Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Discussion and feedback for Playtonic's debut game, platformer adventure game Yooka-Laylee!
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ShanPen
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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby ShanPen » Mon May 21, 2018 5:34 am

Yitsul wrote:
  • Have something similar to BK's Flight Pad or DK64's crystal coconut barrels to restrict flappy flight.


Yes, that's a great idea! It felt too easy once you could fly unrestricted.


Yitsul wrote:
  • Make better boss designs, 2 of the 5 were just faces on walls.


:lol: Wow you're right! Never even thought about it like that but now I won't be able to ignore that fact. :lol:

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby LDK777 » Tue May 22, 2018 7:12 am

Yes, I agree that the flying was just too powerful of a move. Once you got the flying movie exploring or traversing the worlds became completely trivialized. Past games put better restrictions on flying to preserve the worlds having meaning in regards to exploring them and traversing them.

In a 3D platformer roaming around the world is pretty much the bulk of the gameplay and having a move that basically negates that should have structured limitations.

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby bigfanofoldrare » Tue May 22, 2018 9:22 pm

like the first boss was so easy with the fly ability.

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby wacky ducky » Thu May 24, 2018 7:59 pm

Aside from the more obvious things like lack of polish I think levels should have more points of reference to add cohesion, memorability and ease of navigation

Nitpick: I think the characters are too detailed. They have some funny concepts but big expressive faces leave stronger impressions.

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby Rueckkoppler » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:15 pm

I have to leave this video here. It cements every issue I had with this game and why it sadly left me cold after one playthrough. I don't care much about the story or the secrets in this game because I didn't have the good time I was hoping to have. It's not the nostalgia I have for Banjo-Kazooie & Banjo-Tooie: These games did many things way better and had a stronger focus design-wise. I so, so hope that Playtonic will take a few notes from this:

Snowman Gaming: Banjo-Kazooie vs. Yooka-Laylee

It's clear that a carbon-copy of Banjo-Kazooie would've brought some other flaws, but man. They should've only replaced a mechanic with another if it was an improvement for real, not simply in order to be different. Best thing they nailed were the gorgeous visuals that made it feel like an AAA Nintendo game. But sound-design, game mechanics character-designs (or lack there of) made it feel cheap and flawed. And this hurts when I think of the Kickstarter hype.

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby Minuit » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:41 pm

I don't know if those are read but I would like to cover some things that haven't been mentioned here (or not enough).

First things first, I really enjoyed the game. It brought me back in my young days when I received a copy of Banjo-Kazooie on Christmas, one of the games of the N64 era I spent the most time on. So just thank you, Playtonic games, for this.

However, on the long run, the experience went downhill and I think some things could be improved. This can be a good thing for a potential second game to be aware of this. I'm not a game designer, just a player, so maybe some of these doesn't really fit with the reality, but here are my two cents =).

Theming is more than random doodads drops

In Banjo-Kazooie (& Tooie), one of the main theme was the puzzles. We collect jiggies, but it doesn't just stop there : to open a world, we need to complete a puzzle (it was done automatically in B-K, but B-T even included a mini-game, which also was a "bonus game" in B-K). Of course, jiggies are also mentionned or drawn, but this doesn't influence the gameplay. And, even if the "B-K" version didn't have a proper gameplay, it was funny for younger-me to watch the pieces fill, one by one, the puzzle, when I pressed A. Opening a world had this little thing that made it unique.

I didn't really found this in Yooka-Laylee. Opening a world was just opening another book with the same cutscene. I really think something better could have been done. We collect "pagies", but was this a really good idea in the first place ? A jigsaw piece is something unique in a puzzle, so it feels important. A page seems more generic, so it wasn't really the same for me. There are 25 pagies per world, what about adding one and collect letters instead ? And, to "open a book", how about a minigame with the letters ? Like a hangman/wheel of fortune minigame where the player have to find out the title of the book ? It would add more meaning to the theme.

