Rare Platformer Nostalg-o-Kickstarter: Yooka-Laylee

One can hardly have an N64-style platformer without a load of tat to collect.

You may have thought we’d run out of nostalgia to mine for Kickstarter but good gravy no! A group of folks formerly of Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country developers Rare, now at their own studio Playtonic Games, launched a crowdfunding campaign for a ye olde 3D N64-stylee platformer on Friday and have already blown past their goal.

They were looking for £175,000 to make Yooka-Laylee [official site], billing it as a “spiritual successor” to Banjo-Kazooie. With 42 days still to go they already have over £1.3 million in pledges. Lawks!

Yooka-Laylee sees the eponymous chameleon and bat friends romping around, jumping and gliding and knocking enemies over and collecting things and riding mine carts and, you know, N64 platformer stuff. It’s a genre I don’t miss at all myself, but clearly plenty of folks miss it dearly, so who am I to be a curmudgeon?

Playtonic plan to release Yooka-Laylee for Windows, Mac, and Linux by October 2016. Pledging at least £10 will get you a download copy of the game, though given how well funding’s going and that they’ve already crushed almost every stretch goal, you may consider letting others foot the risk and waiting to see if the game’s any good.

If you want more of Rare’s Conker, er, well, an episodic Conker series is coming to Project Spark. Yeah, that probably won’t be quite the same.


  1. Monchberter says:

    For me the first Banjo Kazooie was my joint favourite game in that console (GoldenEye the other if course).

    I still have some of the game tunes running in my head to this day. Total earworms.

    • Jalan says:

      Grant Kirkhope used to sell that music on his Bandcamp page. Now, I guess with some news related to the series, he’s since pulled it down and what’s available is… not quite as deliciously nostalgic. Oh, and he’s apparently workshopping some of the music for Yooka-Laylee on it as well.

  2. Clavus says:

    It was very much a nostalgia-backing for me, and it seems for a lot of other people too. Banjo-Kazooie was one of the N64 greats and defined a lot of childhoods.

    I’m not expecting this game to capture the same magic, but I’d love to see it made nonetheless.

  3. Unclepauly says:

    Banjo was a fun game but I feel they did the best they could with the technology at the time and that is why it turned out the way it did. That would be confined levels with goals and tasks all layered on top of each other due to memory constraints. We don’t have these constraints anymore so I would not be very happy with more of the same. Todays PC’s could render out 100 Banjo levels at once.

  4. Failmore says:

    New skin for Fizz?

  5. Nevard says:

    Am I alone in thinking that Yooka’s design is… completely uninspired?
    Like, it looks like an NPC not a main character. He has no memorable or distinguishing features. He definitely doesn’t look like a chameleon.

    Are they afraid of making him too ugly? Banjo certainly wasn’t a looker, and their lack of commitment to any design has just made this result painfully generic. The only feature he has reminiscent of a chameleon is a spiral tail, the distinctive crest, mitten hands. and chameleon eyes are all absent and for a colour-changing reptile he’s only been depicting I’m boringly static shades of green. I would be fine with this, as Chameleons are odd looking species, if they’d given him ANYTHING else to distinguish him from just being essentially what an unimportant denizen of the lizard village would look like. Anything at all!

    At least give him some pants or something!

    • Tacroy says:

      You’re mostly looking at his back during gameplay, who even cares

    • skorpeyon says:

      Definitely not alone. Despite what the other person said about “mostly looking at his back”, a primary character will likely be in cutscenes, on the packaging, etc. Assuming this is an AMAZING game (and having loved the Banjo-Kazooie games and most of Rare’s work in general I’m hoping it will be), having that character stand out and be memorable is quite important. I feel the bat has more personality with his big red nose, myself, and I agree that pants or something would help a lot. Right now, to me, he looks like a character ripped straight out of Sonic the Hedgehog because of the no pants and oversized head, only difference is he also lacks shoes. That unfortunately, in my mind, serves two negative points. First, it makes him feel unoriginal. Second it associates him with a series that hasn’t, in my opinion, put out a good game in decades. Not the best way to go.

  6. baozi says:

    The most interesting thing about this to me is that it’s coming to PCs.

  7. Cantisque says:

    There are practically no games like this available on PC, at least not legitimately.
    A Hat in Time still isn’t out yet, but the Kickstarter for that game did extremely well. Shouldn’t this be some sort of indicator that there is a massive untapped market for 3D platformers on PC (and in general)?

    • Tacroy says:

      Grow Home is the only 3d platformer-ish game that’s come out recently that I can think of off-hand

      • Cantisque says:

        Not quite the same but still, the reception for that was also very positive which just makes an even more compelling case for more games like this to be made.

    • Urthman says:

      Well, there’s Psychonauts, of course.

      Pitfall: The Lost Expedition is about the closest thing to a Banjo game released on PC and was pretty good.

      You might also count Rayman 2 & 3, Toy Story 2 & 3, Kung Fu Panda, maybe even the Tomb Raider games. But it’s definitely a short list.

      • Urthman says:

        Anyone tried The Last Tinker?

        oh, and also the LEGO games scratch some of that Banjo itch for me too.

  8. Jenks says:

    I miss Kickstarter Katchup.

  9. Stupoider says:

    I won’t be putting any more money down on Kickstarter’s after Broken Age. I don’t really feel like I need to for this anyway because it was going to be made regardless of whether or not it achieved its Kickstarter target. ” We’ve already put a plan in place using personal finances to get the game done no matter what happens”. So I’ll wait for release and see how it is instead of pissing money into the wind.

  10. Moraven says:

    Unity, blah.