Speedruns are all about risk and reward, as runners perform dangerous tricks in search of the best time. Cutscenes are usually a safe space where runners can relax before the next big skip. Unfortunately for one Banjo-Kazooie speedrunner, cutscenes aren’t always as safe as they seem.
dickhiskhan is a Banjo speedrunner who currently holds third place in the game’s 100% category, which seeks to collect every item in the game as fast as possible. It’s a demanding speedrun made all the more difficult by how the game records collected items, specifically musical notes. Levels have 100 musical notes spread around the level to find. If the player dies before finding all of them, they must restart the level and collect them all again. Death can be punishing and set players back a considerable amount of time.
Nearly 40 minutes into his speedrun, dickhiskhan entered the desert themed Gobi’s Valley. One of the level’s challenges involved quickly running through a series of hoops. When players jump through the hoop, a cutscene plays to show the next hoop’s location. With only two units of health, dickhiskhan slides through a hoop as an enemy approaches. Right before the cutscene plays, Banjo is hit by the enemy. In theory, he should be invincible entering the cutscene. Instead, he dies as the cutscene plays, costing dickhiskhan a run that was over 20 seconds faster than his best time.
Banjo-Kazooie runners often have low health and strategically kill themselves near the end of the level to warp back to the game’s hub world. Dickhiskhan’s low health isn’t unusual but even with the small nudge from the enemy, he should have been fine. Instead, a solid run was lost to a surprising accident. And if cutscenes aren’t safe, those giant bumblebee baddies might come for us next.