The words 'Rare' and 'Legend' go together very often, and we try not to use them unless they're necessary. In the case of former company Character Artist / Graphics Director Kev Bayliss it's a fair description, however, and the pleasing news is that he's now joined Playtonic full-time to work on Yooka-Laylee.
Bayliss joined Rare in 1987, working closely with Tim Stamper on some of the studio's early games. A huge part of his CV is that he produced the Donkey Kong redesign that was then utilised for Donkey Kong Country, with the brief being to modernise the mascot. He was also heavily involved in Killer Instinct, Diddy Kong Racing and Star Fox Adventures and more besides.
He's been doing some part-time work with Playtonic since last year, though the move to full-time is certainly full of possibilities. Below is some recent art and comments from the official announcement.
To date I've really enjoyed contributing characters to Yooka-Laylee and working within the office environment. So far I've built a variety of silly characters for the game, from concept sketch right through to the final models and animation. I had to spend a bit of time getting back up to scratch with technology, but thankfully a few months of nagging the other artists sorted that!
In the future I'd love to rekindle some of the ideas I've had since leaving Rare, and help bring to life some of those even bigger, bolder character concepts that have been brewing in my head. I've so many ideas, old and new, so it's going to be great fun filling that little logo-flask with more stars.
After its Kickstarter success and deserved attention in 2015 we're interested to see how well Yooka-Laylee progresses this year. Having Bayliss on board will certainly do no harm.
As a final note, we actually thought Rare was employing some of its usual humour with the above picture of a rather handsome man, but that is actually Bayliss. If you don't believe us below are a couple of music videos he's also produced in recent years; not many developers have a side-career quite like that.