these days aren’t fans of such lengthy affairs.

“I guess people are now less tolerant of really, really long games,” states head of design Gregg Mayles. “Or if you’re going to have a really long game it has to be structured in such a way that the majority of the players play the game up to a certain point and are happy with it, but that section is shorter and then make sure the tail-end of the game suits the people that want to carry on.”

Mayles believes that “the trick is not forcing everybody to play it for a colossal amount of time. So if people want to try and complete it in like 20 to 30 hours that’s fine. If people want to then carry on, that’s fine.” At any rate, it seems that Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts won’t be as huge an affair as its prequels, but should have enough optional content to satisfy the dedicated set. 

In addition, full details on the game’s story have surfaced. You can read the full synopsis after the jump. All I will say is that the potential promise of online lego vehicle combat has me all hot and flustered. I don’t care what the cynics think.

Build a better bear car – It’s Honey Bear and Breegull time again! Join them as they take to the sky, sea and land to save Spiral Mountain…It’s been a long time coming, but Banjo and Kazooie are back in action – and so, to their exasperation, is dedicated arch-foe Gruntilda. The stakes have been raised, and Grunty’s out to redevelop Spiral Mountain into tower blocks and shopping malls. Banjo and Kazooie’s future is on the line!

Tired of the feuding between bear, bird and witch, a new player has stepped in: the mysterious Lord of Games (LOG), said to have been involved in creating every videogame ever released. He whisks the rivals away to his creative HQ in Showdown Town, and into an elaborate series of challenges held within his hand-made worlds. The winner gets the ownership deeds to Spiral Mountain, the loser an eternity of toil in LOG’s videogame factory. The game is on!

However, things are a bit different this time around. The core gameplay mechanic – and the method by which worlds are traversed, challenges tackled and progress made – is the creation and customisation of vehicles, using components found, bought and won throughout Showdown Town. From wheels and weapons to springs and wings, all of which can be combined in any number and style, there’s a staggering level of experimentation and personalisation for those willing to dabble. If you can imagine it, you can probably build it. But any adventurer with less confidence, experience or time on their hands can still jump in and take on the game with a pre-built range of vehicles. The Lord of Games might be heavy-handed, but he’s big on equal opportunities.

However, it’s not all change in Banjo-Kazooie country, as Banjo will still compete for Jiggies to unlock new destinations and hoard the musical notes that serve as legal tender. Familiar figures on hand to help include everyone’s favourite shaman down at Mumbo’s Motors and newly appointed tourist information officer Bottles; new faces on the block include porcine police chief Pikelet and overly competitive braggart Trophy Thomas. Outside Showdown Town you might just meet them all again, persuaded by LOG to turn thespian and act out hilarious themed roles in different worlds. You’ll also have to take on Grunty’s shiny army of mechanical Gruntbots, riding roughshod over Banjo’s efforts to save the day.

For the first time in the Banjo universe there’s also the opportunity to go online with players across your own world. Combine this with the riveting new solo adventure, and it looks like 2008 really will be the Year of the Bear. You might want to book a seat. When the comedy rattles and clanks die down, the garage door rolls up and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts finally purrs into view, you’ll be glad you did.

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James Stephanie Sterling
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