There was always going to be an audience for Yooka-Laylee. Regardless of what direction big publishers are trying to drive the industry towards, there is a hunger for the return of the 3D platformer. Nowhere was that more evident than in Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter campaign, which raised over £2 mllion. Developer Playtonic Games only asked for £175k, which the received in 41 minutes. Try telling gamers they don’t want these types of games.
Grant Kirkhope, composer for the game, knew there was an audience too. His social media presence was constantly bombarded by people wanting to know where the next Banjo-Kazooie game was. As it turns out, it would take a completely different form. Yooka-Laylee was a happy accident that may never have happened if not for a confluence of one-off events all happening at roughly the same time.
After a series of layoffs at Rare, the core Banjo team had the opportunity to get together again. Gavin Price rallied everyone together, started the company and the rest is history. Playtonic put together a Kickstarter campaign that would go on to become one of the most successful on the platform.
“I think the whole Kickstarter thing just blew us out the window. We had no idea it was going to be like that. We’re all just sitting, watching the counter go round and round and round with the money. I thought the PC was broken, something was wrong with the refresh [I thought] this is ridiculous. I think it shows the love of the game. To get 80,000 backers is amazing.
Playtonic Games are aware of the responsibility that comes with having such a successful crowdfunding campaign. They’re keenly aware that 80,000 people reached into their own pockets to make Yooka-Laylee a reality, and they’re relishing the task of building the game that we’ve all waited (semi) patiently for years for. If anyone can craft a truly excellent 3D platforming experience, my money is certainly on these guys (literally).
Yooka-Laylee will be launching on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Wii U in the first quarter of 2017.
Disclosure: The authour of this article was a backer of the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter campaign.