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First in-engine screenshots of Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor

UPDATE: Character teaser revealed. Watch the Rezzed dev session.

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UPDATE 14/3/15 5.15pm: An edited version of the first screenshot below, shown today during Playtonic's EGX Rezzed developer session, has teased a glimpse at one of the game's characters.

A lizard (perhaps a chameleon?) has been spotted hiding under a plant within the level.

Playtonic has yet to reveal either of its game's two stars, as doing so will - it says - reveal too much about its gameplay.

We've got Playtonic's Rezzed developer session available to watch in the video below.

ORIGINAL STORY 14/3/15 5.15pm: The self-styled spiritual successor to platforming classic Banjo-Kazooie will soon receive a Kickstarter campaign, developer Playtonic has confirmed.

The studio has also shared its first in-engine screenshots of the project with Eurogamer.

Speaking ahead of the game's Kickstarter announcement, which was officially revealed today during a developer session at EGX Rezzed, Playtonic's Gavin Price confirmed that the move to partly crowdfund the project was decided after the enthusiastic response towards its initial reveal.

"We honestly weren't expecting as big a reaction as we got," Price, a veteran of British studio Rare, said. "We've had tons and tons of emails - a massive fan response. But it's good - we want that pressure, we're really happy with that reception.

"Up until a few weeks ago [Kickstarter] wasn't really on our radar, but since we've had such a massive response from people - we're thinking that the game has to become a lot bigger, a lot broader, we want to do a lot more with it now to make people happy."

The game, currently named Project Ukulele, still lacks a firm title. This is due to the fact that the game's final name will, like Banjo-Kazooie, likely consist of the names of its two starring characters, which still remain under-wraps.

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The first in-engine screenshot from Project Ukulele.

"We're still sending stupid ideas to each other, and thinking about how much to push the fact that this is a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie," Price said, when asked about potential names. "We're coming up with different puns... we'll get there in the end. Apparently the name Halo 5 is taken."

A 3D platformer designed by key members of the old Banjo-Kazooie team, Project Ukulele is being planned as a game "between the size of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie"

Its two new animal stars will take advantage of their characters' abilities far more than Banjo and Kazooie, as they adventure through "less linear" worlds that do not force players along a specific path. There will also be collectables named pagies which will expand and grow levels - or unlock new ones - to again let players choose their own route.

It's an idea that wouldn't have been workable back in the old Banjo-Kazooie days, Price says, but one which could lead to interesting new gameplay systems now. However, such things do not come without some investment.

"If we needed, we could make the game with a few hundred thousand pounds, but if we can go beyond that we will scale up the game and add features as fans want from us. We could do the game comfortably on 400,000, but if we had more to spend we could, for example, hire a proper QA team rather than beta testing it.

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"And as for ourselves," Price adds, "we're not taking the best wages in our career right now - we've all come down in wages and we're in a tiny office - it's cold in the morning and too hot in the afternoon with all the computers on. But it's kind of how we like it - it's reminiscent of the early days at Rare in the barn there, in this place that was never supposed to be a development studio but was just a building next to a farmhouse."

Playtonic expects to launch its Kickstarter campaign in May. Before then, it will be canvassing opinion for what potential backers would want to see as rewards and extra features for the developer to work on. The developer is even interested in developing its own Amiibo figurines to work with Nintendo's NFC toy range.

"We're almost starting a pre-Kickstarter Kickstarter campaign," Price continued. "We don't want to force tiers and stretch goals on fans, we'd love to hear if people would like to voice characters, if people want to have early access to the game, perhaps - and this is just a pipe dream - if we can have a boxed N64 copy of the game to really play off the game's nostalgic feel. So it's about finding out what people want from us from the Kickstarter campaign and then creating it with that in mind.

"And out of about 500 emails we receive every week, probably about 499 of them are shouting Wii U! Wii U! As a games fan, I've been a Nintendo fanboy since the NES days. Most of are fans are Nintendo fans as well. So while we can't confirm what platforms we will be on - some of that is beyond our control - but we are developing on Unity and we don't want to leave anyone out. And we'd try to ship simultaneously to make the biggest splash possible when the game comes out."

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