Spiritual successor to Rare's Banjo-Kazooie smashes funding target


Seven veterans of Banjo-Kazooie studio Rare have taken to Kickstarter to resurrect the "buddy-duo platformer" with a new game called Yooka-Laylee. And fans of the genre seem awfully excited: The campaign launched today and has raked in more than double of its £175,000/$265,000 goal in the first few hours.

The game is being developed by Playtonic Games, a small studio formed in 2014 that includes the lead programmer, designer, and artists from Banjo-Kazooie and other Rare games including Donkey Kong Country, Viva Pinata, and Perfect Dark Zero. Development has been underway for a few months now, but to complete the game the team will have to upgrade to an "'N64 size' roster" of about 15 people, and that's where the Kickstarter comes in to play.

"Until now our development has been self-funded, but Kickstarter presents us with the amazing opportunity to deliver Yooka-Laylee at the level of scope and scale that fans demand—and on their games platform of choice," Creative Lead Gavin Price said. "Our team has decades-worth of ideas that we hope we’ll now finally have the resources and freedom to bring to reality."

The similarities are obvious—Banjo-Kazooie was about a bear and a bird, Yooka-Laylee is about a chameleon and a bat—but that's what the team is shooting for. Steve Mayles, who created the original duo, "has captured the spirit of his past heroes while introducing the most inventive moves yet seen in any of our team's work," the Kickstarter states. "As is traditional in our team's games, each world will be jammed to the gills with oddball characters and hulking bosses, many who communicate via a collage of burp and fart noises."

The campaign, as mentioned, is only in its first day, and has already hit nearly half its stretch goals; with 46 days remaining, the final, £1 million/$1.5 million stretch goal—Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 versions, released simultaneously with the Windows, Mac, and Linux editions—appears well within reach. Either way, the plan is to have the game ready for release by October 2016.

At approximately 3:00 pm EDT on May 1, the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter had surpassed £450,000/$680,000. Where it will be by the time you read this is anybody's guess, but I think it's safe to say that worried tales of Kickstarter exhaustion have been a wee bit overstated. The campaign runs until June 16.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.