So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Discussion and feedback for Playtonic's debut game, platformer adventure game Yooka-Laylee!
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chameleojack
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So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby chameleojack » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:34 am

I have some concerns about calling literal game-changing items "Playtonics", and the implied tone of the narrative which that choice makes.

(Btw, all who wish to simply retort "iT's RaRe! I'd EaT tUrDs oUt Of A cAn If ThOsE gUyZ sH** it!": Please don't bother contributing.)

I worry that too many explicit references to the Man Behind the Curtain (Playtonic, the Player, Reality) will only undermine immersion in Yooka Laylee's offbeat world, and distract from whatever plight the duo and their world are actually in. Banjo Kazooie had fun, 4th wall-breaking dialog jokes, but they never sacrificed suspension-of-disbelief to do it. Conker's Bad Fur Day, on the other hand, never ceased trying to let the player in on the joke. Conker always reminded the player that he was just a regular guy stumbling through poorly-concieved set pieces. I thought that game had its moments, but its incessant attempts to make fun of gameplay through senseless dialog, puzzles, and a narrative that was written up and over the 4th wall, was suffocating. It was as if in order to make fun of shallow, mediocre ideas, the designers felt the need to embrace them. As a consequence, from beginning to end, I never really knew what the stakes were or cared about anyone or fulfilling any goal.
...
Going tangentially off topic.
Point being, I am hoping Yooka Laylee's world is as mesmerizing and mysterious as Banjo's, which despite many good cracks at the 4th Wall, left it mostly intact. I think Yooka Laylee would only benefit from items which originate within its own universe and serve the narrative EQUALLY AS MUCH AS function. The inclusion of "Playtonics" and "Arcade Machines" are inherently alien to their universe, so I only hope Playtonic [Games] are keeping their eye on the ball for the rest of the gameplay and avoiding the pitfalls of Conker and Nuts & Bolts.

Let Yooka Laylee be the story of Yooka and Laylee's journey, not the incessantly cheaky story of Playtonic giving Players the kind of Gameplay they miss.

And yes, they could very well be focussed on this already, and "Playtonics" and arcade machines are just fun exceptions to the rule.

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dotEXE
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby dotEXE » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:23 am

This is RARE's devs. The fourth wall had always been transparent if not totally broken for them. Also DK64 had arcade machines. Go play their old games and get back to us.
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby dance1211 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:31 am

I don't see Playtonics as 4th wall breaking at all because it's only in name. You can make the argument that it's coincidence (it's obviously not but you still can). The name dropping is most likely going to be the same as Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie were the Rare logo was on a load of boxes. I would much prefer subtle references than the sign from the recent gameplay videos but I'm sure Playtonic know what they're doing and what to add to this game.

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Taylor
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby Taylor » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:28 pm

I think of Play Tonics in a similar way as the RARE letter collectibles in DKC. It won't break the fourth wall too much -- relax.
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Salty Joe
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby Salty Joe » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:54 pm

Really? Banjo Tooie never, ever shuts up about being a game, and being the sequel to Banjo-Kazooie. Maybe play that and see???
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chameleojack
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby chameleojack » Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:00 am

dotEXE wrote:This is RARE's devs. The fourth wall had always been transparent if not totally broken for them. Also DK64 had arcade machines. Go play their old games and get back to us.


Uh, no. That game looks incredibly tedious on Youtube and completely phoned-in. I really thought it must have preceded Banjo-Kazooie, in fact, b.c. it looked so slapped together and the story seemed an afterthought. I've been playing Rare games since DCK but never took to DK64. Don't regret it.

Taylor wrote:I think of Play Tonics in a similar way as the RARE letter collectibles in DKC. It won't break the fourth wall too much -- relax.


I don't think it will on its own. The item name "playtonic" (which is supposed to shake up gameplay in some way, if I recall), so do the characters know they're just characters in a game? I said repeatedly that my concern was the design approach implied by the name and the fact that many of their more recent platformers seemed to hold Story in contempt. Do Yooka-Laylee see themselves primarily as individuals with agency and ambitions (good), or as irritated extensions of the player, a la Conker (bad)?

Salty Joe wrote:Really? Banjo Tooie never, ever shuts up about being a game, and being the sequel to Banjo-Kazooie. Maybe play that and see???


I played the sequel in a McDonald's when I was 13 and thought the venue suited it. What's your point again?

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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby Salty Joe » Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:35 am

chameleojack wrote:I played the sequel in a McDonald's when I was 13 and thought the venue suited it. What's your point again?

That the Banjo-Kazooie series constantly broke the fourth wall and referred to itself as a game full of characters. I haven't played Conker so I don't know what that game is like in terms of how it breaks the fourth wall, but I think the general consensus here is that if it's made by people from Rare, it will break the fourth wall quite freely. :P
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby Taylor » Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:25 pm

chameleojack wrote:I don't think it will on its own. The item name "playtonic" (which is supposed to shake up gameplay in some way, if I recall), so do the characters know they're just characters in a game? I said repeatedly that my concern was the design approach implied by the name and the fact that many of their more recent platformers seemed to hold Story in contempt. Do Yooka-Laylee see themselves primarily as individuals with agency and ambitions (good), or as irritated extensions of the player, a la Conker (bad)?


You're thinking about it too deeply. Just because they're called 'Play' tonics, doesn't mean it has to spoil immersion and constantly remind the characters that they are being played within a game. The characters might not even acknowledge it; if they do, it will probably be an infrequent occurrence -- e.g. Trowzer might say it "changes gameplay" when you first encounter one. Would that really bother you? I mean, Bottles/Jamjars often tells Banjo and Kazooie what buttons to press on the controller when learning a new move which obviously reveals the fact they are being controlled.

