Last year, Nintendo introduced the Expansion Pack for their Nintendo Switch Online service. This higher tier of subscription grants users access to a library of emulated Nintendo 64 games and Sega Genesis games, as well as access to the DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The viability of this subscription has been a point of contention for many, as many of the emulated Nintendo 64 games have been noted to run rather poorly, making it difficult to justify the Expansion Pack’s price. However, there is one game that has the capacity to change quite a few minds, and as it turns out, it’s right around the corner.
Nintendo announced yesterday that on January 20, the Nintendo 64 library provided by Expansion Pack membership will receive a new game: 1998’s Banjo-Kazooie, the 3D collect-a-thon platformer created by Rare starring the titular bear and bird duo as they traverse magical (and mildly sarcastic) worlds to rescue a kidnapped sibling. Banjo-Kazooie is, and I say this with no intended hyperbole, one of the most beloved games in the N64 library. Unfortunately, due to Microsoft’s ownership of Rare, it’s been missing from Nintendo platforms for many years.
Embark on a wild quest with an unlikely pair! The adventures of Banjo and Kazooie begin here!
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 19, 2022
However, with the addition of Banjo and Kazooie to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo successfully established a dialogue with Microsoft and Rare, proving that under the right conditions, the publishers are more than happy to share their IPs. The only remaining question is whether or not the game will run well on the Switch. If it does, it may successfully entice a fresh batch of Expansion Pack subscribers. If it doesn’t, well, there’s always Rare Replay.