Also, what is that "expend the book" feature ? I mean, it's cool to open new areas of existing levels, but I didn't really get what it had to do with the "book" theme in the first place. Also, being able to expend a world I never went in was a bit frustrating : I know I have to expend it, but I first want to see what is inside the "not-expended" world, even if I know it is just a waste of time ! I didn't really get that part... We are in a book, right ? What about telling the player a story ? Imagine we meet the book's hero that needs to fight the book's villain. We can gather pagies (or letteries ?) with side quests/exploration, but we can also help the "book hero" to progress. With that setup, parts of a level are chapters of the book that appears with the progression of the main quest and reveals more of the book's story. What about a hero that needs to rescue a princess in the Glitterglaze Glacier castle, and we help him to do so ? Or a hero that we follow during the story, but, in the final chapter, we discover that he's, in fact, the villain ? This could have brought more emphasis on the "book" theme and add more uniqueness to the levels, even beyond B-K and B-T, instead of just droping books and letters here and there.

I mean, if the main theme of the game doesn't influence the gameplay, even just a little bit, your theme is more a "skin" than a real theme. In Yooka-Laylee, without changing a line of code, if you change the visual models of the decorative books in the hive, the random letters doodads and the pagies by decorative instruments, random notes and musical sheets, you have a musical-themed game with a villain that wants to steal all the music in the world. No part of the gameplay would change. If you even change the cutscene of the book opening, you could literally do any theme you want. You can't do this as simply with B-T due to the "jigsaw" minigames (and you can barely do it with B-K due to the piece-by-piece animations that you can do to open a world).

Let the player choose the controls

This point have already been mentioned, but I have a bit more to say about it. I played Yooka-Laylee on PC (Steam version) with a keyboard/mouse layout, since I don't own a controller. Also, as you could have guessed with my kind-of approximate English, I'm not an English native speaker. That also mean that I use a different keyboard layout instead of the QWERTY one. That makes the game really difficult to play natively. It was not a real problem for me, since I also have installed a QWERTY keyboard layout and a simple keyboard shortcut allows me to switch between QWERTY and my native layout (alt + shift, note it, it will be important in 4 lines), but it could be harder for people that doesn't know how to do it. Personally, I just needed to explain to my girlfriend why does typing 'A' types 'Q' when I forgot to switch it back after playing.

But level 5 changed everything.

In level 5, you learn the Sonar Shield. And the shortcut for that move is... Yeah, you guessed it : Alt + shift. That means that everytime I use the Sonar Shield, my keyboard layout changes and I can't control my character properly, so I can't move. So I need to re-use it to get back to normal, but that cancels the move. Fortunately, there is no instance in the game where I need to move while activating the sonar shield, right ?

Of course, Playtonic can't think about all the keyboard layouts that exists, but a simple way to manage this would have been to allow us to choose which button does what ! A PC game that doesn't have this option is really rare. But, unfortunately for us and the Banjo-Kazooie franchise, rare doesn't always mean good.

Also, I know that Yooka-Laylee is a tribute to the N64 era. But there is ONE thing that I do not feel nostalgic about that time : the camera. The early 3D games had that atrocious camera that never knew were to put itself. Unfortunately, Yooka-Laylee also brought that back from the 98's. Everybody already noticed the unwanted camera changes, so I will just point one specific thing that I haven't seen on that thread : the camera rotation speed is way too slow, even with the fastest setting. If I want to look around with my mouse, I need to travel all the way from one side of my desk to the other side, I'm not even kidding.

Also, the "Not-so-subjective view", what is this ? Why couldn't we have a real first-person view to look around without having the half of the screen masked by our character ?

Not enough "Oh ! Okay, let's go !" moments

Yooka-Laylee is... Predictable. It nearly never surprise the player. Everybody mentioned the "race through the loops" that is a recurring theme, but it's not the only redundant part. Every level has a transformation, an arcade machine, races and loops, a boss, the snake-man that will sell us a move, one skeleton adventurer, the jinjos that I don't know the english name, an expansion, random NPCs without backstory... Once you've cleared the first level, you already know the content of the other levels.

Yeah, in Banjo-Kazooie, you didn't have a transformation in all the levels. That can look like a flaw, but it made the level a less predictable. Every level was like a surprise and you never knew what was inside. Will I transform in that level ? Will I learn a new move ? Is there a boss ?

