Oh man, guys. It's actually happening. Yooka-Laylee, the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, officially has a release date. The Kickstarter from Playtonic Games began back in May of 2015 started out strong and ended only one month later with an astounding total of more than $2.6 million.
After all this time, we're finally going to be able to play it on April 11, 2017. Of course, it seems that with all good news, so too must come bad news.
Playtonic Games Announced Yooka-Laylee Will Not Be Coming To The Wii U After All
Yes, if you hadn't figured it out, this is the bad news part. All along, the stretch goals included a Wii U version, which several people already preordered. Naturally, people who preordered the Wii U version aren't too happy. Playtonic Games has, however, stated that anyone who did so can easily switch their preorder to a #PS4, #XboxOne, or #PC version (or likely get a refund if they directly contact Playtonic).
The bigger issue here, though, is that Banjo-Kazooie was a Nintendo series when it first hit shelves — and really, when it became the popular gaming platformer for 90s kids. Sure, it's available on every other gaming platform available, but if you're a Nintendo die-hard through and through, this news could mean missing out on the release of something you've wanted ever since the "ugh it's not the same" Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts title released on the Xbox 360 back in 2008.
To put it in perspective, imagine if the upcoming Crash Bandicoot remasters, four months before release, were announced to be cancelled on Sony consoles, but available on Nintendo or Microsoft consoles. Or for Microsoft fans, imagine remakes of Halo and Halo 2, but not for the Xbox One. Maybe you own the other consoles, but if you grew up playing them on their originals, it wouldn't be that same experience you were hoping for.
There Is Some Hope For Nintendo Fans, Though!
If you weren't aware, Nintendo has a new console coming out in March. You may have heard of it, it's called the #Switch. Playtonic Games wrote the following regarding the lack of a Wii U port in their most recent update:
The Playtonic team is sad to confirm that despite our best efforts and exploring every possible avenue, we’ve encountered unforeseen technical issues that unfortunately mean it will be impossible for us to release the game on Wii U as initially planned.
We can however confirm the exciting news that we are now working very closely with Nintendo to look to bring Yooka-Laylee to the upcoming Nintendo Switch. We’re looking forward to exploring the opportunity and will have more details to share early next year.
Honestly, this isn't too surprising. For one, the Wii U doesn't exactly conform to console norms of today, which means either porting features to work on the gamepad or ignoring the gamepad entirely. More importantly, the game is releasing one month after the Switch.
It would not have made sense to release on the Wii U when everyone is focused on the hot new goodness from Nintendo. Playtonic Games could have either Switch'd focus or spend money developing for two Nintendo consoles at once, which really wouldn't make financial sense.
But That's Not Enough For A Lot Of Backers
Unfortunately, the news of the game coming to the Switch was not enough for a lot of backers. Granted, some people are excited that the game will still come to Nintendo, but those upset have legitimate arguments against the cancellation:
- Up until now, Playtonic Games never mentioned troubles with the Wii U version.
- Several people backed specifically because the Wii U was "confirmed" as a console the game would come to.
- Not everyone with a Wii U has other consoles.
- Not everyone with a Wii U plans to get a Switch (either at launch or ever).
- As a classic Nintendo 64 title, the delay means Nintendo fans will be receiving the game on a Nintendo console months after every other platform receives the game.
All in all, it's easy to dismiss the displeased if you haven't put yourself in their shoes. But as someone who grew up with the games on the Nintendo 64 and who completely understands not having finances to purchase a console when it launches, I feel for these people.
If you were a kid playing Banjo-Kazooie on the N64 and jumped for joy when Yooka-Laylee was announced, this sort of update would feel a bit like Christmas was delayed for a few months and would instead be at your weird aunt's house with your awkward cousin. The Switch is objectively a better focus, but it's hard not to sympathize.
How do you feel about Yooka-Laylee's last-minute console Switcheroo?