Ahead of E3, Playtonic Games has made a few announcements about its upcoming spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, a game called Yooka-Laylee.
Among a handful of new screens and concept art revealed on the developers website today is the introduction of Capital B, an appropriately nefarious-looking fellow in a business suit with gargoyle-like horns that wouldn’t look out of place in Despicable Me; evidently the premise of Playtonic’s cheeky retro revival revolves around the villain’s plan to convert all the world’s literature into pure profit. It certainly sounds like the children’s book-style sarcastic tone that helped make Banjo so much fun back in the N64 days.
Going back to its days with the Rare game studio, the Playtonic team has always worn its wry British humor well. Given that Yooka-Laylee’s development is being funded through a monumentally successful Kickstarter — which, aside from holding the record for the most successful campaign for a UK game ever, was started because the developers didn’t want publishers dictating how they worked — using a big business baddie seems particularly biting. (Rare did something similar with Banjo’s sole Xbox 360 outing Nuts & Bolts by making fun of video games, and the developer’s own past with collect-a-thon platformers, themselves.)
Playtonic has since brought longtime Worms outfit Team 17 on as a publisher to handle business management of the title (and possibly even a physical release).
If the games writing and humor are measuring up — and Capital B’s existence seems to indicate they are — then it bodes well for Yooka-Laylee’s prospects. Visually it’s certainly seen a massive improvement.
Following last year’s sandbox-y pre-alpha appearance at E3, Playtonic promised not to show anything else until the game was almost ready for prime-time. (Though for what’s worth, the game’s E3 appearance looked good and felt exactly like it should even in an embryonic stage.)
Judging by the screens here, it’s time. (Also, good news, Kickstarter backers: Playtonic has announced the game’s sandbox — likely an improved version of what the team showed last year — will be released in July.)
In any case, since Rare is currently hard at work on Sea of Thieves, it’s a big if” that Banjo might ever make a return through Microsoft. With Yooka-Laylee, it looks like fans still have a lot to get excited about later this year.