Hello there! We are Playtonic games, a new studio formed by the creative talent behind the Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country games, plus many wonderful others. We left Rare because we wanted to once again create the kind of games we loved making; 3D platformer adventures with massive googly eyes everywhere. Currently we’re running a Kickstarter for our new game Yooka-Laylee! We have virtually the entire Playtonic team crammed in front of a laptop so please, go ahead and ask us anything before we all get cramp.

Proof 1 Proof 2

FINISHED: Thank you for your questions and feel free to follow us on Twitter!

Comments: 1432 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

BlakeSwift522 karma

In Banjo Kazooie there is an audio file that isn't coded to anything, it's just in the sound archive of two guys saying "Steven Mayles, boys and tails" and it's been heavily slowed down. What does this actually mean and why is it in the game?

PlaytonicGames534 karma

[Steve Mayles] Ask Grant.

foolsgold64428 karma

During the development of Banjo-Kazooie, what inspired you to have the player control a character duo instead of a single character?

PlaytonicGames867 karma

[Steve Mayles] Banjo was already designed with a backpack and we needed a double jump, so we just had some wings come out of it. Then later we needed a fast run move so had some legs come out. Eventually it just made sense to have a whole character in there... it was never the plan to start with! ([Gavin Price:] This is a good example of naturally evolving game design)

foolsgold64354 karma

During your tenure at Rare, it was a notoriously secretive studio. Any juicy bits from those days you can reveal now? Scrapped projects, internal drama, anything like that? Do Playtonic plan to maintain an air of mystery? Is secrecy a conscious choice or a side-effect of how you naturally operate?

Thanks for doing this AMA! Super geeked for Y-K, and glad to see some of my all-time favorite game makers back together under one roof.

PlaytonicGames631 karma

[Chris Sutherland] Re: Internal drama: Towards the end of Donkey Kong Country, we had to prepare a build to send to Nintendo so we were working all days - it was a Saturday morning and I awoke to hear a noise at my window, which was odd as I was in a first floor flat. It was Gregg Mayles and Tim Stamper throwing stones at my window! I had overslept and they had driven around to wake me up! I rushed in and Tim had bought a fast food breakfast and placed it on my desk so I could get started typing right away!

angrysprinkles353 karma

Hey Playtonic! Your team is behind some of the most amazing games of all time and I am so excitied to see what Yooka-Laylee has to offer. Anyways, I have a few questions if you would be so kind.
1. What is the philosophy your team lives by when making a game?
2. What is a genre of video games you have not taken on that your team would be interested in trying down the road?
3. What do you think about the modern video game community as a whole? Is the community more toxic? Any improvement?
That is all I have. Thanks for being here and I hope you like the r/yookalaylee subreddit we made for your work. We all wish Playtonic the best in luck for all you do!

PlaytonicGames385 karma

  1. Gameplay first.
  2. Survival horror... in a volcano!
  3. Our community is one of the most positive places on the internet.

brainfreeze91311 karma

We've seen so far a Jungle world and concept art for an Ice world. Both look spectacular, and I can't wait to explore every corner of them! Will we also see levels that are more strange in nature, like Clanker's Cavern (based around a giant garbage shark) and Witchyworld (an evil theme park)?

Thanks for the AMA!

PlaytonicGames348 karma

[Gavin Price] Yes.

TheMasterDS288 karma

You've mentioned in passing that Yooka's color change ability might change his properties. Is that basically to say that Yooka's colors will be like Kazooie's shoes only they don't disable your other moves? Like if you became stone you'd still be able to roll albeit slower and with more wall knock downery.

PlaytonicGames626 karma

[Andy Robinson] Well done: We are absolutely going to use the phrase "wall knock downery" in the game.

Kshnobi254 karma

Hey Playtonic Games! Your team has created some of my favourite games ever, from Banjo to the DKCs, so I'm super excited about Yooka-Laylee! I always appreciate the 'Rareware' humour and secrets scattered around your games. My question is, can we expect to see any easter egg nods to old Rareware games in Yooka-Laylee? Such as the banjo and kazooie instruments inside Yooka's home?

PlaytonicGames739 karma

Only ones that don't get us sued.

