“If that were to really happen, if an alien were to come down and really abduct you, how terrifying and how earth-shattering would that be? Your whole world is just destroyed. God is destroyed. It’s kind of a fascinating thing to think about.” - Evan Peters on Kit Walker’s experience in the premiere of ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’.
What was bad about Yooka-Laylee? I haven't played it myself, but from what I heard pre-release it seemed good. Did it turn out bad then?
yooka-laylee was a fucking ride
the game had this weird behind the scenes development first of all
the year was 2012, banjo nostalgia was at its peak, and had been for a couple years now. largely due to jontron
rare was a fucking mess, and still is, so there wasnt any hope for a new rare game that isnt some shovelware kinect bullshit (thanks microsoft)
just about everyone from the golden days of rare is is at different places. some at retro, some still at rare, some at gory detail, some just at random places. its a mess
but somehow, a few ex-rare devs got together, noticed how big banjo had gotten in recent years and decided to make a spiritual successor
iirc, jontron was actually a large reason why the game began development in the first place. he revived a lot of love for the bear and bird. he brought back a lot of love for rare in general actually.
i wanted to avoid bringing up jon, i really did, but that would be like not bringing up banjo. jon is too integral to the development of yooka, and banjo is the game yooka is ripping off
they were in regular contact with jon from what i remember. jon brought up the rare spiritual successor before anyone even knew it was a thing, before even the mingy jongo twitter was found. and of course grant kirkhope was on game grumps, and jon was offered a role on the game
the mingy jongo twitter is where things get odd. sometime in 2012, a twitter was found. it was all cryptic and shit, and named after a forgettable enemy from banjo-tooie. it was hyping up something, but no one knew what
it stopped updating for like a year, made a tweet about crashing, and was confirmed to be cancelled.
and then even later, mingy jongo made a tweet about rebooting, and changed the name to playtonic. the dumb arg bullshit was over, and we got a look at what the games visual style would be like
the kickstarter launched, it was super successful and spawned many imitators, but none nearly as successful as yooka
a hat in time was not one of those imitators, it was in development long before yooka
the game had promise to it. the game looked like a real return to the golden age of 3d platformers it looked fun, it looked like it had interesting and seemingly focused level design, it knew its roots and embraced it, but it still had its own identity, it had a team of industry veterans, now off their leash so they’re free to make a game how they want to make it.
there was no doubt in our minds, this was going to be great.
it was a really shitty time for 3d platformers. games were either AAA or indie. AAA were too focused on big action movie set-piece games aimed at people in their mid-20s, and indies didnt have the budget or experience to do 3d. so the genre was almost dead aside from the odd ratchet, sonic or mario game. but it wasnt enough, the genre was slowly dying. yooka needed to happen
we got some more gameplay, and it seemed good, but not great. it had its flaws but it was still early in development, things can only get better, right?
yooka-laylee was then revealed to be using the unity engine. a notably awful engine with an ungodly amount of problems that is only used by people because its cheap, so they can make meme games with it like whos your daddy or some donald trump game. but those are games that embrace the problems of unity
then we got the toybox demo.
we got to test out the controls around a very plain environment. it was essentially a playtest area. the controls were very off, and there was little tech. but the controls werent that bad.as long as they dont make the controls worse in any way, and the game has some tight level design, this can still be a great game.
also there was a little secret for getting everything in the demo and going somewhere specific, a secret that tells you to go somewhere and look for something in the final game. i’ll get back to that.
playtonic soon found a publisher for yooka-laylee to help with yooka. team17 of worms fame
the wii version of yooka-laylee was cancelled and playtonic said there wont be a switch version
we got some more proper gameplay of yooka showing off the capital cashino level
and my god
really really really
but it was just one level, it doesnt represent the whole game does it?
either way, some people were getting skeptical of the game by this point.
and then, the catalyst
community manager of team17, playtonics publisher was going on neogaf one day and saw the general consensus of jontron there was rather negative there. well jonno wasnt having any of that and demanded playtonic to remove jontron from the game
jonno zuckerberg’d jontron
and out of such a minor voice role too
what followed was a shitshow
because jon was such a major part to yooka’s history, naturally some people thought removing jon was an extremely backstabby move to make.
