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What are the quintessential elements of a RARE game?

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:31 am
by chameleojack
In all these press releases, right up to the very first Kickstarter splash page for Yooka-Laylee, there's been particular emphasis on such prosaic gameplay elements as "collectibles", "arcade games", and "explore at your own pace". What troubles me a bit is, having played all their hits going back to DKC, these are by far the least interesting (even most tedious) part of their games, particularly for the N64 era. Banjo-Kazooie's greatest appeal to me and millions of other players at the time was its humor, art direction, bountiful humor and seemingly bottomless secrets--Stop-N-Swap is now legendary. The greatest things about Banjo-Kazooie was its sense of finding those hidden overworld power-ups and jiggies!

More than anything else, I want to know if there will be as many Metroid-Vania elements as there were in Banjo-Kazooie? Will there be an overworld, with secret challenges/keys? Is the Playtonic team pursuing accessibility at the expense of pacing (it is nice to have time to mull-over new challenges before having the means to tackle them)?

What little we've seen so far is very promising, but whether it has the depth of Banjo-Kazooie (certainly not given the stated ambitions, resources) is yet to be seen.

Anyone feel similarly?

Re: What are the quintessential elements of a RARE game?

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:06 am
by Yavga
All rare games to my knowledge in the N64 era had a certain "ambience" I felt this in Banjo-Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing, Jet Force Gemini, Banjo Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Conkers Bad Fur Day but not in Goldeneye 007 (didn't play other)

To me it was/is:
Music, it had an important impact to how the surrounding area felt.
Props and clutter: They made the world seem interesting.
Amount of space: It was never too big or too small. Save for a few missers (CCL from BT imo)
The amount of time put in making everything seem alive. Animations for example.
Then there are the secrets of course!
The collectibles, the ease of access to the game (pick up and play) no complicated unnessesairy mechanics. And last but not least the controls! Which were fantastic. All in all it's a very polished experience to the n'th degree.

Then of course there's the nostalgia...

So yes... I too wonder about whether it will feel the same, we have to wait and see. Toybox will be nice but not a good measure.

Re: What are the quintessential elements of a RARE game?

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:44 pm
by Meinhard1
Prosaic ... jesus, that's a new word for me and I think I like it. There are two qualities that define classic-Rare: personality and attention to detail; the former, images and sounds that fill our brains, while the latter consists of many prosiac elements of the games we love -- what we take for granted. But together they make Rare titles indelible (there's a word for YOU) -- quirky/personality-filled games, developed remarkably well. Do I feel similarly to you? I think I feel similarly in that I want this to be the best game it can possibly be, and that the DKC and BK games occupy a special corner of my heart, but I'm not feeling particularly worried. You mention how they tend to focus on the collectables, progression, and arcade machines of the game in press releases and interviews. I'll discuss them below.

The collectibles and progression of the game area are part how Playtonic are bringing YL up do date, this is why they come up so much. Playtonic recognize that DK64 really overdid collectibles, and seem to be looking to streamline from Banjo-Kazooie. An example of this is how move-specific items are replaced by an energy bar (no eggs, red/yellow feathers, etc), this is replenished by a butterfly collectible that can also be eaten for health. They're actually making collectibles more meaningful, less trivial.

Since the 90s, games as a medium have evolved to provide players with more personalized experiences. Again, Playtonic intends to bring platformers up-to-date in this area, as well. This is reflected in open-ended move choices, expandable world, AND the hub world -- confirmed a navigational puzzle, with doors and corridors like Grunty's Lair, as well some larger and more open areas. It will be very Metroidvania in that progression and discovery of secrets will be partially based on what moves you have unlocked. We have not seen or heard anything about straight-up lock and key elements, but learning moves to progress through the hub and worlds -- definitely. Going further with that -- secrets and Easter-eggs are definitely confirmed. (They want to give fans something they can mull-over for months after the games release.)

Arcade games -- hardly prosaic but certainly not what we've been waiting 15 years to play. However to find a worlds hidden arcade room, 80s arcade vibes and all; all to be greeted by a goggle-eyed Rextro Sixtyfourus? NOW WE'RE TALKING!

You mention how important the art direction and humor are, personally these elements were present in the Kickstarter page, have been present in the little updates and glimpses over the last year, and are realized in the recent E3 2016 Trailer. Looks pretty spot on, and I'm not sure if you have any specific concerns in this area. But there is a now iconic quality to BK's landscapes and it is admittedly difficult to compare these previews to enshrined memories from ones childhood. I will say that Glittergaze Glacier looks stellar, especially with the contrasting glacier and rocky landscapes. Tribal-stack Tropics looks really good up close but it's hard to take in intuitively -- I don't see much for a landmark.

You seem to believe this title won't have the depth of Banjo Kazooie. While you note that it "remains to be seen," you also state their ambitions fall short? Maybe you're referring to the drop in world count from BK's nine to five. I may disagree with you. There is still much we don't know about the games actual scope.

Re: What are the quintessential elements of a RARE game?

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:32 am
by chameleojack

Re: What are the quintessential elements of a RARE game?

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:08 am
by ShanPen

Re: What are the quintessential elements of a RARE game?

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:03 am
by chameleojack

Re: What are the quintessential elements of a RARE game?

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:14 am
by NPChilla
The first things to come to mind would be a sense of fun, a quirky sense of humour and a British point of view.

Also, taking some inspiration from what Nintendo has recently done; e.g. Kameo was initially inspired by Pokémon, BK by Super Mario 64, etc.