Playtonic Games has put paid to rumors it might be acquired by Microsoft. The company took to Twitter yesterday to let its fans know that it wasn’t working on a new Banjo-Kazooie game and that it remained an independent studio.
A statement from us! pic.twitter.com/nZHqI5GaYe
— Playtonic (@PlaytonicGames) November 6, 2019
These rumors started thanks to a ResetEra thread (which now has the word “DEBUNKED” at the start of its title) started by a user named mazi. In the thread, mazi posits the possibility that the British studio would be bought out by Microsoft and could be working on a new Banjo game. The first evidence mazi presented was the addition of ex-Rare developer Ed Bryan to Playtonic’s roster. Subsequently, Bryan tweeted a picture of a Microsoft-branded bag. When a Twitter user asked what the picture of the bag meant, Bryan responded that it had “come out of retirement”.
Other evidence included director Gavin Price adding extra games to his LinkedIn profile and a new company registration made by Playtonic in September this year. All of this was taken to mean that Price’s studio would soon be acquired by Microsoft, but this turned out not to be the case. Playtonic’s rebuttal says that while the studio “would love to work” with Banjo and Kazooie again, that “ball isn’t in our court”. Instead, Playtonic will continue to use everything it’s learned and keep creating new games as an indie developer.
Playtonic Games is a British studio staffed almost entirely by ex-members of Rare. Many of the studio’s staff were involved in the creation of seminal platformers like Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Playtonic released its first game, 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee, back in 2017. A second game in the series, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, was released in October this year. Unlike the first game, it’s a 2D puzzle-platformer with 3D overworld sections, and received generally more favorable reviews.
Would you like to see Playtonic create a new Banjo-Kazooie game or would you prefer a new IP? Let us know in the comments below!