Chameleons, And Bats, And Crowd-Funding…Oh My!


By: Kristen Olson

Within 40 minutes of launching, the Yooka-Laylee game project had earned £270,000. Within a few hours, £670,000. After two days, gamers bore tattoos of the musical score and petitioned for the right for marriage between man and animal. (Okay, that last sentence isn’t true, but folks are excited, darn it!)

So what’s this Kickstarter really about? Two pals: an anthropomorphic chameleon, Yooka, and his sassy-bat gal pal, Laylee. It’s Yooka-Laylee: the spiritual successor of Studio Rare’s beloved 3D platforming game Banjo-Koozie and the crowd-funding love-child on its way to becoming the biggest Kickstarter video game project ever. The game’s acclaim is largely due to its team of renowned gaming-greats and the lack of good 3D platforming games in recent years. Playtonic Games is made up of Steve Mayles and Chris Sutherland (the character artist and lead programmer of Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country), Gavin Price (creative lead on Viva Piñata and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts ‘n Bolts), and several other former Rare developers.

Similar to Banjo-Koozie, the game will feature two protagonists exploring a vibrant 3D platforming world. This time around, programmers Mayles, Sutherland, and the gang have much more in store.

Just two days after project launch, the final £1 million ($1.5 million) stretch goals have already been met, meaning gamers can expect to enjoy: day-one release on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One and Wii U, an old-school N64 shader mode, and a “new Grant Kirkhope DK Rap” for the endgame credits.

According to funding-analytic site, Kicktraq, Yooka-Laylee is on track to raise more than $25 million within its 46-day run. By the time you have to pay rent next month, it will probably go down as the highest-earning video game project Kickstarter has ever seen, surpassing current place-holders like Exploding Kittens (8.7M), the Ouya game console (8.5M), and Torment: Tides of Numenera which raised 4.1M.

With both stagnant and stretch goals completely surpassed, it seems safe to say more levels, day-one releases on more consoles, or even a Yooka-Laylee anime could be in store. Who knows? If enough people name it, the Yooka-Laylee programming team is so delighted with current results, you may just get it.