Playtonic Working on a Yooka-Laylee 2, Tencent Buys a Minor Stake
When it comes to collectathon platformers, there’s one series that has stood the test of time: Banjo-Kazooie. Made by Rare in the Nintendo 64 era of games, Banjo seemingly became one of the top titles for the console, giving players a charming, and humorous story that would become one of the classic titles for the Nintendo 64.
With the changing times and the acquisition of Rare by Microsoft, some of the developers working on the old titles have moved to other things. However, some of the veterans from the old days of the Nintendo 64 came together to make a new title. Asking to kickstart their new game, some of the developers of Banjo Kazooie banded together to form a company called Playtonic, and would then make the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee. This new 3D platformer would tell the story of Yooka the Chamelon and Laylee the Bat, who would function very similar to Banjo and his bird counterpart Kazooie. The two would then set off on an adventure to acquire pages of a book to travel to new worlds, and stop the evil Capital B. from taking a book they owned.
The game received mixed reviews, and while the developers consisted of an all-star cast, there was plenty of things wrong with the game. While it was made to be a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie, the game felt empty and stuck in the past. However, Playtonic didn’t give up with their characters, and would then go on to make another game entitled Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. This 2D game inspired by the Donkey Kong Country titles would be better received than its predecessor.
Playtonic eventually expanded into a publisher called Playtonic Friends, which would then publish games like Demon Turf, and BPM: Bullets Per Minute. However, despite now being a publisher, they will still be working on something new for players to sink their teeth into.
Yooka-Laylee Follow Up Announced
The developers recently announced that they were working on a Yooka-Laylee follow-up title, which is going to continue the story of Yooka and Laylee’s travels attempting to keep their precious book out of the hands of the evil corporation V.I.L.E. While this may seem like something that would be fitting for the game, being an indie developer, it seems that player’s interpretations of a real-life equivalent to V.I.L.E. is starting to take hold of the company.
Tencent Now Owns a Minor Stake in Playtonic
The company in question is Tencent, a massive Chinese gaming company that’s been a hotbed of controversy for a while now. Some of the more notable controversies with the company show Tencent has been guilty of copying other programs, such as the launch of their program QQ, which is a copy of AOL’s ICQ. Aside from this, Tencent is also known for buying out the majority of stock in companies like Riot Games, Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, SuperCell, and Bluehole. The company’s constant purchasing of stock in the company means that they’re going to choose what is going to go into the software made by these companies, which is something that many players look down on. On top of this, Tencent is also known for collaborating with the Chinese Communist Party, which means that they’re looking out for the government more than their consumers, which causes issues of censorship with the company, such as their lawsuit with the company TikTok, which accused Tencent of censoring videos against the CCP on their platform WeChat. In 2021, California sued Tencent for surveillance and censorship with their platform as well.
Needless to say, with all of these controversies underneath the belt of Tencent, seeing that they own a minor stake in a game developer like Playtonic has players apprehensive about the company’s future endeavors. However, Playtonic has mentioned that the company isn’t going to be making changes to the IP, and with this new investment, they’re going to be able to hire more people and work on more titles, one of which is going to be a follow-up to the original Yooka-Laylee.
So, what’s going to be next for Playtonic? It seems that with this new investment coming in from Tencent, Playtonic is still working on making more games, and since they’re not forced to bend to the whim of the company, they’re still free to do as they please. With Playtonic Friends publishing other independent titles, they’re still working on making more games under the official Playtonic umbrella. While it’s okay to be wary of the looming corporation over the developers, it seems that until Tencent starts taking a majority stake in the company, Playtonic is safe for now.