When you get right down to it, there's still not a whole lot known about Yooka-Laylee, an upcoming 3D platformer made from ex-Rare staff that worked on games such as Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. After the initial buzz around the game from its successful Kickstarter debut died down, new information on the game became hard to come by. No doubt Playtonic Studios is hard at work making this the greatest open ended 3D platformer the world has ever seen, but it makes one curious how things are going.
Finally deciding to throw fans a bone, Mark Stevenson – the Lead Artist for Yooka-Laylee – revealed a new support character to IGN called Rextro Sixtyfourus. Rextro is a dinosaur that's deliberately been crafted as a callback to the blocky characters of the N64 3D platformers of yore, right down to being rendered in such a way that he appears like he's being viewed on an old CRT screen. He will act as the guardian of the arcade machines in this game; one of which is hidden in every level and grants the player a Pagie if they can overcome the retro challenge offered. Here's what Stevenson has to say on the character:
We decided on using a dinosaur pretty early on as this is a creature that naturally associates with a past era. Then I think mostly my inspiration came from work I'd done previously on characters for the Donkey Kong 64 game. From this work I knew the kind of forms we had to create due to low polygon counts, so this inspired the shapes used to create Rextro's blocky feet and hands that are virtually cubes. All the polygons in Rexto have hard edges as well: this affects how the light shines on him meaning you can basically see all the polygon faces as individual facets.
I wanted Rex to to feel like he captured the era of games from my early career which also included work on the Donkey Kong games on the Super Nintendo. Finally just to reinforce the retro aspect some more, I created a custom shader that creates a scanline effect on Rextro to make him look like he's being viewed on an old school CRT TV.
What do you think? Do you like the look of the character? What else would you like to see out of Yooka-Laylee? Drop us a comment in the section below.