Last month we reported on the news that a group of former Rare developers had formed their own company - Playtonic - and were looking to create a "spiritual successor" to the Banjo-Kazooie series.
During this week's EGX Rezzed, Playtonic showed off the first screens from the new game - currently called Project Ukulele - and revealed details on how it is going to fund development.
We honestly weren't expecting as big a reaction as we got. We've had tons and tons of emails - a massive fan response. But it's good - we want that pressure, we're really happy with that reception.
Up until a few weeks ago [Kickstarter] wasn't really on our radar, but since we've had such a massive response from people - we're thinking that the game has to become a lot bigger, a lot broader, we want to do a lot more with it now to make people happy.
The game doesn't have a solid title yet because Playtonic hasn't revealed the two lead characters, and is choosing instead to keep them under wraps.
However, an edited screen has been found which appears to show one of the duo:
Price says that the final name is still being worked on:
We're still sending stupid ideas to each other, and thinking about how much to push the fact that this is a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. We're coming up with different puns... we'll get there in the end. Apparently the name Halo 5 is taken.
Playtonic is promising non-linear gameplay and plenty of collectable items - the latter being a hallmark of the Banjo-Kazooie series. It has also been confirmed that like Banjo and Kazooie, the two playable characters in Project Ukulele will have special skills which are integral to progression.
Making such an epic title requires cash of course, and as a fledgling start-up it should come as no surprise to learn that Playtonic is looking towards crowd-funding to create the game. Price explains why this is the case:
If we needed, we could make the game with a few hundred thousand pounds, but if we can go beyond that we will scale up the game and add features as fans want from us. We could do the game comfortably on £400,000, but if we had more to spend we could, for example, hire a proper QA team rather than beta testing it.
And as for ourselves, we're not taking the best wages in our career right now - we've all come down in wages and we're in a tiny office - it's cold in the morning and too hot in the afternoon with all the computers on. But it's kind of how we like it - it's reminiscent of the early days at Rare in the barn there, in this place that was never supposed to be a development studio but was just a building next to a farmhouse.
The Kickstarter campaign is expected to go live in May, and Price reveals that Playtonic is very open to hearing what kind of stretch goals and reward tiers people want:
We don't want to force tiers and stretch goals on fans, we'd love to hear if people would like to voice characters, if people want to have early access to the game, perhaps - and this is just a pipe dream - if we can have a boxed N64 copy of the game to really play off the game's nostalgic feel. So it's about finding out what people want from us from the Kickstarter campaign and then creating it with that in mind.
Playtonic is even considering creating its own NFC figure range which will function like Nintendo's amiibo. In fact, Nintendo seems to crop up a lot in relation to this new project, as Price explains:
Out of about 500 emails we receive every week, probably about 499 of them are shouting Wii U! Wii U! As a games fan, I've been a Nintendo fanboy since the NES days. Most of are fans are Nintendo fans as well. So while we can't confirm what platforms we will be on - some of that is beyond our control - but we are developing on Unity and we don't want to leave anyone out. And we'd try to ship simultaneously to make the biggest splash possible when the game comes out.
Launching Project Ukulele on a Nintendo system makes the most sense from our perspective - Rare's "golden era" took place on the N64, and Microsoft's attempts to leverage Rare's classic characters on the Xbox and Xbox 360 have less than successful commercially.
The chances of the game hitting the Wii U seem pretty strong, but we'd love to see Nintendo sweep in and pick this up as an exclusive - what about you? Did the EGX Rezzed session fill you with confidence for Playtonic's début? Or are you sceptical about the game's chances? Let us know with a comment.