But it's more likely that the Play Tonics will mostly be described as a 'potion' that enhances their abilities/skills. This way, the fourth wall remains intact whenever it needs to.
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby dotEXE » Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:43 pm

The game is GOING to break the 4th wall. Every RARE game did. It's part of the charm. How could you possibly not know this? DK64 being tedious or not has nothing to do with my statement.
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby Salty Joe » Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:00 pm

dotEXE wrote:The game is GOING to break the 4th wall. Every RARE game did. It's part of the charm. How could you possibly not know this? DK64 being tedious or not has nothing to do with my statement.

Yep. There is no fourth wall in these games, it was demolished in 1985 when the Stamper brothers founded Rare. :lol:
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby John » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:09 pm

chameleojack wrote: The inclusion of "Playtonics" and "Arcade Machines" are inherently alien to their universe, so I only hope Playtonic [Games] are keeping their eye on the ball for the rest of the gameplay and avoiding the pitfalls of Conker and Nuts & Bolts..


It's still early to see what the Yooka-Laylee universe will be like. Maybe there will be a character such as a mad scientist brewing up some playtonics. It would make as much as a shaman and mumbo tokens in the Banjo Kazooie universe.

In DK64, Cranky actually gives you tonic's that you drink that changes the game. It's a fun gameplay dynamic and I imagine it will be something similar in YL.
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chameleojack
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby chameleojack » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:40 am

Taylor wrote:
chameleojack wrote:I don't think it will on its own. The item name "playtonic" (which is supposed to shake up gameplay in some way, if I recall), so do the characters know they're just characters in a game? I said repeatedly that my concern was the design approach implied by the name and the fact that many of their more recent platformers seemed to hold Story in contempt. Do Yooka-Laylee see themselves primarily as individuals with agency and ambitions (good), or as irritated extensions of the player, a la Conker (bad)?


You're thinking about it too deeply. Just because they're called 'Play' tonics, doesn't mean it has to spoil immersion and constantly remind the characters that they are being played within a game. The characters might not even acknowledge it; if they do, it will probably be an infrequent occurrence -- e.g. Trowzer might say it "changes gameplay" when you first encounter one. Would that really bother you? I mean, Bottles/Jamjars often tells Banjo and Kazooie what buttons to press on the controller when learning a new move which obviously reveals the fact they are being controlled.

But it's more likely that the Play Tonics will mostly be described as a 'potion' that enhances their abilities/skills. This way, the fourth wall remains intact whenever it needs to.


Probably will. But I don't think I am overthinking this. The item connection thing doesn't have to be indicative of anything at all, and I loved Cranky Kong's trash talk in DCK. But endless inside-jokes have been the story before and it wasn't a good idea then.

John wrote:
chameleojack wrote: The inclusion of "Playtonics" and "Arcade Machines" are inherently alien to their universe, so I only hope Playtonic [Games] are keeping their eye on the ball for the rest of the gameplay and avoiding the pitfalls of Conker and Nuts & Bolts..


It's still early to see what the Yooka-Laylee universe will be like. Maybe there will be a character such as a mad scientist brewing up some playtonics. It would make as much as a shaman and mumbo tokens in the Banjo Kazooie universe.

That would be a great way to implement the idea. And yes, "Mumbo best shaman all game!" XD
Hmm...maybe they can get Justin Roiland to do a cameo? ;)

John wrote:In DK64, Cranky actually gives you tonic's that you drink that changes the game. It's a fun gameplay dynamic and I imagine it will be something similar in YL.

I know, hope not, wasn't a fan, and I still have no idea why the hell Cranky Kong was selling chemicals/medications in his own universe.

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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby NPChilla » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:33 pm

Considering how this game will be Playtonic's best-foot-forward in creating a brand new universe of genre-spanning gaming, I sincerely doubt they'd risk so much to release one giant exercise in navel-gazing.

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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby Chrysalis_Blossom » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:17 am

Salty Joe wrote:
chameleojack wrote:I played the sequel in a McDonald's when I was 13 and thought the venue suited it. What's your point again?

That the Banjo-Kazooie series constantly broke the fourth wall and referred to itself as a game full of characters. I haven't played Conker so I don't know what that game is like in terms of how it breaks the fourth wall, but I think the general consensus here is that if it's made by people from Rare, it will break the fourth wall quite freely. :P

Conker does the same. It is not pointed out many times like in Banjo, but the plot itself resolves around a fourth wall break. At one point he says "Now that's what I call a platform game." and after the final battle
the game freezes, and Conker gets helped by a game programmer to kill the final boss.


But honestly, I would rather have no 4th wall break in this game. It made me laugh in Banjo-Kazooie (although they got to far with it in Nuts & Bolts) and I see why you'd like to have it in this game as well because it's part of Rare charm, and I definitely won't go mad if there, but if it depended on me, there would be a strong 4th wall.

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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby dotEXE » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:10 pm

Boring.
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chameleojack
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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby chameleojack » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:39 pm

It was charming and funny in BK because it was obvious when they were making fun of the player or games in general, but not so often or explicitly. It was like The Simpsons, or Futurama, when an element of the real world gets lampooned so perfectly that you laugh out loud and the moment is gone like it never happened. Conker dragged things out in an almost contemptuous way.

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Re: So, about "Playtonics" and the 4th Wall...

Postby Salty Joe » Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:18 pm

In Banjo-Tooie they constantly say they are characters in a game, and they keep referring to "Banjo-Kazooie", saying things like, "X happened while you were playing Banjo-Kazooie". They even refer to music changes. But it's always very humorous and never gets annoying, for me.

Conker sounds like it could be a bit far, but I'd have to play to judge. Could be quite funny too.
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