Banjo-Kazooie's Stop 'N' Swop feature is one of the most infamous pieces of cut content in video game history, and it's been the subject of fan speculation for decades. Now, thanks to the Rare fansite Rare Gamer, a leaked communication between Nintendo and developer Rare reveals why the feature was cut from Banjo-Tooie and other games at the twilight of the Nintendo 64, and the results are quite interesting.
What a day for Stop 'N' Swop news! We've updated our Explanation & Retrospective feature to encompass the latest findings and revelations courtesy of @Paul_Mach1! pic.twitter.com/desVLW0JWG
— Rare Gamer (@Rare_Gamer)
As Eurogamer explains, the idea of Stop 'N' Swop itself was rather simple: players who achieved 100% completion in Banjo-Kazooie were treated to a special scene that showed Banjo walking into three previously-sealed areas. However, those areas remained inaccessible for the player, which prompted confusion from fans. Rare eventually explained on its website that players would be able to access these areas by swapping out their Banjo-Tooie cartridge for their Banjo-Kazooie cart, allowing them to take the goodies within back into Banjo-Tooie, where they could be used to great effect.
As the above leaked missive reveals, however, Nintendo had serious concerns about the technical feasibility of Stop 'n' Swop. "There is no way we can guarantee that the RDRAM will retain data long enough...for the feature to work," it reads in part. "There is also a risk of damage to both the console and the game pak should the swap be made while power is still on." The writer goes on to suggest using a passcode system to achieve the desired interconnectivity between the games.
Hackers later discovered codes that allowed players to obtain the items that were hidden as part of Stop 'N' Swop, including the six mystery eggs and the ice key. The Xbox Live re-releases of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie implemented the Stop 'N' Swop concept as originally envisioned by the game's designers, except with the addition of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts as another part of the puzzle. Later Rare games included references to Stop 'n' Swop as in-jokes to taunt fans. For example, a chalkboard in Grabbed by the Ghoulies reads: "Collect Ice Key. Collect 4 eggs. Open secret level." No such secret level exists in the game.