Yooka-Laylee & A Hat in Time: Why You Should Keep an Eye on Them
With E3 2016 wrapping up soon, audiences were met with a flurry of new games to look forward to in the coming months. From an all new re-imagining of the God of War saga to the latest in Legend of Zelda, fans were definitely happy to see their favorite franchises get the love and attention they deserve. As usual, however, the conference was dominated by familiar names and faces as opposed to new and creative ideas. For every Resident Evil and Spiderman, there was nothing too fresh in new ideas to help balance the conferences out. And even at that, fans have been demanding a new modern day platforming game in Crash Bandicoot for years now, and all they were met with was an announced remastering of the first three games off of the first PlayStation.
Where's the Fresh Perspective?
As much as we love hearing about new chapters in our favorite franchises, so do developers. Much like the Hollywood industry, familiarity is almost always a guaranteed success. Why make a new IP that risks failure when you can create the next Silent Hill? (And promptly cancel it, thanks Konami.) That's why a lot of smaller developers that wish to refresh the face of gaming with new ideas or throw backs to the older days have to turn to fundraising websites like "Kickstarter" or "GoFundMe" to make their dreams a reality. Mighty No. 9 is coming to fruition soon, thanks to the donators who backed the project, but that title has had a rocky road to say the least. If anything, two games you should be excited to see roll off the Kickstarter factory line are A Hat in Time and Yooka-Laylee.
What Are Those Games Like?
Yooka-Laylee (as pictured above) is being developed by a group of ex Rare developers as a spiritual successor to the beloved Banjo Kazooie games created for the Nintendo 64. Since Rare has been busy making such beloved gems as Kinect Sports, and not the type of game fans have been asking about for years now, a group of former employees who worked on the original Banjo Kazooie games decided to form their own team and give the fans what they wanted. The only way to do this, however, was to receive the funds through donations, which the fans were more than happy to provide seeing the title became the fastest game project to reach $1 million in donations in Kickstater's brief history. Instead of using familiar faces however, the team created new characters to help recapture the nostalgia of today's young adult generations.
A Hat in Time, on the other hand, follows a similar pattern as Yooka-Laylee in needing donations to come to existence, but without such a fancy backstory in its creators. It was just a product of the lack of 3D platform titles in today's market.
AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHY IT'S IMPORTANT THESE GAMES SUCCEED
As much as newly announced E3 games like Days Gone look like they could be fun games, the idea behind them lacks innovation. They're titles we've seen done to death in the past two console generations. First person shooter after zombie apocalypse after third person shooter after horror games gone action adventure. E3 has mostly started boiling down to feelings of familiarity.
Games like Yooka-Laylee and A Hat in Time are such rarities on the multi-platform front that you'd have to turn to the far reaches of Steam or indie developers to get anything remotely fresh and creative nowadays. But even that has started to shift thanks to the popularity of the indie smash hit Five Nights at Freddy's. You can complain all you want as to how the industry is running out of new ideas, but it's only when gems such as these games become a success that the face of the market changes.
What Should I Take Away From This?
Think with your wallet. If you want change, support titles such as Yooka-Laylee and A Hat in Time. Kotaku received an early demo of A Hat in Time and has praised it. Our best gaming memories come from new experiences, which is why Resident Evil 7 is trying something different to win back its fan-base after the abomination that was 6. If these two titles succeed on a large scale, we could see developers follow suit in future titles. If you really do want your new Crash Bandicoot game, developers will without a doubt listen if your wallet is doing the talking.
Yooka-Laylee is currently slated to release in the first quarter of 2017 on the PS4, Xbox One, Wii U and Windows. A Hat in Time hasn't revealed a release date yet, but is currently set to release on Microsoft Windows. Be sure to let us know if you plan on picking up either of these titles the moment they release, and thereby supporting the return of 3D platforming games!