In every level of B-K, there are many "Oh, okay, let's go" moment. Oh, there are four versions of the same level, each one defining a season, and I have to play with that ? Okay, let's go. Oh, there is a giant shark that is friendly and he needs my help ? Okay, let's go. Oh, there is a ending quiz about everything in the game ? Okay, let's go. Oh, activating that camel makes it appear in other levels ? AND EVEN IN OTHER GAMES ? OKAY, LET'S GO ! There are even more in B-T. In Yooka-Laylee, I had 2 of these moments so far, both in the casino level : one when I saw the knight piggies (Oh ! Those are the NPCs from the first level ! Okay, let's go !) and a BIG ONE at the end of the Kartos sequence of that level (Oh ! I HAVE TO FIGHT A BOSS DURING WITH THE KART ? OKAY, LET'S GO !). Except for these two things, the game never really surprised me after the first level.

Encountering new characters in a new level is normal, and encountering a character that is in all levels in a new level is also normal. What about developing some existing NPCs in some levels, and giving them some backstory ? I can't name a single NPC name of Yooka Laylee except Rextro and Kartos because we generally talk to them only once. I played BK when I was a kid, but I still remember Boggy, Gobi, Brentilda, Eyrie and a lot of others, because I saw them multiple times and I saw them evolve.

Also, every task in B-K, B-T had another reward with the jiggy. Something more. I remember when I saw Eyrie as an adult eagle after all the quest long quest to feed him, it felt SO GREAT ! Or when you helped Boggy aaaaaall the way, and finally, when you go back to its home each time, instead of the sad little music you hear the happy version with its children "yays". That was so cool ! I didn't find anything comparable in Y-L. Me, as a player, didn't really had any impact on the world. I saved that skeleton girl in the first level from being eaten ? Okay, cool, but... I couldn't even get her out of the cooking pot ! I got the hat back to all the snowmen and they didn't do anything. Aren't they supposed to do some kind of show ? Our only reward are pagies, we can't expect anything else.

Disputable gameplay mechanics

Why do we have a "stamina" bar ? I never found a place where I had to manage carefully my stamina in a puzzly fashion, just numerous "Damn, I have to wait again" moments. Ok, let's be fair, B-K and B-T started it first, and it was, in my opinion, even worse : instead of time, we had ammo (feathers, eggs...) and, if we hadn't enough, we had to search in aaaaaaaall the level (or even in other levels) some ammo and come back where we needed it. Fortunately, it nearly never happened to me due to the large stock of ammo you naturally made, but the few times it happened, it was infuriating. But the stamina bar was not the solution, or, at least, not like this. I understand that you need to limit the flight, but why limiting the "talon trot-rolling thing-whatever" ? I like going fast, it's not like this move is broken ! Is it because you can hit enemies with ? Well, prefer being hit and not using stamina for this ! Fights are anecdotic in Y-L, like they where in B-K and B-T, why limiting the character movement because of this ? Same for the sonar thingy and the sonar explosion. Why does this have to use stamina ? I literally used them only for their puzzles... Having to wait to be able to move or to do a puzzle isn't fun. The infinite-but-limited-in-time powerups, like the berries, are a better way to handle this, in my opinion.
Also, I disagree with everyone suggesting putting back the Flight Pads. I personally loved being able to fly everywhere in the world, that felt very good. It's an end-game power, of course it HAVE to be powerful. Maybe, however, it should have been obtained even further in the game, like a bonus gift for obtaining a lot of pagies, just to help to get the last ones.

The mini-games aren't really enjoyable. B-T started this one too, but Y-L minigames aren't really fun. Controls are clunky, they aren't hard, and you couldn't finish them early (it's mostly "do a lot of points in X minutes", I'm more of a "do X points in the fastest way possible" guy). But everybody covered that one, so I won't expand it.

The transformations are waaaaaay too scripted. Again, some transformations in B-K and B-T are also scripted (the pumpkin in B-K, for example), but in Y-L, it's ALL of them. For me, a transformation needs to be useful everywhere, and not only where the scripts tells it is. The Click-Clock Woods bee transformation allows you to fly everywhere, Jolly Roger's lagoon allow you to breath in water, Bubblegloop Swamp's crocodile allows you to not take damage in the swampy areas... They are "quality of life" transformations more than just scripted events in a restricted area. To be honest, Y-L Helicopter seemed really good at first glance, but I acquired the fly ability literally 2 minutes after my helicopter transformation, which killed it.

Can I roll on that thing ? And why did that hurt ?

This is a quick one, but the game doesn't tell me enough what I can/can't do. It's cool to have that red layer on invincible enemies or our characters, but I never could guess, when I looked at a slope, if I could walk on it, roll on it or if I needed the honey mutator. Icy slopes need honey, but sometimes not. Slopes sometimes need rolling, but the same (?) angled-slopes in another location doesn't. Is that all scripted with arbitrary triggers ?