The_Average_Hero253 karma

What's the creative process behind coming up with all the grunts and guffaws that make up every individual characters voice?

PlaytonicGames558 karma

[Chris Sutherland] Honestly, we just make stupid noises in the office and see which ones get the most laughs!

KarmaCharrmeleon229 karma

Will the main antagonist for yooka laylee rhyme?

PlaytonicGames559 karma

[Andy Robinson] Well dear redditer, that question's the best, and to your point, the answer is... maybe.

Jsnyderx215 karma

Has Rare contacted you guys at all? If so, has it been positive or negative?

PlaytonicGames368 karma

[Gavin Price] Well Gregg Mayles sent his CV in the other day... joking! We still have friends at Rare, some of whom pop in to check on us from time to time. So far we've failed to persuade any of them to smuggle over honey from the on-site bee hive.

Hello_Peasants195 karma

As the creators of the original DK Countrys, how do you feel about the rebooted series on the wii/wiiu?

PlaytonicGames482 karma

[Mark Stevenson] Retro has done a really great job of capturing the spirit of the originals. I wish there were more Kremlins though!

DeoGame162 karma

How many eyes does Trowser have?

PlaytonicGames203 karma

Definitely two.

solphied131 karma

Hey guys. I'm just gonna put this out there. What's with the hidden penis in Banjo-Kazooie? Big fan btw.

PlaytonicGames286 karma

[Gavin Price] Steven Hurst claims the Terrydactyland one was an accident. The rest he probably snuck it, the cheeky git.

Yavga131 karma

This discussion exploded at Playtonic forums without end in sight, save the day: Will the game use blob or dynamic shadows?

PlaytonicGames256 karma

[Jens Restemeier] We're going to have both. Argument solved! Blob helps with platforming and dynamic will kill the framerate.

KaiserKMPunk125 karma

What other animal combinations did you have before deciding on a chameleon and bat?

PlaytonicGames217 karma

[Steve Mayles] My initial idea was a tiger as they are great-looking animals, but he never got past the sketch phase. He was deemed a bit too much of a ‘hero’ when all of my past characters were more like underdogs. We even tried a witch and a broom with eyes at one point!

reversalmushroom124 karma

This character appears in some of the DKC2 promo art, but isn't actually in the game:


What's his story?

PlaytonicGames224 karma

[Steve Mayles] He was replaced with the giant skeleton that chases you on the fairground level.

DamonDeLarge115 karma

Are you guys gonna try and push the limit with immature humour in this game??

PlaytonicGames237 karma

[Andy Robinson] We're aiming for an E10 rating... so whatever we can get away with!

fede01_8101 karma

Did Microsoft kill Rare?

PlaytonicGames193 karma

[Gavin Price] From my perspective Microsoft were always really supportive and positive. All of the creative decisions since the buyout were made by Rare management and Microsoft backed them. There are a lot of talented people at Rare and we're really looking forward to seeing what they've got to show at E3.

GaiaPrevails95 karma

I'd like to lay something close to your heart, something that some developers never think about if it doesn't affect them: making the game playable for handicapped people by giving the ability to remap the controls for non-ablebodied hands. In an interview you already mentioned a jinjo-equivalent audio-based puzzle (the ghost writers?), which is fine of course as they can be found regularly as well. But there isn't much that can be done for the hearing impaired people, but reduce high frequency sounds to lower ones, reducing unnecesary ones and loudening up the important but quieter ones. And lastly colorblindness. It's a bright and cheerful game, but the graphic team might want to check out what it looks like with various colorblindness filters and adapt it at least somewhat to it, or actually implement a colorblind mode for the more common types there are. None of these things have to be implemented of course, as especially the audio one would more than double the workload.

What will be done for handicapped players?

PlaytonicGames253 karma

[Gavin Price] This is something that's incredibly important to us and we're actively listening to handicapped fans to make sure our game is as accessible as possible to them. We've already planned features and settings based around this feedback. In fact, our world artist Steven Hurst is colour blind. He says that's why we have pink trees.

themusicdan93 karma

What is the creative process like? Banjo-Kazooie and the DKC series are such detailed games with witty dialog, scenic environments, and easter eggs galore! It seems like no ideas ever get cut from the final product.

