We had the opportunity to attend a presentation with Playtonic Games to see a gameplay demo of Yooka-Laylee. For those unfamiliar, Yooka-Laylee is considered by many to be a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. Kickstarted last year, Yooka-Laylee brings together many of the same talents from Rare, the people that made Banjo-Kazooie. From what I saw in my presentation, Yooka-Laylee is basically another Banjo-Kazooie game.
From the 3D platforming to the humor to the gibberish voice acting, Yooka-Laylee hits pretty much all the checkmarks one would expect from another Banjo-Kazooie game. That is not to say that there hasn't been some improvements and updating to bring that style of game into the modern gaming scene, but at its core those that played Banjo-Kazooie will be more than familiar with Yooka-Laylee.
The updating comes in the forms of convenience, expansion, and choice. As for convenience, the many different collectibles, resources, etc have been streamlined to contain far fewer so you are not having to deal with as much resource management. Collecting quills acts as your general currency, which you'll use for things like upgrading abilities.
One of the things stressed in the presentation was that players would have a great deal of choice, due in part to the upgrading of said abilities. Yooka-Laylee is looking to cater to many different playstyles, so you will be able to unlock any new moves and abilities at any time. You won't have to reach a certain level, or some other entry-barring thing, to get an ability. You just get what you want to play how you want.
We also saw a new mechanic in "tonics." Tonics function as temporary buffs you can use that are unlocked by objectives. These can be used to buff or change certain abilities, but will also be where you find things like "big bead" mode, as well.
In terms of expansion, Yooka-Laylee is going for an open-world level design. You'll have to go searching for new worlds to unlock after finding enough Pages (the in-game resource to unlock new stuff). From each level onward you can just keep collecting pages and opening up new worlds, or you can collect pages and make worlds you have already visited much larger. And I certainly mean much larger, at least for the level shown off in the demo presentation. It seemed to at least double in size, adding a ton of new places to explore and characters to interact with. Not only that, but there are many different ways you can alter the level yourself to open up new areas within.
That about sums up what we saw, and we can still expect to see Yooka-Laylee sometime early in 2017. We also had the opportunity to interview Andy Robinson, Writer and Comms Director over at Playtonic Games. Check out the interview below for more information on Yooka and Laylee as characters, the game, and more!
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