End of Wii-U Production Had Nothing to Do With Yooka-Laylee Switch

Playtonic Games cited “technical difficulties” as the reason.

The studio behind Yooka-Laylee has assured its Kickstarter backers that Nintendo’s decision to end Wii U production did not affect the decision to move the game to the Nintendo Switch. 

Playtonic Games announced this morning that it is working closely with Nintendo to bring Yooka-Laylee to the upcoming Switch console, and promised more details about it “early next year.” However, the Wii U SKU once promised to the game’s early Kickstarter backers has been scrapped. 

Playtonic studio head Gavin Price insists that his team was unaffected by the decision. “No, that had nothing to do with the decision,” he tells GamesIndustry.biz. “As we have shared, it’s simply down to unforeseen technical difficulties. Its a testament to the team that we have continued to fully explore every possible option throughout making Yooka-Laylee.

“Our backers are why we are here today and that’s our first priority. We can assure you this was a hard decision for everyone. Our team has so much combined Nintendo heritage and were huge Nintendo fans as individuals. That’s why we’re working hard to make things right for our backers and with Nintendo and Playtonic’s fanbase over the coming weeks and months.”

The Wii U version of Yooka-Laylee was said to be the most requested platform for the game, due in part to nostalgia for the rare-developed Nintendo 64 platformer Banjo-Kazooie that the team previously worked on. 

Playtonic will be releasing information on how backers can choose a different format in January, although according to their FAQ, full refunds are likely to be an option. They are also looking into offering backers that pledged enough to the original Kickstarter campaign to qualify for a digital edition the option of upgrading to a physical copy. However, those who switch to another format will not be charged.

“We’re working hard to provide Wii U fans with multiple options to let them decide how they’d like to move forwards,” says Price. “The Playtonic team members who backed were mostly Wii U backers too, so we know it’s not the news everyone wanted to hear but we’ll do our absolute best to make it the right decision and ensure Nintendo fans get the great experience they deserve.”

News of the delay came as the studio announced Yooka Laylee‘s April 11th 2017 release date. Nintendo Switch is expected to launch in March, but there is no confirmation as to whether or no not the Switch version will launch alongside the other formats. With the Wii U gone, that leaves Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Mac and Linux. 

When Price was asked how he expected backers to covert, if he thought it better to opt for established formats or wait for the switch, he commented, “We’ve not even thought abut this. We are focused first and foremost on doing right by backers affected by this decision.” 

“Having the game go on to be successful beyond backers is something we’re grateful for having Debbie Bestwick and Team 17 helping us to do, but this decision has left us with an even greater sense of care to our backers and making sure they are well looked after as soon as possible and letting them decide if holding out for Switch or another platform is the best choice for them.”