Just recently Playtonic Games raised the curtain on Yooka-Laylee, a title that's got a lot of 3D platforming and Rare fans excited. The studio is a mix of veterans from the venerable developer along with some younger talent, and after a period of silence it's emergeed to share more of its project.
EDGE Magazine has had a detailed look at the game with an extended feature article, and it's well worth considering a purchase of the magazine (using that link) to see some shots of Playtonic's studio and plenty of game art and screens. The article also provides some pleasing insights into how the game is taking shape.
The feature generally explores the focus of Playtonic to blend N64-style platforming and collecting with modern trends. One aspect of this is that every collectible will have value in some way, rewarding those that take the time to explore - benefits include improved moves or access to new areas within large levels. The world can be transformed should a player go to the effort, changing how it's traversed and setting up new challenges; Managing Director & Creative Lead Gavin Price equates it to seeking a balance between the different level design approaches of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo Tooie.
Perhaps most promising in the article's reveals is the sense of variety that the game seems to offer. EDGE's writer seems impressed with the transformational aspect of the world, and beyond the challenges these levels offer there are more direct shifts in pace - minecart runs are included, while all-important collectibles are also found in "race circuits and along vast, undulating minecart tracks". Equally exciting is the news that collectible tokens unlock eight multiplayer arcade games with support for four players, which can be accessed at any time after they've been earned.
Playtonic is keen to control information, too, highlighting the benefits of Rare's N64 days when details were less plentiful and more surprises saved for release. So we may know that there are minecart tracks and unlockable multiplayer games, but the studio won't show them fully until it feels the right time has come.
Price sees this as a key part of the game's goal, too - keeping players on their toes and ready for surprising twists as they play:
We want to surprise the player all the time, so you never know what's around the next corner, what your next challenge is going to be, who you're going to meet. One of the best things about exploration and adventure-themed games is that element of surprise. The moment it starts feeling formulaic, you'll think, 'What's the point of going into the next world if it's just doing version 2.0 of what I did before?' Each new [setting] should have new surprises, new delights.
That sounds rather good to us.
It's well worth checking out the full feature article in EDGE to see more - you can buy print and digital copies here.