Interview with Playtonic Games @EGX 2016

Faz: Hello everyone, we’re here at EGX 2016, I’m here with some of the developers who have worked on Yooka Laylee.

We have:

Steve Mayals: Character Design and Animation

Chris Southern: Project director

Hamish Lockwood: Designer

Faz: Ok, so as we know about Yooka Laylee a lot of the developers that worked on Banjo Kazooie made this new studio to essentially, as an antithesis for Banjo Kazooie, is that correct?

Chris: So yeh erm, we (had) taken a game we used to work on, we want to make, wanted to modernise it. Outside, we wanted to bring that back, there’s nobody doing those  kinds of games anymore, erm so we thought we could do it with Playtonics So we launched a Kickstarter a couple of years ago and it’s taken off since then.

Faz: So what was the evolution like for you as a person who had worked on that (Banjo Kazooie and That Studio) one in comparison to this?

Chris: So what we wanted to do was bring a lot more player choice, and that means we made the game less linear, so things such as when you play out level, you don’t have to go collect everything in the level before you press on to the next one. You can tackle it, in whichever way in any order. We can’t just do that because then it would feel dated. So we added things to it. So we did things to it to make it feel more the same.

Faz: What was that like for you (to Steve)?

Steve: Amazingly similar, actually, it was a great experience to work on the banjo games and because we had complete autonomy people. Had real ownership with Banjo Kazooie and we, sometimes we lose that in a bigger company. And I know, (because) that had happened to me, so coming back to Playtonic we had a smaller team and everybody focused on what they were doing.  Gaining a bit of ownership on what they put in, (being) able to put into the games is a great thing.

Faz: Could you name one of the features you added in, that you have done to modernise this play style?

Steve: Like I said what we’ve done, is to ensure that the challenges you can be tackled in any order you can progress on from one level to the next you don’t have to finish everything on one level to move on to the next. Then also when you get back to it, you can expand it later the so there are more challenges (that) can be played out so you can enhance what your able to do. And on top of that we’ve also added a part called “Play tonics” which modifies the behaviour so you can change the way you play, so you maybe, you can enhance the power of a certain moves or if you put energy in certain areas, you gain those by completing certain challenges or quests throughout the game.

Faz: So you are one of the new designers on this game. (over to Hamesh)

Hamish: Yes

Faz: What has been your history with Banjo Kazooie and what’s that like.

Hamish: I grew up playing Banjo Kazooie, so I came to the company as a huge fan. And my passion is 3D platformers, so this is the exact kinda game I really want to make and to play more of. So it’s great there a more people who want to play more of, in future. So this is a great place to you know…

Faz: Is that confirming a sequel? (Haha)

Hamish: No No! haha! I’m talking about other developers, you know if this does well, more developer will want to make  3D platformers, which is good… good for me personally, but for the genre and video games.

Faz: Alright, I can understand that, with that being said what was it like transitioning from being a fan to a developer?

Hamish: Errr… It was a little bit intimidating, I mean these guys have been my heroes to me for quite a while. To come here to share a room with them, but then they’re really nice guys it’s been really cool just to work with them and learn an awful lot from this. Then after a while it just becomes the norm, and get a,  just to have a quick peep at the game and hope they love it really.

Faz: Overall, when it comes to Yooka Laylee,  If there was one dream for Yooka Laylee, what would you want that thing to be what would you want Yooka Laylee to represent?

Chris:  I want it to represent something that as many people can play as possible and enjoy. That’s all I want.

Hamish: I just like love seeing loads of colours in games again

Faz: It’s one of the things I really love about Yooka Laylee it’s vibrant it’s very colourful. Please bring more colour back, I want more colour back! (Haha)

And as a final thing,  for anyone who is a fan wanting to transition to being a developer, or anything along those lines, what do you recommend for those that want to be developers themselves?

Hamish: There’s a lot of tools online that are free and you know they could go on YouTube for tutorials, so it quite difficult to make a game but it’s easy to get started and start playing around with stuff and showing that your eager, that’ll help you get in.

Steve: Absolutely especially from the art point of view, it’s completely possible to do. You can do all your learning all online now. If you’re self-motivated to do that, you’re likely to find some fantastic courses out there. Free as well as paid, so it’s a great time to get into the industry.

Faz: Thank you very much for your time guys, I do hope you have a great time and have a wonderful show here and hope to see you guys next time.

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