The next pagie in Playtonic’s story?
[Update: Responding to speculation with a statement posted to Twitter, Playtonic Games said that it is not currently working on “a new Banjo-Kazooie game” and the studio remains “independent.”
“While we would love to work with the bear and bird again, that ball isn’t in our court. With that said, we are keen to continue progressing as a studio, carrying the experience of games we worked on, old and new, to create new characters and adventures for you to (hopefully) love.”]
Microsoft has been on an aggressive spending spree over the past couple years, snatching up studios to bolster Xbox’s first-party efforts. The likes of Obsidian, Double Fine, and Ninja Theory are all newly-acquired Microsoft subsidiaries — developers with proven track records of making unique and beloved games.
Xbox might be on the cusp of announcing a new acquisition. There’s talk that Microsoft will buy Playtonic Games. Playtonic, which was founded in 2014, has two games in its portfolio: Yooka-Laylee and Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair.
The basis for this speculation is a trail of breadcrumbs that’s scattered in every which direction. The most substantial clue comes from Playtonic hiring former Rare character designer Ed Bryan. Alongside the announcement of his new employer, Bryan tweeted a photo of a Microsoft messenger bag with the caption “Well, I never really had any plans to use this again.” He later added that the bag has “come out of retirement.”
There’s more, though. In September, Playtonic registered a new company in the UK that’s called Playtonic Games Development Limited. Lastly, co-owner Gavin Price updated his LinkedIn to note that the studio is set to make its third, fourth, and fifth games — one of which is the game he always thought Playtonic would make first.
It’s nothing concrete, but it’s a bunch of small details that add up to something plausible. It’s also worth noting that Xbox has a relatively big presence in the English development scene in that it already owns Ninja Theory, Rare, and two Playground Games studios (not to mention routinely contracting work out to other teams like Sumo Digital).
If there’s something to this, we’ll probably find out soon enough. Xbox’s X019 celebration takes place in London beginning on November 14. There’s no better time to reveal an English acquisition than in front of an English audience.