Developer Playtonic has been open about its new game, Yooka-Laylee, being a spiritual successor to the mistreated Banjo-Kazooie franchise. But while the game may keep the massive amount of collectibles and two-character approach to platforming, it’s Yooka-Laylee‘s humor and tone that look most promising.
“We wanted the characters to live on beyond just this game so that we can build our own universe,” writer Andy Robinson told the PlayStation Blog. “So when we designed them, we thought abut whether they could be in a different genre, or star in their own game.”
The potential for Yooka-Laylee‘s characters to star in a television series is certainly there, as well, although a few “adult” jokes (“Trowzer the snake” being the most obvious) could pose a problem.
“We want to create a family game for everyone, but get in fun jokes for an older audience — like in The Simpsons or Pixar films,” Robinson adds.
Perhaps the best (and actually quite subtle) part of Yooka-Laylee‘s humor is what happens when you aren’t even playing the game. If you leave the controller alone,” Laylee — the smaller of the two protagonists — will bite Yooka and the pair will start fighting each other.
But it isn’t all about the jokes. Playtonic has created a 3D platformer that looks built for the modern era, even though it serves as a tribute to a game almost two decades old. The action is fast-paced, the environments are inventive, and there are plenty of ways to change the world around you to solve puzzles. An upset cloud named “Nimbo,” for instance, can be filled with ice to cover the area below in snow, “opening up different challenges” in the process.
“We’ve played many games recently where you feel exhausted when you finished them because it wasn’t as enjoyable an experience as you wanted,” says Playtonics’s Steve Mayles. “But every time you pick up the controller for Yooka-Laylee we just want you to have a good time.”
We’ll see if Yooka-Laylee can live up to the Banjo-Kazooie legacy when it launches early next year.