It was only a few years ago that, frustrated at their treatment after Rare’s acquisition by Microsoft, a number of developers got together and founded a new development studio: Playtonic Games. They’ve since made two games that each riff on Rare’s old successes, and while the first one was hit or miss, the second one turned out to be amazing. It goes to show that the old team still has its magic. Today, Playtonic announced on Twitter that another old pal is joining the crew: character artist Ed Bryan.
Ed Bryan and Playtonic
Ed was a character artist for Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, creating such memorable characters as Mumbo Jumbo and the Jingos. He also worked on Donkey Kong 64 and contributed the design of Dr. Puzz to the Yooka-Laylee series.
Playtonic has already announced its intention to continue the Yooka-Laylee series, so it’s great to see another former Rare developer behind the scenes. Presumably, he will contribute his iconic style to the duo’s adventures. With Ed Bryan joining what’s gradually becoming Rare 2.0, we may even see a 3-D platforming collectathon that will be a true successor to Banjo-Kazooie.
I’ll be honest here. I’ve never played a Banjo-Kazooie game, though they were in my periphery in the late ’90s and early ’00s. I picked up Yooka-Laylee because of the pedigree behind the development team. While I wasn’t disappointed, it felt like a nostalgia grab. I’m glad I still got Impossible Lair, though, as the team clearly put a lot of love and care into making a game that furthers its genre, rather than just sitting in it. Ed Bryan joining Playtonic is a signal that they’ve heard the fans loud and clear. They clearly want to make new games that honor the old traditions while standing on their own.
What about you? Are you excited for Ed Bryan joining Playtonic? Are you looking forward to the continuing adventures of Yooka-Laylee with more of Rare’s old team on the staff? Let us know!