Earlier this year, the Rare Ltd. expats who formed Playtonic Games started talking about their not-so-secret project: a new game in the mold of Banjo-Kazooie, one of Rare’s signature creations from the Nintendo 64 era. Today, Playtonic pulled back the sentient, googly-eyed curtain on its “spiritual successor.” The new game is called Yooka-Laylee, named for the reincarnated spirits of Banjo and Kazooie that serve as its starring animal buddy-duo. Yooka is a bipedal chameleon, and Laylee is the bat that hangs out on his head. Together, they’ll run and jump through themed worlds and collect a bunch of stuff, including “Pagies” (not to be confused with “Jiggies”).
Some of the key creative minds behind Rare’s most beloved games are heading up development. The studio is led by Chris Sutherland, the lead programmer on the likes of Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie. (He’s also the voice of both Banjo and Kazooie and will be returning to acting duty for the new heroes.) Character artist Steve Mayles and Steven Hurst, Rare’s long time environment artist, are on visual duty. And both of Rare’s storied composers, Grant Kirkhope and David Wise, will be contributing to the game’s soundtrack.
Playtonic has taken Yooka-Laylee to Kickstarter, where it doubled its initial funding goal of £175,000 in less than two hours. The team has set plenty of stretch goals to capitalize on that extra cash, the earliest of which serve to inject the game with more ideas from Banjo-Kazooie and other Rare games. At £330,000, it’ll add a “pre-final boss quiz show.” At £395,000, you’ll get “transformations into ‘unexpected things.’” If funding goes beyond that—and given its current rate, it easily will—Playtonic will be throwing in some multiplayer modes and characters designed by ex-Rare guest artists.
The game is in development for Linux, Mac, and PC, where it’s projected for an October 2016 release. PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U versions are also in the works, but those would come at a later date—unless the Kickstarter reaches £1 million, Playtonic promises.