Pro Story Telling : Design and Balancing Success with Expectations by Yooka-Laylee Devs

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“I think players expect us to be the best of indie as well as the best of triple-A. They expect a game created with the spirit of independence along with really high production values.”

– Playtonic studio director Gavin Price, speaking to Ars Technica about development changes after unexpected success.

Yooka-Laylee, Kickstarter home-run and spiritual Banjo-Kazooie successor, is due to release in just around a month after shattering through its crowdfunding goal in mid-2015. Developer Playtronic raised its initial ask of $213,500 in under an hour, and by the end of the campaign had reached all of its stretch goals to raise over $2.5 million.

While Yooka-Laylee’s success is closer to the Kickstarter exception than the rule, Playtronic studio director Gavin Price’s comments can still offer some wisdom to developers about post-crowdfunding expectations and taking on the “risky prospect” of a bright, N64 inspired platformer.

In a conversation with Ars Technica, Price discussed how the sudden and unexpected funding fervor changed how the development team perceived their project and how he thinks players envision the studio. One such change, he said, was the fact that some features listed as stretch goals, things that the team may have only been considering at the time of the campaign, now absolutely had to be included in the final game.

“Certain assets have been redone, and features that we’d been going back and forth on have had to go in no what matter what once we’d raised so much money,” said Price. “We had set a bunch of stretch goals that we thought, at best, might be hit at the very end of the campaign, but they were all reached within a few days.”

Head over to Ars Technica to read the full piece, which includes Price’s thoughts on the Kickstarter campaign, the rarity of colorfully stylized visuals in modern games, and the origins of a certain snake character named Trowzer.