In the long list of potential future masters of the modern world, the giant Tencent is undoubtedly high. Used to massive investments in the video game sector, the Chinese group is now setting its sights on the ex-Rare of Playtonic, who intend to take advantage of it.
Formed in 2014 by a few fine flowers of the Rare of the great era (the one before the takeover by Microsoft, therefore), the Playtonic studio continues to grow: a few months after unveiling their Playtonic Friends label (which notably enabled A Little Golf Journey, tested by yours truly), the British will be able to push the walls, and multiply the projects.
Nothing seemed to predict Tencent’s interest in the progenitors of the Yooka-Laylee series, and director Gavin Price shares his surprise with our colleagues from Games Industry :
I was surprised, because I didn’t expect them to be interested in Playtonic. It turned out that they had a division dedicated to the 3D platform. We therefore had to formalize our plans for the future. They liked the studio and what we had been able to do before, and they thought they could help us achieve new goals.
Thanks to this new investor, Playtonic intends to increase hiring and open new studios: Price says the number of employees should gradually increase from 40 to 90 in the space of two years, to finally form three different development teams. The studio even intends to take the opportunity to relocate its headquarters, currently located in the suburbs of Derby, half an hour by car from the legendary Stamper brothers’ mansion.
Yooka still binds them
But that’s not all, since Playtonic took advantage of this spotlight to announce that a new episode of Yooka-Laylee is in the pipeline. After paying tribute to Banjo-Kazooie and then Donkey Kong Country through the first two episodes, in what direction will the next opus go? Mystery and furball.
While waiting to find out, Gavin Price wants to be reassuring about the rest of the operations:
We’ve had this start-up mentality for six years. We probably should have gotten out of it sooner than we did. Now, we will be able to benefit from better human resources services, teams juridical, operational teams … We always wanted to go back to the 3D platform: it will be one of the key genres in which we want to stay active, without limiting ourselves to it. The idea is not that all of our studios are working on the same kind of game.
Playtonic will have its work cut out for it, as the British have already announced that they will be releasing Lil Gator Game, Blossom Tales 2: The Minotaur Prince and Victory Heat Rally in 2022.