PlaytonicGames148 karma

[Gavin Price] We don't try and make the entire game all up front - we evolve ideas as development progresses and the need for them arises. If you do it that way, you can spin new ideas off the back of your work in progresses. In comparison, I feel that planning everything up front can sometimes restrict your creativity.

DPalmer210089 karma

You're charging $15 for the base game. Should we assume that to give us a sense of how big the game will be? Or can we expect a game as big as a full priced Banjo-Kazooie? Something in the middle perhaps?

PlaytonicGames210 karma

[Gavin Price] $15 is a special Kickstater price. The aim is, with the amazing support we've had from fans, to now make Yooka-Laylee bigger than Banjo-Kazooie.

magentaamethyst85 karma

Which Kazooie and Tooie worlds are your personal favourites?

PlaytonicGames211 karma

[Steve Mayles] I've always liked Treasure Trove Cove because you got to fly for the first time, which was a great moment. Jolly Roger's Lagoon is my fav in Tooie because Captain Blackeye made an appearance - originally he was drunk but we had to change it to seasick!

Nanotchi79 karma

Will we see a very specific fish tapping on a bowl?

PlaytonicGames117 karma

[Gavin Price] Such an incredible character deserves their own game!

shogun_of_truth73 karma

Any idea if the original N64 version of Dinosaur Planet is out there somewhere...? I was so crushed when half the content got cut and it was turned into a Star Fox game. It was good, but I wanted the original.

PlaytonicGames92 karma

[Gavin Price] I remember playing it a lot, but it was never completed on N64. The framerate was pretty bad at that early stage! Maybe Tim Stamper has a version somewhere.

JudasBooth67 karma

Will there be some type of quiz show at the end of Yooka-Laylee?

PlaytonicGames123 karma

[Andy Robinson] Yes and we have some clever ideas for it... !

sarioc66 karma

In Banjo-Kazooie, does the picture in banjo's house represent the original concept of the game like rumored? Or is it something else?

PlaytonicGames94 karma

[Steve Mayles] I think one of them may have been from Dream, yes.

Linkums60 karma

If you had one of Banjo & Kazooie's abilities in real life, which would you want to have?

PlaytonicGames157 karma

[Gavin Price] Wonderwing so I could walk into people down the highstreet. Pooping eggs would save on the shopping bill too.

bashothebanana58 karma

Grant Kirkhope once told me to ask Robin Beanland about "Baldy Nozz"...what does this mean?

PlaytonicGames94 karma

[Steve Mayles] That's a nickname for [fellow Rare composer] Graeme Norgate. I think it came about when one day Grant was calling out 'baldy!' at Graeme and at that exact moment Chris Stamper - who is also bald - walked in, so he had to quickly stick 'Nozz' on the end.

ZchmeKko58 karma

What tips do you have for aspiring game developers?

PlaytonicGames138 karma

[Gavin Price] Go and make something - even if it's a mod - and if it's good you'll get noticed.

ObviouslyMisinformed58 karma

Do any of you guys hold the secrets to actually obtaining the secret eggs and the ice key in Banjo Kazooie?

I don't care if they are completely useless. I just want them.

PlaytonicGames66 karma

[Gavin Price] I didn't get to use SNS in Tooie, but I did get to bring the ice key into DK64 as a tester! That feature was canned obviously.

Yavga57 karma

Will there be a DRM-free version (GOG)?

PlaytonicGames81 karma

[Gavin Price] Watch this space.

TheMasterDS51 karma

If there are dinosaurs in the game is there any chance they can have feathers like everyone knows they actually did? Leathery dinosaurs were cool in DKR, Tooie and Dinosaur Planet, but wouldn't it be cool to have more modern dinosaurs should you use them a 4th time?

PlaytonicGames110 karma

[Mark Stevenson] I've already designed a dinosaur and I'm afraid he doesn't have feathers. Too many polygons.

pmeledeo46 karma

I've heard about a few of the BT worlds that were originally planned to be in BK. Are there any other worlds that were worked on or at least planned for BK and BT that didn't make the final games?

