By Wesley Y.
Months ago, Playtonic Games announced a sort of “spiritual successor” to the beloved Rareware game, Banjo Kazooie, only known as “Project Ukulele”. On April 30th, the team was finally ready to unleash their creation to the world, aptly named Yooka-Laylee. Starring Yooka the chameleon and Laylee the bat, it is a 3D platformer calling back to the days of Rareware, a company that many considered to be the creator of some of the best “platformer” games ever, namely the Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country games.Yooka-Laylee is planned for a release on all home consoles to be funded by Kickstarter, having fans donate to fund the project rather than funding it themselves. On May 1st, Yooka-Laylee went live for funding and a mere 40 minutes later, Playtonic’s budget £175, 000 was funded completely by donations. It didn’t just stop there; in less than 24 hours it had reached a donation total of over $1, 000, 000. This makes it not only the fastest Kickstarter video game project to ever be funded but also the fastest project to reach one million US dollars. Right now, there is a lot of hype this new platformer and many are eagerly awaiting its’ release.
With a team that were the creative minds behind the Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country games, Yooka-Laylee is designed to harken back to their work of the past that was and still is cherished in high regard still to this day. According to Project Director Chris Sutherland, they chose Yooka to be a chameleon and Laylee to be a bat “because of the kind of natural abilities that they could bring to the gameplay.” Designed to be like the classic collectathon of the 90s, the duo can sonar blast, tongue grapple, and sonar blast their way through 3D worlds to find hidden treasures. The two protagonists are to collect golden treasures called “Pagies” to unlock more worlds in the game, with each world planned to have a boss.
The Yooka-Laylee project has some big players on hand, because with a vibrant game like this, you need a vibrant cast of composers and voice actors. Esteemed gaming composers Grant Kirkhope and David Wise are planned to create the sound track. Steve Burke and Chris Sutherland take up the jobs of sound effects and voicing acting respectively. Since Yooka-Laylee wants to emulate the original game as much as possible, a large portion of the team is made up of people that have worked on Rareware games, including the afore mentioned Kirkhope, Wise, and Sutherland. This cast of highly regarded gaming composers and designers plan to really put as much life into game as they can.
Since this game has hit such high amounts of success on Kickstarter, its’ large fund lets the Playtonic team have a lot of flexibility with the game and add some cool extensions. Originally planned to release on all systems at various times, the funding guarantees a launch on every console including PC on day one. The stretch goals don’t stop there, its’ 1 million dollar fund allows the game to have 2 player co-op, 4 player local multiplayer, and an special “N64 Shader” mode, harkening back to the classic Banjo-Kazooie, Rareware games. A bigger fund also means more language diversity as well, originally planned be exclusively in English the fund has reached a point to where Playtonic can hire professional translators to allow translate to French, German, Spanish, AND Italian translations. The Yooka-Laylee fund has grown to a gigantic size, reaching nearly £1.5 million, where it fully scored by an orchestra.
With a gigantic fund, massive goals, and highly esteemed crew of designers, developers, and composers, it looks like everything will go near perfectly for Yooka-Laylee. It may be that the only way this project will crash is if they do some bad budgeting and it goes the way of Yogsventures, a video game which was fully funded but ended up never being completed. With all the excitement built up for this title, I, as well as more than 40, 000 other backers, eagerly the arrival of the new “dynamic duo” and the adventure that’ll be in.
If you want to go and back this project (the funding period will end on June 16), go here:
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