That all changed in May 2015. Playtonic Games, a small British team made up of former Rare employees, pitched a new platformer called Yooka-Laylee on Kickstarter. At their previous employer, they had worked on Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Country and Viva Pinata, all creative and well-received titles. Yooka-Laylee, they promised, would be a 3D platformer "rare-vival," bringing back the colorful words, collectibles and twin-protagonist gameplay that made the Banjo series so special.
The crowdfunding campaign was a huge success, raising over £2 million (roughly $2.6 million) and hitting all of its stretch goals, which included boss battles, local co-op and four-person multiplayer, as well as an orchestral score. Clearly, backers remembered Banjo with fondness and were willing to pay for a spiritual successor.
Since then, Insomniac has rebooted Ratchet & Clank, its weapon-centric space platformer, and Sony has announced a Crash Bandicoot 'N-Sane' remaster collection. Nintendo has chipped in too, unveiling Super Mario Odyssey, a successor to the likes of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, which is due to come out on the Switch this holiday. Yooka-Laylee, it seems, is at the center of a 3D platformer revival.
"3D platforming has its own subgenres, and they all satisfy a different itch."
"From our point of view it's coincidental," Gavin Price, creative lead at Playtonic says. "I would love to say we all got together and had a secret meeting, and said, 'Let's do this!' One big collaboration."
He continues, "But what's brilliant is that 3D platforming has its own subgenres, and they all satisfy a different itch. You have the action-platforming of Ratchet, the gymnastical approach of Mario and the open-world collecting of us. I feel confident that you could buy all of these games and not feel like you're playing the same game twice. They have this natural inventiveness and creativity that is purely unique to those titles and characters."