Playtonic Games announced on Twitter that Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight would be appearing in Yooka-Laylee, the upcoming spiritual successor to Rare's Banjo-Kazooie games. Attached to the tweet was a link to a YouTube video featuring a character parade as well as revealing the game's guest star, set to an upbeat ditty.
Needless to say, the internet is in love with this story for a myriad of reasons. In addition to Yooka-Laylee being a highly anticipated release, it's comforting to see two independent game developers come together and put their respective properties into a shared universe during a time when companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are competing for exclusive dominance.
While the game's developers haven't indicated that there are any other guest characters in the works at this time, it's also an idea that they aren't closed off to. That fact, combined with how great Shovel Knight fits into the Yooka-Laylee world, got me thinking about other great video game characters I'd love to see appear in the game.
1. Banjo And Kazooie
When you have a conversation about Yooka-Laylee, it's impossible not to mention the bird and bear duo who stole our hearts on the Nintendo 64. Developed by a company formed by key members of Rare during the Nintendo 64 era and boasting a memorable soundtrack from composer Grant Kirkhope, Yooka-Laylee is full of Banjo-Kazooie influences. Based on the sneak peeks we've already received of the coming game, it is also going to share a similar graphical style to Banjo-Kazooie, contain characters that speak in an odd combination of grunts and groans, and also feature a flightless character and his flying female friend.
Getting Banjo and Kazooie into the game on all platforms could prove to be a challenge, considering that Microsoft owns the rights to the characters, meaning the tech giant would most likely be excluded from the Wii U version of the game. Still, it's difficult to imagine that having these two sets of characters interacting would be anything but magical.
2. Ty The Tasmanian Tiger
When it comes to anthropomorphic animals in video games, there's none that I love more than Krome Studios' Ty, a boomerang-tossing ferocious feline from Down Under. While both games have different visual styles, they are very similar at their core. Key aspects of both games include collecting items that tie in with the in-game world to push the story forward, and intense bouts of platforming, combined with a unique combat system.
Going past the basics of game play, Ty is a character who's been around for over a decade, but sadly hasn't been well represented in the last few years. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4 switched the game from a 3D action-adventure game to a 2D platformer, but the character's spirit was still there. Considering that an HD remaster of Ty's first outing is in Early Access on Steam, now is as good a time as any to help get Ty back into the spotlight, something an appearance in Yooka-Laylee would be sure to do.
Another character that would fit very well into the world of Yooka-Laylee is WayForward Technologies' Shantae, the half-genie guardian of Scuttle Town. Games like Banjo-Kazooie and Yooka-Laylee rely heavily on bright, colorful characters with wonderful abilities, and Shantae brings both of those things to the table in droves.
Shantae is set to star in her fourth game, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, later this year, and what better way to follow that up than by joining Yooka-Laylee as an NPC and help build out the game's family tree? Would you be happy to see Shantae in Yooka-Laylee? I know I would.
Check out the trailer for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero below:
I've always liked to think of Rayman as the mascot without a home. While iconic characters like Mario and Sonic could easily be linked to a single platform at one point or another in their lives, Rayman has never had that luxury. He has always been a character that, while developed by Ubisoft, has had his games released on every platform available, not unlike many other iconic characters such as Pac-Man, Frogger, and dare I say it, Bubsy.
Rayman is a character that has a lot of commercial appeal and is easily identifiable. Although the majority of his recent releases have been side-scrolling platformers, it'd be great to see the character make a triumphant world to the land of 3D gaming, if only in a cameo.
I can't believe that in my lifetime I would make a plea to any developer to add Bubsy into their game. And yet here we are. It's 2016 and Bubsy has starred in exactly two flawed 2D games and one abysmal 3D nightmare. That being said, I think it's safe to say that he has done his penance for past transgressions and he's deserving of another chance.
The first two Bubsy games were re-released on Steam and while they haven't aged particularly well, that doesn't mean that a modern-day Bubsy game doesn't have real potential in the right hands. The biggest issue is introducing modern audiences to Bubsy and stripping the stigma of failure from my favorite bobcat. Yooka-Laylee is going to be an immensely successful game if the footage that has been released thus far has been any indicator, meaning that for the first time in the 20 years since Bubsy 3D, the character can be associated with success.
Would adding Bubsy as a guest star in Yooka-Laylee be seen as a big risk for the developers? Absolutely. But at the same time it would leave the game with a very interesting metric to judge just how successful the game is: the Bubsy Tolerance Level.
Conker is one of those characters that I don't believe has a target market. First introduced in the family-friendly racing game Diddy Kong Racing, for the Nintendo 64, and continuing the trend of child-appropriate games with Conker's Pocket Tales on the Game Boy Color, it came as a bit of a shock when Conker started to turn blue.
Conker's Bad Fur Day is an M-rated 3D platformer put out by Rare in the early 2000s, and the game worked hard to earn that rating. From a star that starts the game drunk, to enough toilet humor to put South Park to shame, the game is calling out for adult gamers. Fortunately, this flip-flopping on Conker's true target market is what makes him a great candidate for inclusion in Yooka-Laylee.
While it's fair to say that Conker's system appearances would be limited due to Microsoft's ownership of all Rare IP, Conker has more of a cult following than a mainstream one. Hashing out a deal to get a characters like Banjo and Kazooie into a game coming for Sony and Nintendo platforms seems more like a pipe dream than anything, but there's much less money on the table with Conker, meaning a deal could be easier to work out, though all parties involved would need to benefit from the deal to make this, or any Rare IP deals, actually happen.
Yooka-Laylee will be available in March 2017. When it comes to guest characters, the possibilities are endless. What characters would you like to see appear in the game? Let us know in the comments below.