Also, sometimes, during my exploration, I was randomly hit by some triggers without being warned first. First in the "cold cavern" then at some poisonous area. Nothing indicate that I'm entering a dangerous area, or I didn't notice. It's just "hey, you just touched an invisible trigger, so take some damage". I'm okay with taking damage in obviously poisoned water, but not when I'm following a path.

But... It's a great game !

After typing a longer-than-I-intended speech in probably bad English because midnight-me starts to be tired, I really want to finish on a positive note. Nothing is perfect, so, of course, this game has some flaws. But I really enjoy it. It's my childhood 20 years later, and the main things are here. This game, with all I said earlier, can be the foundations of a great new era of games that perfectly mix the good old games from my childhood with the current technologies and the contemporary knowledge of game-making.

I really hope that Y-L won't be the only try from Playtonic Games. Everything I said earlier was nothing but trying to be constructive, because I really want to see Playtonic Games get the success they deserve.

You guys are amazing, keep it up !

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby Rueckkoppler » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:38 pm

Minuit wrote:I don't know if those are read but I would like to cover some things that haven't been mentioned here (or not enough)...


What a great first post & breakdown at these forums, Minuit! You absolutely nailed my feelings about other aspects I didn't even talk about. The book concept offered some really great narrative potential (I mean... duh), which wasn't really explored sadly. They could've layered some overarching story in every book you were thrown into, make some NPCs worry and talk about something specific going on in their stories and build up some challenges upon these matters. This would've set this game apart from Banjo in most ways but made the worlds feel more alive, as well (which could've been achieved with other ways, as we know from little silly levels like Mumbo's Mountain).

I'm only bumping this thread because I'm loving what they did before so much and I'm a bit worried that Playtonic won't build upon this experience as much as I'm hoping they will. And they do have the potential, there's no AAA budget and expansive worlds needed if they condense the whole thing into a smarter, engaging experience. Even if they were technical back then, it feels like limitations were what drove Rareware up to great heights. They should absolutely keep on trying with their sequel.

Please show us and everyone, Playtonic!



edit: Okay making worlds simply smaller in order to save on time/costs is a wrong assumption, I admit. I think it actually would've required a much higher effort to design smaller worlds, but with distinct sections and unique NPCs and enemies. But heck, this is exactly why the Banjo games were great!

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby rocho » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:12 am

Minuit wrote:
Not enough "Oh ! Okay, let's go !" moments

Yooka-Laylee is... Predictable. It nearly never surprise the player. Everybody mentioned the "race through the loops" that is a recurring theme, but it's not the only redundant part. Every level has a transformation, an arcade machine, races and loops, a boss, the snake-man that will sell us a move, one skeleton adventurer, the jinjos that I don't know the english name, an expansion, random NPCs without backstory... Once you've cleared the first level, you already know the content of the other levels.

Yeah, in Banjo-Kazooie, you didn't have a transformation in all the levels. That can look like a flaw, but it made the level a less predictable. Every level was like a surprise and you never knew what was inside. Will I transform in that level ? Will I learn a new move ? Is there a boss ?

In every level of B-K, there are many "Oh, okay, let's go" moment. Oh, there are four versions of the same level, each one defining a season, and I have to play with that ? Okay, let's go. Oh, there is a giant shark that is friendly and he needs my help ? Okay, let's go. Oh, there is a ending quiz about everything in the game ? Okay, let's go. Oh, activating that camel makes it appear in other levels ? AND EVEN IN OTHER GAMES ? OKAY, LET'S GO ! There are even more in B-T. In Yooka-Laylee, I had 2 of these moments so far, both in the casino level : one when I saw the knight piggies (Oh ! Those are the NPCs from the first level ! Okay, let's go !) and a BIG ONE at the end of the Kartos sequence of that level (Oh ! I HAVE TO FIGHT A BOSS DURING WITH THE KART ? OKAY, LET'S GO !). Except for these two things, the game never really surprised me after the first level.

Encountering new characters in a new level is normal, and encountering a character that is in all levels in a new level is also normal. What about developing some existing NPCs in some levels, and giving them some backstory ? I can't name a single NPC name of Yooka Laylee except Rextro and Kartos because we generally talk to them only once. I played BK when I was a kid, but I still remember Boggy, Gobi, Brentilda, Eyrie and a lot of others, because I saw them multiple times and I saw them evolve.

