Banjo-Kazooie 4? Basically! Enter: Yooka-Laylee! A Spiritual Successor created by the same developers who used to work at Rare, that created both Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country-Donkey Kong 64. They’ve formed a new studio called “Playtonic Games”, by ex-Rare veterans, and have managed to snag a powerful trio of talent: the character designer of Banjo & Donkey Kong Country (who came up with the “Yooka-Laylee” characters); as well as the iconic Killer Instinct announcer AND the soundtrack composers who made the infamous & beautiful, upbeat, diverse, and atmospheric music of both Banjo-Kazooie (Grant Kirkhope) and Donkey Kong Country (David Wise)! FANTASTIC!
Similar to the Bear & Bird-duo in Banjo-Kazooie, two characters attached to each other, one on the bottom (Banjo the Bear) and one on the top (Kazooie the Bird); who combine their strengths to help one another in the Banjo-Kazooie titles; Yooka-Laylee is the combined term for a new gaming duo created in similar fashion.
Yooka is a Chameleon who has a Bat named Laylee riding atop his head. As a chameleon, Yooka can use his tongue like a grappling hook to swing around the environment, and Laylee can use his wings to allow the duo to hover short distances. Other moves will also be available to help gamers explore the polygonal 3D Platformer world; which bears (pun not intended) a striking resemblance to what a modern Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor to the N64 games would look like.
If you aren’t familiar, the original “Banjo-Kazooie” was released way back in 1998 for Nintendo 64, followed by it’s sequel, “Banjo-Tooie”, in 2000 (N64).
Both games were huge critical & commercial successes; and helped to popularize, standardize and cement the “collect-a-thon” gameplay mechanic and polygonal 3D platformer gameplay started by Super Mario 64; by expanding on it with a natural progression to even larger worlds, more complex moves and tons upon tons of trinkets to collect. Both titles were million sellers on the N64 and part of the “Player’s Choice” line and remain flagship N64 titles proving the pedigree of both Nintendo & Rare’s 64-bit reign in the Platform genre.
A modern series reboot was finally made exclusively for Xbox 360 called “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” in 2008 as well.
Although critically acclaimed, the game didn’t see fantastic sales (selling close to 1 million copies, but probably not over that amount) and was a drastic change from the 3rd-person platformer gameplay that fans really wanted to see for a new Banjo title; and thus was a disappointment overall. Because of this, a fourth Banjo was never made by Microsoft, who owns Rare (creators of the original), and the beloved characters have been dead ever since 2008.
There was also an overhead platformer spin-off released for Game Boy Advance in 2003 called “Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge”; which played similarly to “Conker’s Pocket Tales” for Game Boy Color; and a Game Boy Advance racing game called “Banjo-Pilot” released in 2005 which was a Kart Racer, meant to kinda be the “Diddy Kong Racing” of the GBA. Both titles are little known, oft-forgotten and big commercial or critical hits.
It’s also worth noting that both Banjo-Kazooie & Banjo-Tooie were re-released by Microsoft on Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade. Banjo-Tooie in April of 2009 and Banjo-Kazooie in 2008; both featured graphical enhancements as well as some gameplay enhancements & fixes via connectivity between the two titles that was missing from the N64 versions.
However now we Banjo fans have what we have always wanted, coming in the form of Yooka-Laylee!
This spiritual successor, which will be made in the full spirit of the original N64 Banjo-Kazooie masterpiece, is currently under development by Playtonic Games, and will have a Kickstarter campaign that begins today!
That Kickstarter will allow Backers to snag the game for the low price of £10/$15 upon it’s completion, and will include other cool perks such as an Artbook, Soundtrack, and even a unique “64-bit” Special Edition version of Yooka-Laylee; which will “callback to the team’s N64 pedigree”. Whatever that means. But it all sounds very exciting!
If full funding is obtained, they plan to release the game on all current-gen platforms: Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC & Mac!
Further platforms, features and extras will no doubt be included in the stretch goals, depending on how successful their funding is!