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Ex-Rare dev legends tease new game “Project Ukulele”

Sam Loveridge


Project Ukulele

A group of former long-time Rare developers have teased a new game, Project Ukulele.

Although all we have at the moment is some concept art for the game, the team have promised it will be a spiritual successor to the classic platformer Banjo-Kazooie.

The six-strong development team, all ex-Rare veterans, have formed a new development studio called Playtonic Games and aim to build their team to around 15 staff.

The game is currently codenamed Project Ukulele, but when it is released it will launch via Steam Early Access and unspecified consoles.

If you’re wondering who Playtonic Games are, we’ve had a gander at the new website and identified a few of the famous faces.

“We’ve got the bloke who programmed Donkey Kong Country, the character designer behind Banjo and Kazooie, and the artist who made your console fit to burst with lavish environments across a decade’s worth of adventuring games,” reads the Playtonic Games website.

“Together, our all-star ensemble is aiming to build its debut game, Project Ukulele, into a worth spiritual successor to those fondly remembers platforming adventures we built in the past.”

That includes Chris Sutherland as Project Director and Software Engineer, who worked at Rare from 1989 to 2014. Then there’s Jens Restemeier as Technical Director, who was a software engineer at Rare for eight years before leaving for Free Radical Design and other companies.

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Playtonic Games also has Gavin Price to its name, a key developer on Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Banjo Tooie and Jet Force Gemini, having worked at the company from 1999 to 2014.

There’s also Steven Hurst, an Environmental Art Director at Playtonic Games, who worked on visuals at Rare from 1995 to 2011. His work includes Donkey Kong Country 2, GoldenEye and the original Banjo Kazooie.

“Over the coming months we’ll reveal more about our project and future growth plans, and we very much intend to get you involved and listen to your views on our game’s direction. You’ll ultimately shape the destination of our project and we plan to continue exchanging sweet glances across cyberspace at you until we get there.”

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