Back in 1998, the 3D platformer Banjo-Kazooie first appeared on Nintendo 64 – with a sequel coming two years later – and an Xbox 360 re-release some 8 years after that. That game was the masterwork of developers Rare Ltd, who had previously worked on the Super Nintendo’s seminal Donkey Kong Country games, and for years since has been held in high regard with both critics and consumers alike, many of whom have asked for a new buddy-duo based adventure from the team at every available opportunity.
At long last, it appears all that pleading and praying may have come to fruition; while Rare themselves have moved onto different things – such as Kinect Sports Rivals – a healthy handful of the team from the Donkey Kong & Banjo-Kazooie golden-era of the studio have since departed, and formed Playtonic Games – who are now Kickstarting what they call a “spiritual successor” to the title.
The new game, Yooka-Laylee, has already smashed passed it’s funding goal – securing more than £1.5million in under two weeks – which, not only secures various stretch goals such as Day One Release Parity across PC, Mac and home consoles, as well as the promise of free DLC content if £2,000,000 is reached (it will be), but also goes to show just how much excitement there is for the upcoming project.
And now, to explain that title: Earlier today, Yooka-Laylee’s first support character was introduced to us, and, well, he’s an… uhm, trouser snake. To be exact, he’s a snake in shorts named Trowzer, but, for the sake of comedy, let us not be pedantic.
Playtonic’s MD, and Yooka-Laylee’s creative lead, Gavin Price explained the character’s role in the game, saying:
“Trowzer is a business-snake whose career never took off. Not that he knows it – the smug, serpent salesman thinks he’s the bee’s knees (not that he has knees), and for a little dosh he’ll teach you some of the slick moves he picked up on the high-stakes sales floor.”
“He’ll take your money and count it (he’s an Adder…) and because he knows best he’ll even demonstrate the moves you just bought for you to replicate… if you can follow his jiggling.”
Character artist, Steve Mayles, who also holds the birth certificates for Banjo, Kazooie and the modern Kong family, joined Gavin on Playtonic’s website, and tried to explain the creative thinking behind his latest creation:
“I didn’t want him to be a snake in the traditional sense, and when Gav suggested he should have shorts on (do I have to add shorts to all of my characters?!), a great idea for this was his body could curl back up through the other leg hole. So he’ll move with a certain springiness, which will be fun to animate.”
So, there you have it, a seemingly one-eyed shorts wearing snake, named Trowzer is going to be joining a Chameleon and a Bat in the platforming adventure you’ve all been waiting for!
Yooka-Laylee is currently scheduled for an October 2016 release on PC, Mac, Xbox One, Playstation 4 & Wii U.