We are all looking forward to see the results of Playtonic Games first creation which is dubbed Project Ukulele. The team have announced that their Kickstarter will go live on May 1st which is presumably when they will lift the lid on the project as well as the two main characters.
Thanks, Luma Party and KomaruTheHylian
Playtonic, the team made up of talented Rare developers, has started a new campaign on Twitter to try to get Banjo to star in Super Smash Bros. You may remember that Xbox chief Phil Spencer was all for Banjo appearing in the brawler and said he would be happy to work with Nintendo on this. Which character do you want to see in the Super Smash Bros DLC?
Playtonic, the promising ex-Rare developers behind Project Ukulele, have been interviewed by The Guardian. There’s a wealth of information contained within the interview, especially about Rare of the past and of the present. Interestingly one of the former staff members says that Microsoft gave Rare more freedom than they had with Nintendo. You can read the full interview, right here.
“I still chat to them, I know what they were working on when I left last year,” says Playtonic’s studio head, Gavin Price, who worked for Rare for 20 years, having joined as a tester in the 1990s. “It sounds really good.”
“I want them to do well,” says Price. “They’re mates and we left them behind to come and do this. I’m looking forward to what they’re doing next – people will be really happy to see it.” Asked whether it would be a Kinect-focused title, like the studio’s other recent projects, he replied: “I can’t say for sure what they are or aren’t doing with that piece of hardware that Microsoft isn’t supporting much anymore.”
The team has also talked about including a vast range of non-player characters in Project Ukulele, who will then star in their own spin-off titles. Intriguingly, they have even expressed an interest in working with Rare again in some capacity. “You never know, there are some good old mates of ours down the road, they may might want to do a little multi-studio collaboration,” says Price. “We’re just going to be open minded. We’re not trying to look too far ahead. We’ll make the right decision when we get there.”
“For me, it was more about [Rare founders] Tim and Chris Stamper leaving,” says Playtonic technical director Jens Restemeier, who worked at Rare handling handheld conversions of key titles. “There was no sense of progression about what the company was going to do from that point on. The story people want to hear is that Microsoft came in and destroyed everything. It wasn’t like that. They gave us freedom, almost more freedom than Nintendo gave us.”
We were all overjoyed to know that a batch of former Rare developers were hard at work developing their own spiritual successor to the classic Banjo Kazooie. We know that the team is called PlayTonic and you can follow their Twitter account here. PlayTonic have revealed that the 3D platformer will be coming to PC and also consoles. The team told EDGE magazine that “There’s been so much pent-up passion for doing something like this, because we’ve all been sat on a lot of these ideas since Banjo-Tooie came out,” We should get more information on the game soon, but for now be sure to check out the concept art.
Former Rare games coder and Nyamyam co-founder Phil Tossell has claimed that Nintendo were once “quite envious” of Rare’s technical ability and artistic design within their hit games. After becoming a second-party developer for Nintendo in the early ’90s, Rare had success with Donkey Kong Country, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Starfox Adventures to name but a few, though it was Banjo-Kazooie that really kicked up a storm on the N64.
According to a RetroGamer interview, Phil Tossell, while working at Rare, said Shigeru Miyamoto often visited the studio regularly and heard a startling rumour that Nintendo revised their textures on Zelda after seeing Rare’s game development.
“Nintendo were often quite envious of us. I got the feeling they thought our games were technically and artistically superior to theirs. Miyamoto would visit regularly and I heard a rumor they redid all of the textures on Zelda after they’d seen our work on Banjo-Kazooie because our game looked better!”
Phil Tossell, a former programmer at Rare who worked on notable titles such as Donkey Kong Country and Star Fox Adventures, has openly talked about his experiences after being taken over by Microsoft. Tossell says that the company were initially determined to create titles that gamers had always expected from the company, however Microsoft told them to make the games they had always made for an audience that basically didn’t want those types of games.
“We were being asked to make the games we’d always made for an audience that didn’t want those sort of games. The reason we did Black Widow, Crackdown and aged up Kameo was because we were trying to bridge that gap but Microsoft wouldn’t let us.”
Creative director of Rare, Simon Woodrooffe, has stated that he wants Kinect Sports Rivals for Xbox One to stand the test of time the same way Nintendo’s Wii Sports and Mario Kart games have. Much like Wii Sports, Kinect Sports Rivals features sports-based mini games like soccer and bowling. The title, which was recently delayed from this holiday season to Spring 2014, is the follow-up to 2010’s Kinect Sports. Woodrooffe said he hopes gamers are still purchasing the game along with an Xbox One console for years to come. Here are the director’s full comments on the matter:
“We think–well, we hope–that this is the sort of game that’s still one of the first things that anyone who buys an Xbox One gets even two or three years from now…sort of like Wii Sports and Mario Kart for the Wii.”