Also, every task in B-K, B-T had another reward with the jiggy. Something more. I remember when I saw Eyrie as an adult eagle after all the quest long quest to feed him, it felt SO GREAT ! Or when you helped Boggy aaaaaall the way, and finally, when you go back to its home each time, instead of the sad little music you hear the happy version with its children "yays". That was so cool ! I didn't find anything comparable in Y-L. Me, as a player, didn't really had any impact on the world. I saved that skeleton girl in the first level from being eaten ? Okay, cool, but... I couldn't even get her out of the cooking pot ! I got the hat back to all the snowmen and they didn't do anything. Aren't they supposed to do some kind of show ? Our only reward are pagies, we can't expect anything else.



This! I really think the game ia lacking memorable back stories on the NPCs and a variety of them. I really feel that there weren't much activities to do in Y-L as in B-K or B-T. I feel Yooka-Laylee as Playtonic's demo or introduction to their new world. Now with time and money to their favor ai hope they can make the next games the way we all know they can! Looking forward to checking out what Playtonic is cooking now and what they can offer in this day and age (we all know they have the potential)!

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby LancerEagle » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:09 am

Having watched each of the Developer Commentary videos twice over, two things regarding what future Playtonic games might look like have become readily apparent:

1. A lot of the more common fan complaints (lack of variety in terms of gameplay challenges, copied and pasted enemies/NPCs, game doesn't have that "90's Rare" level of polish, etc.) were the result of constraints related to time/budget/personnel/Unity engine limitations, rather than any kind of developer apathy or Playtonic not considering these things to be important priorities. The game we all wanted to see from Playtonic was the same one that they wanted to make, but there was only so much they could do with the resources at hand.

2. The devs were not blind to the fact that the Rextro, Kartos, and Dr. Quack's Quiz sections of the game didn't measure up to the standard of quality set by the rest of the game, but all 3 of those features had already been promised to the Kickstarter backers as stretch goals. Keeping mediocre content in the game may not have been an ideal solution, but the two alternatives (delaying the game again in hopes of improving them, or announcing in the wake of the Wii U version cancellation that promised stretch goal content was being cut) would have been unmitigated PR disasters. Again, under trying circumstances they did the best they could.


I'm excited to see what Playtonic can do now that they're free of the shackles of Kickstarter, and while we'll likely still have to accept some compromises due to budgetary concerns, at least having Yooka-Laylee as a base to build off of should mean that every subsequent game will be a step forward. Fingers crossed that we'll all be blown away by the mid-year announcement previously hinted at!

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby Rueckkoppler » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:51 am

LancerEagle wrote:(...)

1. A lot of the more common fan complaints (lack of variety in terms of gameplay challenges, copied and pasted enemies/NPCs, game doesn't have that "90's Rare" level of polish, etc.) were the result of constraints related to time/budget/personnel/Unity engine limitations, rather than any kind of developer apathy or Playtonic not considering these things to be important priorities.

(...)

I'm excited to see what Playtonic can do now that they're free of the shackles of Kickstarter, and while we'll likely still have to accept some compromises due to budgetary concerns, at least having Yooka-Laylee as a base to build off of should mean that every subsequent game will be a step forward. Fingers crossed that we'll all be blown away by the mid-year announcement previously hinted at!


Interesting! You’re sure they’re announcing something bigger than the DLC? I’m not exactly excited for this one, but it seems like that’s the last promise they need to keep before finally moving on...

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby Scrubber » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:10 pm

LancerEagle wrote:Having watched each of the Developer Commentary videos twice over, two things regarding what future Playtonic games might look like have become readily apparent:

1. A lot of the more common fan complaints (lack of variety in terms of gameplay challenges, copied and pasted enemies/NPCs, game doesn't have that "90's Rare" level of polish, etc.) were the result of constraints related to time/budget/personnel/Unity engine limitations, rather than any kind of developer apathy or Playtonic not considering these things to be important priorities. The game we all wanted to see from Playtonic was the same one that they wanted to make, but there was only so much they could do with the resources at hand.

