E3 is starting early for Playtonic Games, the developers of Kickstarter darling 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee. Playtonic teased an announcement yesterday and has since delivered, revealing Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. But Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair isn’t going to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor. Instead, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair will try to be the Donkey Kong Country to Yooka-Laylee‘s Donkey Kong 64.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair will feature 3D visuals with 2.5D gameplay. Playing through the game will include a mix of side-scrolling platforming levels and a top-down overworld with gameplay more akin to a 3D platformer’s puzzles and action. The trailer shows that the Yooka-Laylee sequel is mixing the modernized style and design of titles like Rayman Origins and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze with the retro Banjo-Kazooie principles that define Playtonic’s game development.
As for the story behind Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, Playtonic explains that Queen Phoebee and her Royal Beetallion Guard are in danger. It’ll be up to Yooka and Laylee to save the day, putting Capital B back in their place and defeating the Impossible Lair laid before them. Players can expect to find a beautiful and fantastical world to adventure through, filled with myriad creatures and enemies.
The shift in direction for Playtonic is certainly a surprise, given the enthusiasm the studio built around Yooka-Laylee being a retro 3D platformer. However, after the criticism that the first game received, trying something new may be just what the franchise needs. That said, Playtonic may find that modern gamers have just as high or higher expectations from modern 2D platformers as they do for 3D platformers.
This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair for E3. Playtonic and publisher Team 17 promise that more information will be shared about the sequel during E3 2019 itself, which kicks off on June 11 and runs through the 13.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair releases on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2019.