There’s a lot of work that goes into making games that isn’t, y’know, making the game. Marketing, testing, localisation and reams of business stuff that the greatest game in the world won’t survive – or even release – without. The ex-Rare folks at Yooka-Laylee studio Playtronic know this and have partnered with Team17 to help deal with that stuff and publish the £2 million Kickstarter success story and spiritual sequel to the Banjo-Kazooie franchise.
In a post on their blog, Playtronic break down the reasons behind the partnership and why it’s a good thing for backers, potential buyers and everyone else. Essentially it boils down to the game designers, artists and coders at Playtronic not having the know-how or requisite free time to deal with many of the issues outlined above. As creative lead Gavin Price puts it:
“Nobody wants [art director] Kev Bayliss searching for bugs all day, or [composer] Grant Kirkhope attempting to translate a joke into Portuguese – you want them focussed on creating a great game”
He’s quick to point out that not only does the studio still retain independence (and, presumably, ownership of the Yooka-Laylee IP) but that the game itself ist still 100% funded via Kickstarter. While that’s technically true, the services that Team17 are providing would have had to be paid for otherwise so there is some definable monetary value they’re providing, even if it’s a nebulous collection of man-hours and resources.
Team17 are also considering a boxed release of the game. They say there’s demand, though the blog states there’s no firm plans as of yet and it’s likely Yooka-Laylee will launch digital-only, with other options explored afterwards. Exactly which high street stores will still exist by that point is anyone’s guess.
Still, anything that lets developers focus on developing I can get behind. Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter pitch stated October 2016 as the release date. While this partnership improves the chances of that happening, I’d still bet on early 2017 before we’re playing.