Shortly after Nintendo launched a program to let fans recommend characters for the next Super Smash Bros. game, Xbox chief Phil Spencer tweeted that he wanted to see the series incorporate Banjo from the Banjo-Kazooie series that Microsoft has published since 2008.
@PedroDarkinson I think it would be cool if Banjo was in the next SSB DLC. We've worked with Nintendo on Rare IP before, no issues.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 3, 2015
There’s a good reason why Spencer chose Banjo over a character like, say, Halo star Master Chief: Banjo-Kazooie, the 1998 Nintendo 64 game that launched the eponymous series, was developed by Rare, which Microsoft acquired (along with all of its intellectual property) in 2000. In 2009, Microsoft re-released the first game on its Xbox Live Arcade platform.
Screengrab via Gamerscoreblog/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)