Yooka-Laylee character artist explains why he thinks 3D platformers died off

A portion of a GodIsAGeek interview with character artist, Steve Mayles...

GG: We could be seeing a comeback for the genre, with A Hat In Time, Crash Bandicoot Remastered and Yooka-Laylee. Why do you think this style of game died off?

SM: I think the market got very saturated in the late 90s with 3D stuff. As soon as we could do 3D, a lot of people did those sort of free-roaming open world platformers. There was a lot of them about. I think people got a little bit fed up with them. And also with the new technology coming in, new hardware that can do better graphics, people were eager to show that off – developers were eager to show that off – with a more realistic product that didn’t really fit in the cartoony world of the 3D platformer. For us, absence makes the heart grow fonder. If we tried this 10 years ago, we wouldn’t have got the response. But there has been that gap for so long that people have been crying out for another 3D platformer.

Categories: Interviews, Consoles
Games: Yooka-Layee


Tue Mar 14 17 02:42pm
Rating: 2

I genuinely loved Alice: Madness Returns, which was a modern, realistic (though stylized) 3D platformer.

That, and replaying Mario 64, are what made me realize I miss the genre.

I miss Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, etc. those games are the best. However, I do love experiencing new gameplay too.

One of my favorites near the dying end of the genre, Vexx, still makes me yearn for interesting ideas and takes on on of my favorite genre experiences.

new hardware that can do better graphics, people were eager to show that off – developers were eager to show that off – with a more realistic product that didn’t really fit in the cartoony world of the 3D platformer.

Seems legit. The GC/PS2/Xbox era was for the most part the last breath of 3D platformers. I think the closest comparison would be how Ubisoft games place several trinkets to collect in their open worlds.

I get that realistic presentation is the easiest to see graphical prowess but I have to say after Nintendo's GDC presentation that cartoony art styles makes absurd gameplay features look better. Also IMO several mascots have had designs with more staying power than the human renegade archetypes of the last decade.

The market didn't get saturated. The problem wasn't the number of games, as if we're being honest there were 100 times as many FPSs at their peak than there were 3D collectathons. What killed the genre was DK64. Horrible controls, five bananas per level per character, a blueprint per level per character and 100 bananas per level per character, plus terrible mini games, plus banana fairies, multiplied by eight levels plus some stuff on the overworld. DK64 took the genre as far as it could go at the time and pushed past the point of no return. From that point forward it was a slow, painful death.

No single game kills a genre, bud. If that was the case, Flip's Twisted World would have been the seal and every final nail to the coffin of the genre, never to be awaken again. That game saw what DK 64 did and attempted to be worse.

Not to mention what games spefically would permenently be dead from terrible outings.

DK64 signaled the decline, it didn't single handedly kill it. It simply poisoned the well, this is undeniable.

I wouldn't even say it was the signal of the decline, most popular franchise, and most covered to be as bad as some say (in which I can agree), but not the defining moment. DK64 was the product of that downturn, Gex, Space Circus Fever, Tonic Trouble, Chameleon Twist 2, Castlevania 64, Earthworm 3D, Adiboo, the freaking Contra game to some extent... Those as a collective shown us that slow, agonizing death of platform games. DK64 is still likes by many to this day, the same cannot be said for the others on this list.

DK64 just happens to be Nintendo's failure personally.

Tue Mar 14 17 04:12pm
Rating: 1

If it only took a few years for 3D platformers to saturate and kill the market, how come the market for FPS games continues to thrive after over a decade?

FPS are still mainstream but they no longer have the stranglehold they had last gen. I have a million quality third person/action/rpg/adventure games on PS4 and can proudly say the only "FPS" I have on the console is Overwatch which is a breath of fresh air.


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