On May 1st, Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter campaign was launched. It’s the first line under the Kickstarter video that is responsible for the more than 36,000 backers.

“The creative talent behind Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country reveal an all-new platforming adventure for consoles and PC!”

The initial goal of $270,000 has been smashed. Right now, it sits just shy of $2 million.

A quick look at the images and the Kickstarter’s video shows a game that most AAA publisher would never back. At least, not in recent years.

Yooka Laylee game

So far, the developers have worked on Yooka-Laylee for three months. Their plan is for the game to ship on PC, Mac and Linux by October 2016. Console versions would come right after. Based on the Kickstarter’s reception so far, I don’t think they’ll have a problem getting a simultaneous release.

Several former developers of Rare Ltd. came together to form Playtonic Games in 2014. Who are they, and what did they work on?

Chris Sutherland is the Project Director. He previously worked on Banjo-Kazooie (lead programmer) and Donkey Kong Country (lead programmer).

Gavin Price is the Creative Lead. His work includes Viva Pinata (designer) and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts ‘n Bolts (designer).

Jens Restemeir is the Technical Director. He worked on Perfect Dark Zero (programmer) and Jetpac Refuelled (programmer) and is called “the technical mastermind behind the Playtonic machine.”

Steve Mayles is the Character Artist. Banjo and Kazooie? That was Mayles. He also worked on characters for Donkey Kong Country.

Mark Stevenson is the Technical Artist. You will recognize his work from Kameo (lead artist) and Donkey Kong 64 (lead artist).

Andy Robinson serves as the Writer/Editor. He never worked for Rare, but Playtonic brought him on board for his “unique critical perspective” thanks to his work in CVG, Edge and The Sunday Mirror.

With the success of the Kickstarter campaign, Playtonic plans to increase their dev team size to 15.

The company also touches on the risks and challenges of developing a game, especially one funded by Kickstarter.

Game development can be a harsh taskmaster, with time and financial constraints often providing unexpected challenges that can ultimately lead to changes and delays. Fortunately, the Playtonic Games team has collectively been involved in more than 30 different games across more than ten different platforms and has great expertise in the 3D platformer specifically, with a strong track record of shipping some of the genre’s greatest hits.

So not only do we have extensive experience delivering quality releases within this genre, but we’re also well versed in working under the pressures of strict deadlines, budgets and high expectation. We’re very confident we can deliver a game that lives up to fan expectations, on time and on budget.

Interested in backing? $15 gets you a digital copy of the PC version. $22 for the console version.

Kickstarter games have their share of misses, but it has also delivered some great games. These include Shovel Knight, Don’t Starve, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, The Banner Saga, Kentucky Route Zero, Pillars of Eternity, FTL: Faster Than Light and more.

Most of these games would never have been possible without their initial Kickstarter campaigns.

Let’s hope we are adding Yooka-Laylee to this list next year.


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