Playtonic is a new games studio comprised of veterans from the glory days of Rare, the company behind classic games like Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong Country and many more. Rare never failed to deliver stunning games but those glory years came to and end when they swapped hands between Nintendo and Microsoft.
They’ve reunited to do what they were loved for, they are bringing back the 3D action adventure genre! My personal favorite game genre and one that has been hard to find over the last 15 years. It’s called Project Ukulele, and it is love letter to Banjo Kazooie fans. It promises to be a premium gaming experience that will keep what worked and be true to their classic games but it will bring the genre up to date….and it’s almost certain to be coming to the Wii U!!!! If all that wasn’t good enough Project Ukulele promises to just be the start of something much bigger. Oh and the musicians are back. It really couldn’t get much better.
I’ve been waiting for this ever since Rare was brought by Microsoft and I suspect so have many other Nintendo fans. When Rare left we lost something ever so dear to us and even those of us that followed them to Xbox realised that even on a different platform, what we loved was over. Playtonic could be the revival of those glory years.
For me this looks to be my childhood reborn. I was 8 when the first Donkey Kong Country game came out and I followed them all the way through to Starfox Adventures. This is as much a nostalgia trip as knowing a game will be out soon that will undoubtedly be perfectly suited to my gaming tastes. Rare and Nintendo fans shouldn’t be the only one getting excited though.
Let be clear. Playtonic consists of some the very best. People who were part of teams whose games stood toe to toe with Nintendo’s finest and were often a whole lot better. That’s not fan boy sycophancy either, fellow games the developers the world over have immense respect for those who worked at Rare in the 90’s and online reviews will show you most people feel the same.
But something did go wrong when they ended up in Microsoft hands and the guys at Playtonic appear to recognise that if nothing else under Microsoft they weren’t doing what they did so well and what established their once loyal customer base. Rare still exists but these departed veterans are doing something about what was lost and isn’t ever coming back. After 15 years, our bodies are more than ready.
Project Ukulele is like a gift from the gods, and the chances it will be a flop are minuscule. My money says we’re going to see something magic that is going to rewrite the rulebook on 3D platformers and with any luck revive the genre so it’s not just left up to Mario to carry the torch!
This new British company is going to be one to watch. In 10 years I reckon Playtonic are going to be as talked about as Rare once was. We’ll be saying the spirit of Rare has been revived – and with any luck they will take their rightful place by Nintendo’s side.
Bring it on!