Project Ukulele Banjo Kazooie Spiritual Successor
The teaser image for Project Ukulele. Playtonic Games


  • Chris Sutherland will lead project
  • Teaser image released

A "spiritual successor" to N64 classic Banjo Kazooie is in the works at Playtonic Games - a new studio founded by former Rare developers.

Code-named Project Ukulele, the game is being worked on by a group of six who hope to grow to a team of around 15 people as the project enters full development.

The reveal came as part of an interview with Playtonic conducted by Edge magazine and was later coupled with a teaser image (above and below in full) posted to the studio's new website.

Currently Project Ukulele is being developed for Steam Early Access and unnamed consoles. The developer has expressed a desire to find a home on Nintendo's Wii U however, rekindling the magic that gave the world numerous Rare classics such as Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark and the first two Banjo Kazooie titles.

Project Ukulele Banjo Kazooie Spiritual Successor
The full teaser image for Project Ukulele. Playtonic Games

Chris Sutherland, who worked at Rare between 1989 and 2014, is listed as the game's project director and software engineer. Jens Restemeier (at Rare for eight years) will be technical director, while Steven Hurst (who worked at Rare between 1995 and 2011) will be the game's environment art director. Gavin Price who worked at Rare between 1999 and 2014 is also working on the project.

A statement on their website says: "Currently we're a sextet of artists, programmers and designers - sort of like The Pussycat Dolls with computer science degrees - with one thing in common; we were all once core members of famous UK studio Rare, where we helmed franchises such as Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong Country and Viva Piñata.

"We've got the bloke who programmed Donkey Kong Country, the character designer behind Banjo and Kazooie, and the artist who made your console fit to burst with lavish environments across a decade's worth of adventure games.

"Together, our all-star ensemble is aiming to build its debut game, 'Project Ukulele', into a worthy spiritual successor to those fondly remembered platforming adventures we built in the past."

Rare have always been a studio held dearly to the hearts of gamers from the 80s and 90s. Their heyday began when they partnered with Nintendo in 1994 to develop Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo that year.

A sequel followed the next year as Rare also created and expanded their Killer Instinct fighter series on the same console. Things only got better on the Nintendo 64. Rare released Goldeneye 007 and Diddy Kong Racing in 1997, Banjo Kazooie in 1998, Jet Force Gemini and Donkey Kong 64 in 1999, Perfect Dark and Banjo Tooie in 2000 and Conker's Bad Fur Day in 2001.

In 2002 they were bought by Microsoft and brought in-house to develop for the Xbox 360. Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero were released in 2005 but aren't classics, Viva Piñata followed in 2006, starting a series that is largely considered their biggest post-Nintendo success.

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was released in 2008 and has become something of a cult classic, but Rare remain a company with their best days far behind them.

Playtonic have yet to give many details regarding Project Ukulele, but more can be expected in the coming months.