2015: The Return of the Platformer

A new fever pitch in platform gaming has arrived just in time. From the developers Rare, who worked on classic games such as Banjo Kazooie, comes what is being hailed as its spiritual successor, Yooka-Laylee, a game hopeful of bringing back platformers as the dominate genre in the gaming industry.

Playtonic Games will release Yooka-Laylee, a game about a lizard and a bat teaming up. This duo met the game’s funding goals through a Kickstarter campaign, which achieved its target within 40 minutes of going live and completed almost all of its further accomplishments in mere hours. All this rapid success took was a small group of former members of Rare to join forces and continue the work that the company was known best for back when they were making superior quality games on the Nintendo 64 consoles.

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This shows us that when it comes to the quality and maximum amount of content shoved into one game, we as gamers are not afraid to start shoveling boatloads of our own money into funding it. Big game publishers and developers can and should be taking notes, as this is a major feat in the history of gaming. Many big time platformers have disappeared for quite a while and the main reason behind this sudden absence of attendance on our consoles is game publishers think platformers have gone from being AAA titles to meager indie games that lack the ability to turn a profit.

The expedited surge in the massive growth in popularity of Yooka-Laylee from a simple announcement before we were even shown gameplay just proves that the previous statement is just not true. It might just be the nostalgic feeling Yooka-Laylee evokes in gamers that bring them back to their cherished N64 days, but many would agree that we were simply just being denied the pleasure of a good platforming game. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was a horrific deformed cousin of its predecessors to the point that if the original two games saw it coming down the street they would not only cross to the other side, but avoid all contact with it all together. When it was first teased that a new Banjo game was in development, however, fans of the series and platformer fans alike could not hold in their excitement. If anything diminished the popularity of platform games, it was cheap attempts to pawn off horribly developed games with the intent of selling the game off by brand name and nostalgic characters.

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Yooka-Laylee’s popularity proved how high the vogue surrounding platformers still is and for the past few years, video game developer Naughty Dog has teased the likelihood of a Crash Bandicoot game to be released for PS4 as well. With the swift surge of interest encompassing platformers, the possibility looks more likely each day. Additionally, the possibility of a proper Banjo-Kazooie sequel might be coming to the Xbox One in the near future as Ken Lobb, creative director of Microsoft Studios, said the company has plans to resurrect classic Rare titles sometime in the future. Rare also announced plans to reveal a brand new IP at E3 2015. The details are vague and surrounded in mystery, but with the comeback of platforms, we should anticipate a platforming experience to rival Yooka-Laylees.

Platformers are finally back! And if game developers know what’s good for business and their over-sized wallets, it is advised that they start to prepare to expand their company into this genre and bring future platforming classics