Developer Playtonic Games has revealed a new character for their upcoming, Kickstarter-funded project Yooka-Laylee. Dubbed Rextro Sixtyforus, this polygonal dinosaur is meant to hearken back to the bygone era of the console platformer, which inspires almost every facet of Yooka-Laylee’s gameplay.
Rex’s big debut comes courtesy of IGN, who have an exclusive early look at Yooka-Laylee’s development. While the project isn’t slated to release until October of next year, the folks at Playtonic want to ensure backers that their money is going to good use, and towards a project that appears very much inspired by titles like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country.
Interestingly enough, the developer responsible for Rextro Sixtyforus, Mark Stevenson, cut his teeth on Rare franchises like DKC and Kameo. According to Stevenson, Rex’s design is meant to mimic the look of those games in that his shape is very polygonal in nature, with harsh edges making up his form. Stevenson even added a little CRT fuzz to Rex’s coloring to ensure the ‘90s inspirations are abundantly clear.
“I wanted Rex to to feel like he captured the era of games from my early career which also included work on the Donkey Kong games on the Super Nintendo. Finally just to reinforce the retro aspect some more, I created a custom shader that creates a scanline effect on Rextro to make him look like he’s being viewed on an old school CRT TV.”
Playtonic had originally planned to reveal Rextro Sixtyforus as part of the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter campaign, but the developer decided to hold off until now. They wouldn’t say why Rex sat waiting in the wings – despite finalizing his look very early on – but we’d bet that the massive success of the crowdfunding effort had something to do with it. Presumably, Playtonic was holding onto Rex in case they needed to build up a little excitement and make their Kickstarter goal. But luckily for them, they smashed past the £175,000 threshold in less than 24 hours and closed with £2,090,000.
In other words, a record-breaking Kickstarter like that doesn’t need a polygonal dinosaur to generate interest. Truthfully, all Yooka-Laylee needed to say was “from the makers of Banjo-Kazooie” and most were on-board. Now, character reveals like Rex’s only further prove that Playtonic is sticking to their word and making a game in the vein of Banjo.
As far as Rex’s role in Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic Games reveals that the ‘90s dinosaur will guard a playable retro arcade machine hidden within each level. So while Yooka-Laylee may be modern in design, there are clearly a few Easter Eggs meant to pay homage to the games that the inspired the project.
Considering many of Playtonic’s devs came from Rare, we wouldn’t be surprised to see arcade machines featuring titles inspired by the likes of Battletoads or Perfect Dark. Yes, Playtonic doesn’t own the rights to those games, but as they have shown with
Banjo-Kazooie Yooka-Laylee, spiritual successors can be just as appealing as the real thing.
Yooka-Laylee releases October 2016 for PC, Mac, PS4, Wii U, and Xbox One.