The vehicle-building workshop in Nuts & Bolts is easily the most compelling new feature in the game, and Rare obviously agreed early on in development.
What we didn't want to do was to just do another Banjo Kazooie which was exactly the same and that's actually we started doing at the beginning... We thought well, we'll just do another platform game as Banjo Kazooie. We did that for a bit and as gamers and as developers, it just felt a little bit stale... With the 360, there's just so much more we can do, we thought we'd try something different.
Good thing they came to their senses. From the little I've played so far, it's really easy to make cool stuff that actually works under the game world's rule set. Playing N&B at a Microsoft event a few months ago, I started with a basic car template. I stuck some rocket engines on the back of it, jumped back into the game. The car went faster. I stuck some wings on the side. The car took off and flew. There weren't any tool tips telling me to do that, it just made sense that rocket engines and wings on a car would make it fly. After a weekend designing creatures and buildings and tanks in Spore, I feel like there might actually be something to this zeitgeist of user-created content in games lately.
Anyway, the message here: go buy the new Banjo if you want another new Banjo!