2. The devs were not blind to the fact that the Rextro, Kartos, and Dr. Quack's Quiz sections of the game didn't measure up to the standard of quality set by the rest of the game, but all 3 of those features had already been promised to the Kickstarter backers as stretch goals. Keeping mediocre content in the game may not have been an ideal solution, but the two alternatives (delaying the game again in hopes of improving them, or announcing in the wake of the Wii U version cancellation that promised stretch goal content was being cut) would have been unmitigated PR disasters. Again, under trying circumstances they did the best they could.


I'm excited to see what Playtonic can do now that they're free of the shackles of Kickstarter, and while we'll likely still have to accept some compromises due to budgetary concerns, at least having Yooka-Laylee as a base to build off of should mean that every subsequent game will be a step forward. Fingers crossed that we'll all be blown away by the mid-year announcement previously hinted at!

This gives me hope for a better future regarding playtonic and their games.

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby LancerEagle » Thu May 30, 2019 6:07 pm

Rueckkoppler wrote:
LancerEagle wrote:(...)

1. A lot of the more common fan complaints (lack of variety in terms of gameplay challenges, copied and pasted enemies/NPCs, game doesn't have that "90's Rare" level of polish, etc.) were the result of constraints related to time/budget/personnel/Unity engine limitations, rather than any kind of developer apathy or Playtonic not considering these things to be important priorities.

(...)

I'm excited to see what Playtonic can do now that they're free of the shackles of Kickstarter, and while we'll likely still have to accept some compromises due to budgetary concerns, at least having Yooka-Laylee as a base to build off of should mean that every subsequent game will be a step forward. Fingers crossed that we'll all be blown away by the mid-year announcement previously hinted at!


Interesting! You’re sure they’re announcing something bigger than the DLC? I’m not exactly excited for this one, but it seems like that’s the last promise they need to keep before finally moving on...


I think there's at least good reason to be optimistic. Both of the projects we have seen come to fruition since the launch of Yooka-Laylee in April 2017, the Switch port and the 64-bit tonic, both exclusively involve modifying the already-exisiting assets of the game rather than creating anything brand new, and have therefore largely been the province of Jens and his crack team of Code Gurus and Engineering Boffins. Whatever the purely creative, non-technical folks at Playtonic (level designers, character creators, animators, the list goes on) have been up to, they've been up to it for nigh-on two years at this point. That seems like enough time to have both made good progress on the Yooka-Laylee DLC and also made a strong start on whatever Playtonic Project #2 turns out to be. Fingers crossed that I'm right...

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Re: Lessons Playtonic might learn from Yooka-Laylee...

Postby EekumBokum202 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:03 am

NPChilla wrote:1) More QA/testing. Before the patches sorted it all out, this game had a number of issues.

Yeah, this feels like the most important task Playtonic needs to cover in the future; first impressions mean a lot, and even if things do get fixed down the line, it's better to catch these bugs and glitches as early as possible.

NPChilla wrote:2) Tone down the 4th wall humour. Yes, it's a Rare trademark and can be witty; but like any joke, too much is too much. You went a little OTT in this area.

This is personal preference, but I thought the amount of 4th wall jokes weren't bad. I feel like it was a similar situation to Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts; the 4th wall jokes that were always present in Rare games were there, but because people weren't fully on-board with the game and/or the game was lackluster, the 4th wall jokes felt lazy and pessimistic instead of funny and light-hearted.

NPChilla wrote:3) Never work with Team 17 again. The horrendous way it botched various PR disasters (mentioning no names, we all know the ones) damaged a lot of goodwill towards the end product.

...Well, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is being published through them, so so much for learning this lesson. I seem Playtonic continuing to work with them in the future at this rate.

NPChilla wrote:4) Find a company like Nintendo who will guide and back the game in a positive manner. I think this is what Playtonic (as well as Microsoft-era Rare) is missing the most: a backer who engages with development and helps make it a better final product. In many ways, Y-L felt unfocussed compared with Rare's N64 oeuvre.

People really keep coming back to Nintendo with this, and I definitely can see why, though part of me wonders just how involved was Nintendo in the development in all the Rare games we loved from that era... I do agree that Yooka-Laylee felt a little unfocused, but would a different publisher truly help with that?

