Yooka-Laylee Finally Lands on Switch in December
After numerous technical hurdles, we're finally getting Playtonic's platformer on a Nintendo system
Yooka-Laylee was always intended to land on a Nintendo console. When it was announced on Kickstarter back in 2015, a Wii U version was promised. A few years later the Wii U proved to be a failure for Nintendo. And the Nintendo Switch was looking to be a promising successor. So, due to some “unforeseen technical issues”, the team at Playtonic Games decided to scrap the Wii U version and instead bring Yooka-Laylee to the Switch.
Things didn’t go smoothly from there though. While the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and even Linux and MacOS versions all saw releases back in April – the Switch release of Yooka-Laylee was nowhere to be found. But now, finally, Playtonic is ready to bring their platformer to Nintendo’s hybrid portable.
The Switch version of Yooka-Laylee appears to be the preeminent edition of the game. Andy Robinson, writer and communications direct at Playtonic, promised big things for the Switch version while speaking with GameIndustry.biz:
“People playing it for the first time will be getting it with this huge roster of updates, which have all been based on feedback from the other versions. We’re talking big, big stuff. There’s new pause music, a whole new camera mode, a whole load of design polish, there’s a lot of optimisation, you can now skip the cutscenes, you can tweak the audio, you can skip through the text if you want…”
“And it’s not just the option to skip stuff. There’s control tweaks, we have polished up the multiplayer games… it is a more accessible experience now, because we’ve had another pass over the hub world to make it easier to find content. There’s an option in the menu so you can look at every move and learn how to perform it. It’s a significant roster of stuff, so those playing first time on Switch are getting a better experience.”
All these upgrades didn’t come without growing pains for the Switch version. The team at Playtonic has struggled to get the game’s Unity engine working properly on Nintendo’s systems. They canceled the Wii U version outright because of it, and they’ve had equal struggles apparently with the Switch.
Gavin Price, studio head at Playtonic, explained the company’s struggles:
“The uniqueness of the project, on this engine, on a new console, has created this bespoke puzzle that needed to be solved. To be fair, Unity, Nintendo, everyone, has been digging deep and helping us out. We’ve had Unity people getting out of beds at midnight to help us solve problems. You don’t know if you’re going to come across these problems until they’re there, but everyone has been putting in a tonne of effort, which has been really heartwarming. Unity and Nintendo don’t have to be bothered about a game from a new little indie studio in Burton-on-Trent.”
Price then doubled down on Robinson’s expectations for the Switch version. He touted the Switch version as being “the most optimised version of the game hands down. We are really pleased with the results.” We’ll see for ourselves exactly how well it turned out when Yooka-Laylee lands on Nintendo Switch December 14th.