Banjo-Kazooie is a video game franchise primarily consisting of platforming titles. It was created by Rare Ltd., who developed several Donkey Kong-related titles in the 1990s. The franchise stars a honey bear named Banjo and an orange-crested breegull named Kazooie. The first installment is the titular Banjo-Kazooie, which was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998. The franchise consists of five main releases, including three main series titles, a midquel, and a spinoff racing game.
Although Banjo debuted in Diddy Kong Racing, the Banjo-Kazooie franchise is not a spinoff of the Donkey Kong franchise but is rather a related franchise. Banjo's debut appearance helped familiarize him to players before Banjo-Kazooie was released. Both Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing were publicly unveiled at E3 1997. Throughout the Nintendo 64 era, Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong were often worked on by the same people within Rare. Donkey Kong 64 uses the same game engine as Banjo-Kazooie, and was heavily inspired by the game in general.
On September 24, 2002, Microsoft completed their acquisition of Rare for $375 million. Since then, Microsoft has owned Banjo-Kazooie, but Nintendo still kept the rights to the Donkey Kong franchise. Since then, the two franchises have been mostly disconnected, especially because Microsoft's Xbox line of home consoles competes with Nintendo's line of home consoles. Following the Microsoft acquisition, a Game Boy Advance title which Rare was working on, Diddy Kong Pilot, was converted into Banjo-Pilot and released in early 2005. Although it is a conversion, Banjo-Pilot still retains several elements from Diddy Kong Pilot.
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