Something seems to be going on with Playtonic, and rumors of a Microsoft acquisition or a new Banjo-Kazooie are swirling (UPDATE 2)

Don't tease me like this...

Playtonic just recently released Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, which was quite a hit with most critics. What's next for the company coming out of that success? Depending on how deep you like to dive into rumors, the company could have some major moves going on.

Just yesterday, we saw that former RARE dev Ed Bryan was officially brought on as an employee at Playtonic. Bryan was a character artist on Banjo-Kazooie, and eventually left RARE in 2011.

Fans noticed that Bryan tweeted out the above image/tweet on Nov. 3rd, 2019, and when someone asked him what was up with the bag, Bryan responded by saying, "It’s come out of retirement!" As you can see the Microsoft branding on the bag, this has drummed up some speculation that Playtonic and Microsoft are, at the very least, working on something.

Going a step further, Gavin Price, co-owner, studio and game director at Playtonic Games, recently added this to his Linkedin profile.

Playtonic Credits

Yooka-Laylee, Yooka-Laylee & The Impossible Lair, and in the foreseeable future that game #3, #4 and the #5 one too which is the one I always thought would be game #1.

Finally, we have the news of Playtonic registering a new company name recently. The company, PLAYTONIC GAMES DEVELOPMENT LIMITED, popped up without any explanation on Sept. 17th 2019.

There's certainly a lot of smoke building up here, but where's the fire? What could Playtonic be working on? It's clear something is up, but is speculation running too wild, or is Microsoft really bringing the band back together for a new Banjo outing?


UPDATE: We have some new details that both answer some questions, and raise new ones. First up, Ed Bryan has responded to the hubbub about his bag tweet.

Second, we have two new job listings opened at Playtonic. They are looking for an Experienced Gameplay Engineer, and an Experienced Technical Generalist. One of the listings specifically mentions the Unity engine.

Third, and most interesting, are some comments from Playtonic Community Manager Daley Johnson. He was asked for his thoughts on all the rumors swirling about, and answered with this.

Oh the secrets I know. We're back to where we were when I joined Playtonic and had a wealth of info yet to be revealed, hope you remember what it was like to be tormented and looking out for clues 😭.


UPDATE 2: Playtonic has come out to deny all of these reports.


I hope Microsoft lets them have full freedom to do as they please, assuming this is true. So far Microsoft has been cool with the studios they buy out but the fear will always be there for me.

Or this is Ed Bryan's first time in a billion years working for a studio that actually has its own building, which naturally requires travel to and from, and is why he's pulling any bag out of retirement.

It being the bag from his last "real" job is a non-story.

Tue Nov 05 19 07:35am
(Updated 1 time)

That was my only thought when I saw his tweet yesterday. He used to work at Microsoft and now needs a bag for his new job so he’s using his old one...end of story.

The LinkedIn post is interesting though, but who knows what that could mean.

I have a hard time believing that they would let Microsoft pick them up considering what happened to Rare. I know most Playtonic members say Microsoft didn’t wreck the company but I have a feeling that’s just to keep them from burning bridges with them- Grant Kirkhope once said that Microsoft completely ruined them and it made him “cry everyday of his life” so there’s that. Then again, money talks...

Getting them to make a new Banjo independently though would be really great. There’s no other team better equipped to do it since the majority of Banjo staff are there. They might also be able to get Gregg Mayles on board to help since he wouldn’t have to leave Rare if the game was being made with Microsoft.

It has been quite awhile and the Xbox department at Microsoft has changed a lot, including the people who run it. If Microsoft did want to release a new Banjo game, it would make a lot of sense to seek out the best team for the job... and that isn't Rare. In fact, every time they revive a Rare property these days, they don't actually use Rare to do it. This could happen. It sure would be cool.

Sigh I wish Nintendo would aquire Playtonic over Microsoft. That way we can actually start getting DK games on a regular basis again.

Also the whole reason Playtonic was created in the first place was because the former Rare staff hated working for Rare under Microsoft's umbrella. So what, the team is gonna be roped back into it all over again? They will probably just leave again and start another company.

Also its clear from the development staff at Playtonic they miss working with Nintendo.

If Retro Studios could not make DK games on a regular basis, what makes you certain that Playtonic could do so?

According to a recent rumor Retro Studios started development on a new Singing RPG game after Tropical Freeze wrapped development in late 2013. But got cancelled. Which I do believe given how Retro has a terrible track record with new IP's and the fact they haven't released a brand new game in 5 years (before getting handed Prime 4 redevelopment duties). So HAD Retro immediately started development on a new DK game after Tropical Freeze (what they should have done) we would've had a steady release flow. We would've had a new DK game every 3 years.

Also Playtonic consists of former Rare staff a majority of them worked on the original DKC games. The original DKC games use to come out every year. 1994, 1995, 1996. Then Diddy Kong Racing in 97 and DK64 in 1999. They also made the Land games. So they have shown it could be done. Obviously technology has advanced and Playtonic is smaller than Rare so its impossible to think they can go back to that release flow. But Yooka-Laylee released in 2017 and then Impossible Lair released 2 years later.

With funding and co-development from Nintendo's staff, Playtonic could easily make a new DK game every 2-3 years.

If Microsoft buys Playtonic, its gonna end up being another Rare.

No thanks. While I haven't played any of Playtonic games yet, Microsoft has already bought enough game companies to work on first party games and what not. Buying more is only monopoly at this point.

While chances are slim, I can see a situation where Playtonic and Microsoft Co-own the Banjo IP similar to how Nintendo Co-Owns Fatal Frame with Koei Tecmo. I doubt Playtonic staff would wanna get bought by Microsoft again.

Does that happen in America?

No not really. A similar case I can think of is the Spiderman IP. Where in Sony shares the movie rights with Disney to produce the Films.

Oh neat, a Micro Machines bag.

You can't sell your soul to the devil twice

oh no please Playtronic dont make the same mistake Rare did back in 2002 we dont want you turn how Rare is today,please go to Nintendo.

MS have learned a lot from their mistakes with the XO so this, if true of course, can be good. But then again I wont bet on anything like this. Just gotta play that waiting game.


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