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Image via Rare/Nintendo

Banjo & Kazooie were going to feature in Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic dev reveals

Justice for Klungo.

Ever since its foundation in 2014, Playtonic was always seen as something of a spiritual successor to the golden age of Rare — its founders were all ex-employees of the beloved UK game developer, and they were soon joined by several others as it began work on its new offerings. Indeed, the first game to the studio’s name was itself a loving tribute to the Banjo-Kazooie series, the much-vaunted 3D platformer from the halcyon days of the Nintendo 64. Of course, with the actual characters of Banjo and Kazooie confined by the restrictive red tape of intellectual property law, Playtonic had to come up with their own colorful (and legally distinct) protagonists. But it seems that wasn’t always the case.

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In a spontaneous ask-me-anything session on Twitter today, former Playtonic writer and current owner/editor of VGC Andy Robinson spilled a very modest amount of beans regarding the development of Yooka-Laylee. In response to the question “What’s your favorite behind the scenes story from when you were at PlayTonics [sic] when Yoka-Laylee [sic] was in development?” Robinson enigmatically replied, “When Banjo-Kazooie was going to be in it, and then wasn’t.” No further elaboration was made, so whether the involvement Robinson referred to was a mere cameo appearance or even an initial plan for the game to be an actual title in the Banjo series is unclear. Still, whatever the plans, it appears they were abandoned at some stage in development.

Another reply in Robinson’s AMA sheds a little light, though. In response to a follower asking “Why the heck hasn’t banjo been brought back yet?” Robinson revealed that the answer was twofold. Firstly, the characters’ creator reportedly has no interest in revisiting the Banjoverse, and secondly, Playtonic’s newer staff don’t have the same connection to the property that the initial wave of ex-Rare devs did, and so wished to work on new projects instead. That is certainly disappointing for Banjo fans, but hope springs eternal for that elusive Banjo-Threeie.

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