Yooka-Laylee, Arriving Just in Time?

Let’s be honest, gaming is getting dull. Every year there’s a new Call of Duty, FIFA and Battlefield. The market is swamped with survival games, horror games, survival horror games, sandboxers, open worlders and exploration games. Zombies were once terrifying, but now they’re commonplace. When was the last decent adventure/platformer? Yooka-Laylee is coming at just the right time. It’s a breath of fresh air into a stagnant room.

Sure, adventure platformers are nothing new. Collectathon games have been around since Peach installed the infinite staircase, since Banjo pulled on his backpack. Yet you never see them. Link runs about saving Zelda, Mario goes on collecting stars. But you never see anything new. The odd mechanic here and there, a graphical overhaul or two. But you never see anything new.

Yooka-Laylee isn’t coming in as something new, but the return of something familiar. The game started on Kickstarter and was funded in 38 minutes. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know then hopefully this will. We WANT this game. The community WANT this game. We don’t want to be playing the same shooters, the same sports games. We want to remember what it was like to grab all the do-dads in a level and hear a cheerful jingle. To see the project receive £175,000 in 38 minutes is incredible. It shows how ready we are for the return of this genre.

Yooka-Laylee, Arriving Just in Time? - n3rdabl3

It passed £1,000,000 in 21 hours. Sure the game was being marketed as “the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie“, a much loved but short lived franchise. The fans of those games saw the potential but I don’t think they realised just what they were funding. As I’ve said, it’s not a new genre, but perhaps a dead one. I can think of no better way to revive a genre than with such a game. The development team being comprised mainly of veteran developers who worked on the originals is a huge strength.

Looking down the top games charts it’s all shooter clones and the misguided Final Fantasy series (You either love them or hate them). It’s quite sad to see. There aren’t any new IPs amongst them. Sure it’s rare to see a brand new IP soar to the top of the charts, but when they do they tend to be something unique and special.

I’m hoping Yooka-Laylee is the one to come through and usher in a new wave of older style games with fresh ideas. The market is ready for it, the fans clearly want it (38 minutes!). When you hear the Playtonic Games team talk about the project you can see the passion in their voices. You can feel their enthusiasm and energy. These guys are dedicated to what they’re doing and they love doing it.

I’m not saying gaming is dying, sales and profits in the field are higher than ever. What I am saying is that it’s becoming predictable and boring. There’s only so many grenades you can throw, terrorists you can stop before it just gets old. Yooka-Laylee is set to be the game that changes things. It’s colourful artstyle and cheerful music (stars thank you Grant Kirkhope) are going to bring that much needed life back into the market. Kick start (heh) a revolution of older gameplay coming back to the forefront.

Yooka-Laylee, Arriving Just in Time? - n3rdabl3

Remasters are being released all over the shot and it’s great. Seeing the old classics reskinned and given the loving care they deserve is brilliant! Crash Bandicoot is probably one of the most iconic early era of 3D platformers, seeing it getting re-made and brought to the modern day is incredible. Fans are going crazy for it.

We aren’t looking for new and innovative. Every year there might be a new future shooter, but I’m still gunna go back to playing the golden oldies. Nostalgia goggles are a powerful thing for sure, but they can’t always be wrong. The classics had their flaws but they were all the greater for them. They’re the old pair of trainers, battered and broken but comfortable and better fit than the shiny new pair you got for Christmas.

There’s a time for new and shiny, but there’s a time for old and worn too. It just means they’ve worked out the kinks, they know what they’re doing.