to many, this was the straw that broke the camels back. there were many red flags before, but this was a big one.
there were 3000 known refunds that followed.
and thats just the refunds that went through, because playtonic or team17, most likely team17, actually denied most of the refunds, banned people asking how to refund it on steam, and called anyone refunding the game racist
playtonic also blocked a dude that offered a reasonable solution to the jontron solution on twitter
they were not handling this with grace
jon just kind of accepted that he wouldnt be in the game, if you’re wondering how he was taking his removal
around this time, i was thankful that i didnt kickstart it
so the game finally comes out and the reviews are divided. some people call it a masterpiece and everything bad about the game is supposed to be bad because n64 games didnt age well so this should play like an n64 game that didnt age well and they got everything promised to them
others called the game a rushed sloppy poorly designed mess with an insane amount of problems that cannot be overlooked
after the dust settled, the game has pretty much settled on a lukewarm 6/10 or 7/10 from most sites.
so how was the game really
for a game made by developers with decades of experience under their belts, they learned nothing from any of the games they made, or others have made. every flaw that banjo had is not only in yooka, but a thousand times worse
everything we knew about the game pre-release was also worse
the tight level design? non-existent
the decent controls? ruined
the unique identity? gone
nothing of value remained. yooka-laylee is a husk of what was meant to be
the controls were made slipperier, and a stamina meter was added, so you cant go slightly fast for more than a couple seconds, and due to the massive empty levels, going fast is required if you dont want to go insane
the level design does not exist. things are just placed in areas without thought. the focus was on making the levels super big and placing the collectables in really obscure places. not even just the jiggy equivalents, but also the note-equivalents
but the bad controls and bad level design apparently werent enough. levels we had gimmicks that just complimented the absolute worst of the levels and controls. slippery dank caves full of pits, slippery ice levels
the world is barren and empty. there is nothing to do in it
the bosses are, well… they’re walls. every last one of them is a wall that you fight. honest to god walls.
the camera is an abomination. i dont think i need to say anything that hasnt been said a thousand times already, its one of the worst things about the game, and that is a fucking low bar
the audio mixing is horrible, the chopper transformation grates on the ears, the grunting is far too loud and goes on for much longer than the grunting in banjo, making it extremely obnoxious and annoying
the game had a fucking quiz section that expects you to know every weird minor detail about the game, like really weird and obscure details no one playing the game casually would know, you would have to be obsessed with the game from the moment it was announced and pay close attention to everything no matter how minor to know any of the quiz’s answers. you need to answer 10 questions correctly in a row or else you’re sent to the beginning. and they throw this at you in the first world. i think they do it every world, actually but i could be wrong. they somehow took an interesting but a bit obnoxious part from banjo tooie and i think kazooie as well, and turned it into one of the biggest sins in any game i have ever seen
the loading times, while not bad, are INSANELY frequent, it breaks the flow of the game far too often
there were tons of glitches
enemies were sponges
the fucking mine cart sections were unbearable
frequent framerate issues (thanks unity)
all the minigames were complete trash
the fridge character is one of the worst things i have ever seen
there were seemingly nonsensical puzzles that dont give you any indication if you’re missing something required to beat it
the game stops introducing characters early on, and just recycles all the previous characters
so thats the bad of yooka, heres the good
the visuals look nice half the time, although the other half is unity fucking up the lighting because its a shit engine
the music is sometimes good
some of the character designs are nice
and thats about all i can really compliment the game on honestly
it’s a mess and one of the biggest disappointments i have ever played. it wasnt even worth pirating
you wanna know what jontrons role would have even been? making farting sounds for a toilet character. they shot themselves in the foot over a youtuber voicing a toilet
oh and do you remember that little secret from the toybox i mentioned
well if you go to where you were told, you’ll find a little scene with a robot
it’ll basically say something is 50% complete
and thats it
no secret alternate costume, no unlockable power, no item that lets you find collectables, no nothing. just some dumb secret teasing a potential sequel
that was somehow the most infuriating part about the game, and perfectly sums up yooka-laylee
its a bad fucking game
sorry for any spelling mistakes, but its 3am and this is a massive wall of text