Developer Playtonic - which is made up of former Rare staffers and, in recent months, has added more in the form of Kevin Bayliss (Killer Instinct), Dean Wilson (Kinect Sports) and Steve Burke (Kameo) - is creating what many see as the spiritual successor to the likes of Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64, and the studio's creative lead Gavin Price has been speaking to Red Bull about why the team decided to part company with Rare:
We have a focus on pure fun, fine-tuned controls, varied game scenarios and of course our sense of humour. These types of things just wouldn't sit well with key stakeholders at bigger companies, but for us we think more games should focus on nailing these elements and not care about marketing box-ticking.
Price's comments suggest that Rare - once a close partner with Nintendo - has become too beholden to its current owner, Microsoft, which presumably has been quite controlling when it comes to green-lighting projects. The studio was positioned as a Kinect-only outfit until very recently, but has just announced Rare Replay and Sea of Thieves- two of its most exciting projects in years.
However, Price doesn't feel that Rare intentionally turned its back on the 3D platform genre in which it found so much success:
I don't think they turned their back on the genre consciously. It was more of a desire to move ahead and try new things such as Viva Piñata and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts – concepts that kind of needed a bit of horsepower behind them, and they had the hardware to finally do them. Inevitably every studio probably has lots more ideas than developers to go around, so maybe it was more the case there just wasn't enough resources to continue with platformers and deliver new experiences.
Yooka-Laylee's crowd-funding campaign raised over £2,000,000. The Wii U version will launch alongside editions for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac and Linux.