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Ex-Rare Developers Making Banjo-Kazooie Successor
What happens when former staff from Rare get together and make a studio? You get Playtonic, and they’re working on the spiritual successor to the beloved Banjo-Kazooie series.
Nintendolife reports that three key members of Playtonic sat down with EDGE magazine to talk about Rare, old games, and the N64’s golden era. Playtonic’s Gavin Price and Chris Sutherland tell EDGE their mission statement:
Imagine there’s an alternative timeline where Rare became independent instead of being bought by Microsoft. What would that company be like? What would it have gone on to become? That’s our ambition.
Pretty lofty goals here, but Price and Sutherland have the experience to back it up. They were both let go by what’s left of Rare last year. Credits between the two of them include Banjo Tooie, Viva Pinata, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Jet Force Gemini.
Other Rare alumni at Playtonic include Steve Mayles– creator of Banjo– and his brother Gregg, Steve Hurst, Mark Stevenson, and Jens Restemeier. Additionally, former Rare musician Grant Kirkhope will be helping out in some capacity as well.
The game itself is currently titled Project Ukulele. There aren’t many details other than Price’s description of “a game where you control a fun character, learn new skills, add some new twists to the genre, and also listen to Grant’s tunes!”
Playtonic is planning on a PC release and “certain” consoles, according to nintendolife. Price mentioned that he would be open to working with Nintendo again, just like Rare did years ago to put out some of the studio’s most acclaimed work.
Rare was acquired by Microsoft in 2002, where they became a 1st-party developer for the Xbox and Xbox 360. Layoffs hit the company after the flop of Kinect Sports Rivals. Many of those affected moved on to found or join other, smaller studios much like Price and Sutherland did.
The most recent Banjo-Kazooie title was Nuts & Bolts, released for the Xbox 360 in 2008. Since then, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo Tooie have been released on the Xbox Live Arcade in 2008 and 2009, respectively.