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One of the exhibits shown during this week’s FTC v Microsoft federal court case was a list created in April 2021 of around 100 developers and publishers that could be potential candidates for acquisition.
One of the more notable names on the list is Playtonic Games, the studio behind Yooka-Laylee and its sequel Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair.
Consisting of many of the core start behind the Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country games, Playtonic created Yooka-Laylee as a spiritual successor to the Nintendo 64 platformer, the rights to which are owned by Xbox.
Had Microsoft decided to acquire the studio then, it would have led to the team behind the original Banjo-Kazooie becoming part of the company that owns the IP.
Ultimately, the list was filtered down to just 17 companies, of which neither Playtonic nor any of the studios named above were included.
According to Microsoft’s document, the filtering process involved removing studios that failed to meet certain criteria, including a lack of original IP experience, being a “follower without innovation”, or a lack of “cultural fit” or “maturity in business”.
The characters have made cameos in other publishers’ games over the years – most notably as playable racers in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, playable fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate and DLC in Minecraft – but there’s no sign of a full sequel coming any time soon.
“I leave it up to the studios in terms of the things that they want to go work on,” Spencer said. “I have a lot of respect for Rare and the work that they do. They do like building new things, and they’ve seen success with Sea of Thieves. I think they’re really excited about Everwild.
“But also the response to Battletoads was nice. And I think [partner studio] Dlala did a good job with the game. And so I think it’s just always a balance. My inbox is full of: ‘Let every studio do new [intellectual property].’ And also: ‘Why have you brought back Crimson Skies and Blinx?’”