...Alright, here are some "lessons" I hope Playtonic takes to heart:

1.) Pick between bigger worlds or smaller ones. I appreciate Playtonic trying to cater/appeal to both fans of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie with giving us the option to expand each world, but the results were, as what we previously established, a bit unfocused. Regardless of your preference for Kazooie's compact and contained worlds or Tooie's expansive and interconnected worlds, you can tell each games' worlds were designed with their size in mind, hence why Tooie's worlds all had warp pads to make traversing such huge worlds easier. I don't know if other people felt this way, but I just felt annoyed with Yooka-Laylee's worlds, both unexpanded and expanded, because unexpanded, I felt like I was missing out on a good chuck of the world's content, and expanded, they ended up being so massive it was a pain in the butt to get from location to location. Rather than the best of both worlds, we got an awkward in-between that didn't satisfy either crowd.

2.) Have the Ghost Writers do something meaningful. The Ghost Writers were the Jinjo's of this game, and were technically made more important by actually being the writers of the books you enter. I say technically because they aren't important otherwise, and are really just another collectable in this game. I always thought it was a great surprise how the Jinjos you rescued came back to help in the final battle in Banjo-Kazooie, and the Ghost Writers kind of feel like how the Jinjos were implemented in Banjo-Tooie: given more plot-relevance yet are somehow less significant than they were before. Hell, the way Yooka-Laylee's story plays out, the Ghost Writers might as well not be in the game at all, despite being creative who how to collect them this time around. Hopefully Playtonic thinks of something cool/creative to do with them later on.

3.) Be more thoughtful/guiding with the placement of collectables, particularly Quills. Quills were my least-favorite collectable in Yooka-Laylee, because there were so many of them, and a lot of them ended up being in out-of-the-way, even seemingly random locations. Quills are supposed to be the equivalent Musical Notes in Banjo-Kazooie, and the way notes were placed in that game was like how coins were typically placed in Mario games; either on the main path, or in places that essentially guide you to points of interest. It never felt like a chore collected Musical Notes (at least the first time, having to recollect them after dying before I could get all 100 was annoying) because they were (almost) never off the beaten path. It actually boggles my mind how Playtonic didn't seem to internalize this idea with Quills in this game. If they ever made a true-blue sequel, I hope Quills will be easier to collect, either by having them in large groups in obvious spots, or reducing how much you have to collect by putting them in bunches like they did in Banjo-Tooie (I'd suggest having both individual Quills and having them in bunches, much like Veegie did in his analysis of Banjo-Tooie, see the videos in my signature for details).

4.) Try not to reuse characters that often, and have the unique/original characters be more... well, unique/original. Let me say upfront that I get why characters were reused when it comes to a relatively small team like Playtonic, and I also don't mind seeing certain characters again in world-to-world. Dr. Puzz, Rextro, and Kartos I all expect in each world, and seeing Clara Lost in each world was good fun, too, especially since she had the whole explorer thing going (she reminded me of Sabre Man personally, but that's neither here nor there). Seeing the Knights of Hamelot and Shovel Knight in world 5, though... that just felt weird. And kind of unnecessary, IMO. Also, I don't like how each world has only one time of character unique to that world. There's only snowmen in world 2, only trolleys in world 3 (weird choice but okay), and only Mexican slot machines (for some reason) in world 4. World 5 made sense with the whole Blamphibian thing, since it was established that there was a war going on there against them, but I couldn't help but be underwhelmed by the character selection otherwise. Seeing the Hamelot Knights and Shovel Knight in world 5 just diminished their appeal when I encountered them in the first world, and seeing all the trolleys in world 3 just made me thing "what's with all the trolleys in this swamp area, is there a theme I'm missing?" And even with characters with a consistent theme like the snowmen and the slot machines, just seeing the same model over and over again just makes me think the developers are being somewhat lazy, and you don't want people thinking that way about you. Once again, I get why they did it here, I just hope they don't repeat this.

5.) Fix the camera. ...Not much to add to this one; that seems to be the biggest complaint I see from either the game's biggest detractors or people who "want" to love this game but couldn't ultimately get down with it. Unfortunately, I'm not a programmer/game designer, so I don't have much more insight on this one, I just hope that Playtonic makes significant improvements to this aspect of their 3D games.

I think that will due for now. Hopefully I wasn't too harsh. :(
ATTENTION PLAYTONIC!
For development "Twoka-Laylee", please watch these:
Banjo-Kazooie Review & Analysis
Banjo-Tooie Review & Analysis

For everyone else, talk about these videos here!


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