PlaytonicGames86 karma

[Mark Stevenson] There was definitely nothing worked on. I think Crystal Caves in DK64 might have originally started off as a Banjo-Kazooie world though.

person279045 karma

2 questions from me, sorry to make life difficult Do you have any other characters planned out so far that you're ready to reveal? Also do you have any concept ideas planned for the main villain(s) on what kind of creature he/she/they will be?

PlaytonicGames60 karma

[Andy Robinson] yes and yes.

fastforward2336 karma

Any plans for controller support in the PC version of the game?

PlaytonicGames110 karma

We're currently playing using Xbox 360 controllers!

jiehnav29 karma

Any of you had some experience with Unity before working on Yooka-Laylee? If not, how difficult/easy was it to learn it? What is your favourite thing about working with this engine?

PlaytonicGames47 karma

[Jens] I worked with Unity 4 before. It's useful because you can start making your game straight away without wasting any time.

chureniacko28 karma

hello....congratulations for all of you...my question is for Chris Sutherland, please answer me..... do you like your previous work in Killer instinct? and now that you are not part of rare, you will continue to work as the voice of the announcer, for futures seasons or games of the franchise? i know is a yooka laylee AMA sorry but i need to make this questions. Best witches for everyone and i'm waiting anxiously your game.... greeting from Chile!!

PlaytonicGames45 karma

[Chris Sutherland] I really enjoyed the previous Killer Instinct work - although it did make me a bit hoarse after each recording session as it usually involved a lot of shouting! I was an alternative announcer in the Killer Instinct reboot by Double Helix and Iron Galaxy, which was fun to record too! I don't know any info about future plans for that franchise though!

KremlingForce26 karma

Why does Steve(n) have the nickname Winky? Is it an affinity for the enormous frog, or is he just extremely precocious?

Thanks in advance for answering this and all the other hard-hitting questions.

Chad M (DK Vine)

PlaytonicGames66 karma

[Steve Mayles] I honestly don't know. It's just Grant being a plonker. He also calls me 'Sluggy', which isn't very nice.

dalekninja23 karma

What has been your favourite game to develop for and what has been your least favourite?

PlaytonicGames50 karma

[Jens] Fav: DKC for GBC because it was my first. Least Fav: DK Pilot, because the tilt controls were broken!

GamingAori20 karma

who had the idea for the company playtonic games? and had you contact to the other people all time? what think the team about speedruns of old rare games? do you hope that people speedrun yooka laylee?

PlaytonicGames46 karma

[Gavin Price] I started in testing so I've always really liked speedruns. We'll definitely be putting something in the game for them at some point.

infinitelives18 karma

What is the official word on the content included in the Kickstarter reward tiers from £30 – £55? The phrasing implies that those tiers come with both a console and PC copy, however the recently launched alternate PayPal-backing page doesn't include the same phrasing. The communication from Playtonic has been and still is mixed, and I feel this would be a good opportunity to straighten things out.

I feel that if those tiers don't come with both a PC and console copy, that's fine, but I think the Kickstarter reward tier descriptions should be updated to reflect that.

PlaytonicGames37 karma

[Chris Sutherland] Unfortunately Kickstarter won't allow us to update the actual reward text post-launch, but if you check the reward graphic on our Kickstarter page that should be a bit more clear. Thanks for your support.

Zetsu0414 karma

Which football club(s) do you guys support? just curious =)

PlaytonicGames23 karma

We all support West Ham.

Miriam-TheOrphan9 karma

Is there anything that you've always wanted to include in a past game but never had the chance to?

Huge fan of your games.

PlaytonicGames46 karma

[Chris Sutherland] A chameleon and a bat.

canuckho9 karma

Hey guys! Really stoked for this game, thanks so much for coming back and making my dreams for another banjo game come true. I was curious as to why there are no physical copies for xbox one and ps4, Im speaking on behalf of many game collectors in saying that physical copies would be HUGE! My question is, will there be any chance of having physical copies for this game? Cheers (:

PlaytonicGames26 karma

[Gavin Price] We would love to be able to do it at some point if we can, but for launch it would mean having to finish the game 2 months earlier in order to get the discs printed. We want more time to make the game!

fede01_85 karma

Will the game have strong, female characters?

PlaytonicGames25 karma

[Andy Robinson] Laylee's pretty strong. I wouldn't want to fight her.