UK veteran Team17 is publishing Playtonic's Yooka-Laylee, it has been announced.
The 3D platformer raised more than £2M via Kickstarter earlier this year, and is coming to the Wii U. Team17 will assist with localisation, certification, QA, marketing and other business concerns.
Here's what Playtonic boss Gavin Price had to say about the deal:
Team17 has significant experience in making the most of releasing a game. Personally I feel it would be a great shame if after our great Kickstarter success, we delivered on our promise of a great game and then it underperformed sales-wise because we didn't have the knowledge, or made a mistake in the way we released or marketed the game. Thanks to our Kickstarter backers, we're on a really positive trajectory and Team17 is acting like a booster for us on top of that by handling non-game dev tasks.
Team17 Managing Director Debbie Bestwick thinks that the agreement could be a massive coup for the company, which found fame as a developer during the days of the Commodore Amiga but has recently moved into publishing:
[This partnership] is probably more significant than either Team17 or Playtonic fully realise right now. They are friends of ours and we want to help it make sense for everyone. To the industry it's probably another reason for people to look at what we are doing even closer. We've built an exciting, modern games label here that helps creators achieve their goals with a team who understands what it takes to release a game, all the while keeping full control of their studio and IP. We're building a strong track record for helping indie devs and Playtonic is going to move that reputation to another level. Our goals and targets remain exactly the same as they always were: to help creators bring their games to market.
Given the success of the Kickstarter, you could question why Playtonic needs Team17, but editorial and communications manager Andy Robinson explains that bringing on an external partner was one of the aims from the start:
Playtonic was founded because our team wanted to make games the way it used to in the '90s – in a small, collaborative team in an environment that encourages creative autonomy. We believe these philosophies appeal not only to us, but fans of the team's past work, and so we're determined to ensure they're preserved.
We maintained from the start that we'd be open to a partner that could uphold these principles, while helping improve specific backend areas of development, thus freeing up our team to focus on core game development.
Our Kickstarter backers pledged their money so that my embarrassingly talented colleagues could finally get their hands dirty again and get back to making great games. Nobody wants the artist who made Banjo and Kazooie searching for bugs all day, or the composer behind Donkey Kong Country sat on the phone to PlayStation certification – they want them creating.
Team17's expertise has impressed us and Yooka-Laylee will significantly benefit in a myriad of ways, not least in expanded localisation, improved QA testing, certification and access to vastly better resources – all the business necessities that indie studios traditionally struggle with.
This isn't a traditional publisher deal, Team 17 understand what we want to achieve and have created a unique partnership with us. It's a deal all about giving us the support we need so Yooka-Laylee delivers on all its Kickstarter promises.
Price adds to this, assuring fans that the game is still totally funded by the crowd-funding campaign:
Our game is 100 per cent funded by the money raised on Kickstarter. The cost of making a game is a lot cheaper when you're in Burton-on-Trent and not San Francisco. The Kickstarter money also covers our fulfilment costs such as physical goods and console codes for our backers as well as developing some bonus DLC as something to give back to our backers.
Interestingly, Bestwick reveals that a physical version of the game could also happen - something which Price stated he wanted when we interviewed him earlier this year:
There is a large demand for a physical game. Playtonic took the decision not to include this in the Kickstarter for the very reason that it could impact on development and at the time of their Kickstarter it would have been a big risk. Team17 has lots of experience in physical and will share ideas and opportunities with Playtonic - so absolutely we will be looking into it.
Yooka-Laylee is expected to launch in October 2016. Despite rumours relating to a possible 2016 launch of the Nintendo NX, Price explains that for the time being, the team is committed to making the title for the Wii U:
Nintendo is not saying that much, it's all still very secretive – I wish I knew more. But there's nothing said that impacts any of our current plans. There's still plenty to look forward to with the Wii U, right now I don't foresee anything impacting us delivering that version.