The remarkable success of the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee in June 2015 was slightly muted by the even greater success of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Yooka-Laylee would have become the fifth highest funded game ever on Kickstarter, but due to Bloodstained jumping straight into the number one spot it actually ended up in still impressive sixth spot – and also became the highest funded UK video game of all time.
As with Bloodstained the massive interest was generated due to the reputation of the development team. Playtonic Games only recently formed in 2014 and consisted of seven veterans from Rare Ltd, one of the most beloved development studios in videogame history. This instantly meant there was plenty of interest from the gaming community, which only intensified once it was revealed that Yooka-Laylee was in effect the spiritual successor to bona fida classic Banjo-Kazooie. In fact the rather modest target of £175,000 was smashed within 40 minutes of the Kickstarter project going live.
The final total ended up at £2,090,104 and also meant all stretch goals were met as well which ensures the final game will have a day one simultaneous release on all next gen-systems (along with PC/Mac/Linux), local co-op and multiplayer versus modes will be available, director commentaries, a full orchestral soundtrack, translation into multiple languages and even free DLC for all backers.
So what accounts for the massive popularity of the project? The campaign itself was extremely professional compared to most Kickstarter projects and benefited from liberal amounts of British humour (i.e. sardonic wit and references to farts), and the pedigree of the development team means there’s very little chance of the game not being a quality release. Three of the composers who worked on many of Rare’s most well-loved titles have already been recruited and Playtonic have confirmed their core team of seven will be expanding to 15 following the Kickstarter success.
The existing gameplay footage is also extremely impressive already and with Yooka (the big green chameleon) and Laylee (the little purple bat) we already have two memorable protagonists – and in fact both will be voiced by Project Director Chris Sutherland who also memorably voiced Banjo and Kazooie.
Although the Kickstarter campaign has now finished it’s still possible to contribute and receive the lower rewards via Paypal. £5 gets your name included in the thank you credits, £10 guarantees you the game via Steam digital download while £15 gets you a download on the next-gen console of your choice. With Yooka-Laylee due for release in October 2016 now is definitely the time to add your input to what’s sure to be another fantastic 3D platforming adventure.
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