Over the past few weeks, we've seen developer Rare send their legions of fans into a frenzy with tantalizing tweets hinting at a return of the much-loved Banjo Kazooie series. This morning, the studio's official Twitter account posted yet another tease — but this time, hinting at the resurgence of a different character.
The studio tweeted that January 21 is 'Squirrel Appreciation Day ', a holiday that originated in North Carolina back in 2001. That was also the year that Rare's very own foul-mouthed mascot appeared in Conker's Bad Fur Day. Like most of the developer's games, Conker developed a strong cult following — but despite his appearances as a family-friendly anthropomorph, this squirrel had a significant mean streak.
In a dramatic change from his earlier appearance in the portable Conker's Pocket Tales, the character now drank, smoked and cursed regularly as he progressed through a comprehensively crude adventure. Most Rare games contain elements of this sort of humor hidden away, but here it took center stage. That edginess seemed to make Conker a perfect fit for the Xbox when Microsoft bought out Rare in 2002.
One of Rare's first projects after the studio's move from Nintendo to Microsoft was a remake of Conker's debut with expanded multiplayer options, entitled Conker: Live & Reloaded. While the game sold well enough and was enjoyed by critics, strict censorship detracted from the humor of the original game for many. If Conker is indeed set to return to our consoles, you would think that the same mistake wouldn't be made again.
It seems very probable that one of Rare's classic franchises could be set for a new installment in the near future. However, while Banjo has long seemed like the obvious choice, it may well be that Conker's humor gives it an edge over the bear and bird. Nuts and Bolts was met with a mixed reception after it used vehicle creation as a twist on the platformer genre; might a game tinged with adult humor have better results?
You would have to imagine this has been a discussion that's been going on internally for some time. Rare has a back catalog of iconic characters that are currently going unused, and if that continues for too long, they're only going to lose their value. Based on this — not to mention the various teases we've seen in recent weeks — that an announcement of some kind is on its way.
We might even know something by the end of the day. Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer — who mentioned seeing something exciting from Rare not too long ago — is set to brief media on Windows 10 later today. Given his presence at the event, you would think that video game interests will play a big part of whatever announcements are planned. Could we see what Rare have been working on?
Stay tuned to Game Rant for updates on today's Microsoft event, as well as all the latest on what exactly Rare have in store.