Yooka-Laylee from Playtonic owes a lot to classic 3D platformers. The Banjo-Kazooie series’ influence is most palpable – which makes sense, seeing as so many of the team had a direct hand in creating those games – but there’s also a sense of newness and revitalization that Playtonic hopes Yooka-Laylee will bring to the genre as well.

One of the biggest tweaks Playtonic is bringing is the idea of “expanded worlds.” Yooka-Laylee takes place in both a large open-world hub and smaller, more thoughtfully constructed areas that exist inside the pages of various storybooks.
It’s not too different from the way Super Mario 64 functions with Peach’s castle and the multitude of paintings therein, letting players choose which worlds they want to visit in whatever order they choose. Yooka-Laylee’s levels are a fair share larger, but conceptually, it’s the same idea.

Where Yooka-Laylee breaks from that mold is in how you can revisit and build upon your experiences with each level. Going back to the Super Mario 64 comparison, I might really like Bob-omb Battlefield, but that level will always be the same. Sure, a character might spawn in a different location or I might open up some cannons, but it’s still the same geometry. In Yooka-Laylee though, I can revisit a favorite world and make it physically bigger, adding new challenges, new areas, and new NPCs.

During a hands-off demo at E3, Playtonic showed a relatively simple world with your expected quests: collect this, find that, race them. Movement was smooth and the world was lovely to look at, with several secret paths and side-objectives to fulfill.

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