By Bryan Smith on January 12, 2016 at 11:06am
Playtonic has announced that Kev Bayliss, former designer for Rare, will be joining Playtonic (as seen above, this is a drawing by Bayliss). Playtonic has also released a statement and some background information for Mr. Kev Bayliss:
In his previous life, Kev was one of the first employees at Rare. As ‘Graphics Director’ he created the memorable character casts for a plethora of gaming classics including Battletoads, Killer Instinct, Diddy Kong Racing and StarFox Adventures.
However, the prestigious scribbler is perhaps most famous for his work forming the origins of Donkey Kong Country, working with Shigeru Miyamoto to create the modern Donkey Kong and sidekick Diddy (the DKC art team also included Playtonic employees Steve Mayles, Steven Hurst and Mark Stevenson.)
Kev’s been flirting (and sketching) with Playtonic for a while now, but clearly our new kitchen facilities have been enough to convince him to go steady. We’ll let him explain in his own words below.
See the Playtonic Team page for further staff-related analysis. For a more detailed catch up on Kev’s career read our Kev Bayliss interview from last summer.
Welcome aboard, Kev!
Bayliss also had a few things to say, one of which is surprising as he hasn't seen some of his fellow teammates in years.
After working at Rare for nearly 20 years (since the 80s!) it was nice to be able to take a break from games when I eventually left in 2005. I’ve worked on a few music and art projects since then, but I also missed being part of a video game team.
The timing with Playtonic was perfect. After meeting up with the team last year it became obvious to me that this was something I had to be a part of. I hadn’t seen some of the Playtonic team for almost a decade, but the environment and dynamic they’d recreated at the studio felt as though I’d been transported back to the 90s – in a good way!
For the past six months I’ve been travelling up and down the country to spend a couple of days a week with the team, but now I’m in the process of re-locating to work fulltime at Playtonic. This year my wife and I are moving much nearer to where the studio is located, and it’ll take me 15 minutes to get into work, rather than two hours. So that means more graphics, and speedier development time!
To date I’ve really enjoyed contributing characters to Yooka-Laylee and working within the office environment. So far I’ve built a variety of silly characters for the game, from concept sketch right through to the final models and animation. I had to spend a bit of time getting back up to scratch with technology, but thankfully a few months of nagging the other artists sorted that!
In the future I’d love to rekindle some of the ideas I’ve had since leaving Rare, and help bring to life some of those even bigger, bolder character concepts that have been brewing in my head. I’ve so many ideas, old and new, so it’s going to be great fun filling that little logo-flask with more stars.
In short, it’s like old times, but new! There are fantastic group of people here and we all have the same ambitions. I’m very pleased and feel very lucky to be connected to the company now, and really excited about the future!
It'd be interesting to see what Bayliss adds to "Yooka-Laylee," if he's able to add anything in time that is. "Yooka-Laylee" was recently funded last year in an extremely quick time and is scheduled to release sometime in October 2016 (assuming nothing gets delayed). What Playtonic could/would do following "Yooka-Laylee" isn't know, though with a large number of former Rare members joining to one place, they could attempt other games harking back to their glory days on the Nintendo 64 or even collaborate with Nintendo next should they choose.