Bayliss goes permanent

As S Club 7’s HR team probably once said, there ain’t no update like an employment update – especially when it involves legendary character artist Mr. Kev Bayliss.

Welcome aboard, you bleach blonde Adonis, you.
Welcome aboard, you bleach blonde Adonis, you.

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!



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!

One of Kev's more hollow creations.
One of Kev’s more hollow creations.

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!

“I’m very pleased and feel very lucky to be connected to the company now”

Monkey business.
Monkey business.

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!


Your Comments

  • Comment

    This team…. it’s almost like a dream *_*

    • John Enigma

      You could say this is definitely a DREAM TEAM.

      *Rim shot plays in the background*

      • Aidan Nelson

        This dream that are fulfilling could even be a … PROJECT DREAM

  • I really love the main banner with that DK-esque monkey. Glad to see a new veteran in the team! Looking forward to Yooka Laylee more than ever!

  • Arrout

    Pre-rendered 3d games like DKC 1-3 confirmed?

  • Krypto Konon TehHedgehog


  • John Petras

    All I’m worried about is that Yooka-Laylee will have a lot of segments from games that some people haven’t played; segments from older games that some people might not find nearly as enjoyable as someone who has played them. I just hope they make decisions that will add to the game, Yooka-Laylee. Not a classic game reboot.

    • Marco Bartoli

      I think that would not be fair. Yooka-Laylee is a unique game in the current gaming market (AA/AAA quality 3D-Platformer), almost totally financed by the people that have played those older games. If some new gamers find not enjoyable an amazing 3D Platformer… they have a lot of FPS out there.

      • Perico Alfredo

        Hes refering to some elements. Mario Galaxy is quite different from Mario 64, they adapted the formula to modern times in many ways. From game mechanics like turning faster, changing the angle of long jumps in the air… to game design like making smaller worlds with less exploration. Galaxy still a good platformer but different from older ones.

        I know lots of people still want collectibles and exploration for example. And I think their idea of unlocking parts of the level with those is a good tweek. They need to work in designs like that to aproach to old 3D platformers gamers and still apealing to new ones. Also the movement mechanics need to be faster and fluid, as much as I love Mario 64 or other old platformers their movement is clunky for nowadays and harder as a result.

        • John Petras

          All I’m talking about is that I don’t want this game to have a fun little Donkey Kong level in the main story because if not done right, it could feel like it’s there only for the fans of those types of games. If it’s done right then I approve! But just make those fun little segments have a purpose in the game.

          • Perico Alfredo

            I guess they went for those arcade machine minigames in order to fullfil that nostalgia without interfere to much in the main game.

        • John Petras

          I probably said it wrong. I meant is that if it’s a fun little level that’s hard to find that would be amazing. Just don’t make it in the main story if it’s only fan service.

    • Cecily

      I think that overall the game might contain some stuff that’ll go over the heads of some more casual fans but really have some nostalgic value for the fans of the Rare games that precede this. The idea of having arcade games hidden inside the levels kind of validates this point. At any rate I don’t think that it’ll make the people who haven’t play those games feel excluded, more like excite the ones who have.

  • TheKirbyFan128

    The probability is probably low, but how awesome would it be if after Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic collaborates with Retro to make another Donkey Kong game?

    • Ruthok

      Why would they need to collaborate at all? Playtonic have this handled 😉 Plus I’m sure Retro would love a break to work on something else.

      • TheKirbyFan128

        I was guessing that retro would help because they kind of created their own donkey kong lore. Retro kind of stayed from the original lore of Rare. As much as I would like to go back to Rare’s version of lore and personality, I don’t want to have to see a lot of more changes and have a million questions like I did originally for country returns.

        If this was confusing, it’s because I kind of had trouble writing it… I don’t remember why I said they should collaborate with retro at all in the first place…

      • Tyler Kritter Rivera

        I just want to see the kremlings back as well as the animal buddies besides Rambi. I do agree with you on wanting it to be darker and grunge again like in the original DKC trilogy and DK64.

    • Kmonz90

      It’s simple just make a billion dollars with Yooka-Laylee and than systematically buy the rights to all the old rare classics.
      I was promised Banjo-Threeie gosh darn it. 😉

  • Ruthok

    This is the team that made the N64 such a hit. And now, Playtonic has the power to save Nintendo from their downfall. All we need is some new Platformer games and then some original multiplayer games 😀 Nintendo would be absolutely insane not to ask Playtonic to work on a game for them…imagine Splatoon 2 by Playtonic 😀

    • Edwin Ramos

      Your delusional

    • TheKirbyFan128

      I’d prefer Nintendo teaming up with Playtonic for a few games (especially ones like DK, where they have experience), rather than having Playtonic working hard for a long period of time on a completely fresh game.
      Imagine Retro teaming up with Playtonic to make a DK64 2. Retro invented a bunch of things to make Donkey Kong New, and they could combine that with the old Rare Lore and make something great.
      But overall, I don’t see them, and kind of don’t want them making games together. Playtonic is still fairly new, and I just want Playtonic to do what they want to do. Plus, Nintendo doesn’t need another company to save them. Nintendo is doing fine as it is. Sure, they’re lost a lot of demographic with the Wii U, but the NX will hopefully rise up and bring people back. Nintendo doesn’t need a company making games for them. They already have good games. They just need to figure out what they’re doing rather than testing a bunch of things to see how people like them.
      I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore, so I’ll probably come back later and write a new reply when I know what I’m saying and delete this one.

  • EarthenWarrior


  • Juan D.Gonzales

    this all starting to become great, i am so happy, i really want to play the game ones it is done 🙂

  • Tony Schmitz

    I’ve always wondered why DK wears a tie. I like to imagine that when he’s not adventuring around the island, he’s working in a middle management position at an insurance company. The job makes him miserable, but he can’t pay his mortgage in bananas so he has to slog through an endless array of billing requisitions and corporate memos day after day. His tie is a metaphor for corporatism being a noose around our necks. And the bananas? Those are just bananas, they can’t help save poor DK’s soul.