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E3: Nintendo, Microsoft Partner for ‘Smash Bros’

Nintendo has announced that Banjo and Kazooie will be playable characters in the upcoming installment of the game series “Super Smash Bros.”

This collaboration marks the first time a Microsoft-owned character will be used in a Nintendo property.

Both characters will be available for combat in an upcoming “Smash Ultimate” update later this year. Banjo and Kazooie were the most-requested character additions for the game, according to a fan poll conducted on Twitter.

“Banjo-Kazooie” was initially launched for the N64 in 1998. Developed by Rare Games, the title was originally published by Nintendo until Microsoft acquired Rare in 2002. While Microsoft still owns the property, Rare’s relationship with Nintendo has ensured that characters like Banjo and Kazooie are always on the table for possible licensing deals.

“The licensing relationships between [Nintendo and Microsoft], they’re there and are kind of ongoing,” says Phil Spencer, executive vice-president of gaming, Microsoft, in an interview with Kotaku. “The reason it’s not some interesting, deep conversation is because with us owning Rare and the history between those two things, there are a lot of conversations over the years about, ‘Hey, we want to do “X” is that okay?’”

Nintendo made its announcement during E3 2019. The Los Angeles, Calif.- based event is one of the biggest exhibitions in the video game industry. For more coverage from E3 2019, please visit our E3 page.

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