More veterans join Playtonic

It’s just a small update today and yes – you guessed correctly – it involves new people employed in our building.

Please welcome Simon Gerges and Lee Jackson to the Playtonic fold! You can do so with either a nice comment below this article, or by applauding directly in front of your viewing screen.

Simon (left) and Lee join the Yooka revolution.
Simon (left) and Lee join the Yooka revolution.

Simon is an experienced engineer who has worked on the Banjo-Kazooie, Kameo and Kinect Sports series of games, as well as last year’s Rare Replay compilation. Fun fact: Simon was originally hired 12 years ago by Playtonic co-founder Chris Sutherland. Fun fact #2: I once saw him in a pub and took him to a chicken shop afterwards.

QA manager Lee’s testing CV includes Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, the Viva Piñata series and Xbox platform projects such as Avatars and the New Xbox Experience. His day-to-day now includes sending us angry emails about the bugs we’ve made, and ensuring that our final game is as polished as can be.

Both Simon and Lee have jumped straight into the Yooka-Laylee medley and are already doing stellar work.

Simon says (ahem): “I have fond memories of working alongside many of the Playtonic team members on the Kameo and Banjo-Kazooie series, and I’m very happy to be back with them again.”

Jackson jabbers: “I’ve worked with some of the Playtonic guys before in my past role, so it’s exciting to have the opportunity to be working with them again. Honestly, it’s a dream come true to be working on a game like Yooka-Laylee with such an amazing team.”

Welcome aboard, gents.

Your Comments

  • xanox

    Finally getting the band back together!

  • How many are you now? You’ve added quite a few people since you started ^^

    • DisketDance

      Enough to fill the Albert Hall.

  • AAAAAAA(abbage

    I can’t imagine QA testing on Nuts and Bolts, that game was HUGE

  • coder4life

    Geeze. I wonder what the hell is happening at Rare, loosing so many vet employees is a bit scary. Good show though, cannot wait to see more.

  • 234Glenn

    Might as well call it Rare 2.0 now.

  • Zivalve

    Welcome! I am applauding in front of the screen.

  • link2metroid

    Keep up the good work guys. Can’t wait to play this and bring back the good old days.

  • Samuel Lagace

    Rare isn’t gonna have any employees left at this rate

    • Adam Pippin

      Yeah pretty much at this point it seems like Playtonic is in all but name the new Rare.

      • I’ve been saying for a decade that Rare was no longer Rareware because it lacked a lot of the heart and soul (the employee’s that were the key to their charm) that made it what it was in the first place.

        It makes me happy to see Playtonic become the new Rare because it’s great when people realize how good they work together as a team and that when they are together something special truly can be created.

        So hopefully we will see even more return in the future. I’m still bummed I didn’t back sooner through the Kickstarter so I could see these updates in real time. I took the slacker backer route cause of income changes.

        • Eric Farmer

          I also backed really late into the project. I am very excited to someday get a copy of this game. I have not thought about it much recently but I look forward to then.

    • Juan D.Gonzales

      good, Microsoft ruined Rare anyways, rare need to rest.

    • Koopa Trooper79

      That says alot about microsoft doesnt it ;o) lol

      hope this game is planned to come out on Wii U…..2016 is not as dead as we thought lol

  • sdfxcv

    you may have the name microsoft but you dont have the soul

  • Drew Roberts

    Playtonic is the best thing since birth control

  • Shakiera Gabel

    Welcome to the team, fellas! Absolutely itching for the game to hurry and come out (but certainly, take your time; make it an absolute masterpiece like all us fans know you can), so it’s great having your monthly updates, thank you! 🙂

  • Nathan C.

    Guessing they didn’t want to be involved with Young Conker.

    • oz pardo

      Of course not. Although that one is made by Microsoft hololens, not rare. Soooo….. I don’t know.

  • arnold romo

    At least some good news came out this week (disappointed with color splash)

    • oz pardo

      Fuck off. Don’t say anything until you play the game.

  • Something Fawful

    Hey QA, that’s what I do! Granted I do it on real estate software, which is a lot less exciting. I applauded the screen, so welcome.

    • Andrei Tache

      Finally a QA with a Bigggggg Smile =D

  • JasonBall

    I’m not so impressed with Lee’s lineup: all of them are Microsoft games.
    But I’m sure they’re both great guys ready to do great work to make a great game.

    • Bandais

      Viva Piñata series was great.

  • Hector Gomez

    Can i ask a question?,

    i don’t mean to be rude im just curious. The game will be released this year rigth?? – also the team is looking good 😀

  • SalmonMaster

    It’s the return of a 90’s rare so excited!

  • Curt

    As long as Micro$oft don’t get their paws on this one, I’m happy.

  • RetroGamer

    Great to see such a great team coming together…Though I do still cringe a bit when I read the the title “Nuts N’ Bolts.”

  • Big Bad Booty Daddy

    I hope Nintendo lets you guys work on Donkey Kong again!

  • Drake Hero

    My first game was a rare game and I’m glad so many people who made it are in

  • thebaum64

    Now you just need to buy the Banjo Kazooie RP from Microsoft

    • StarDragonJP

      Microsoft would never do that, at least not for any reasonable price.

      • thebaum64

        I sent a letter to their cooperate address and offered 2 million, they did not even bother to reply.

        • StarDragonJP

          Well they didn’t really buy Rare to use them, they bought them so Nintendo couldn’t. So yeah, they’re not going to let go of that stuff easily.

  • Eintopf Mitschinken

    I hope you’ll become a second party developer for Nintendo some day.

  • Nexzu

    I see whats happening… Rare is lowkey reforming with a “Playtonic” alias… About time! Welcome back Simon and Lee can’t wait for Yooka Laylee.

  • I guess alot of the folks at Rare are tired of not seeing a new Banjo-Kazooie game being commissioned.
    That or they just don’t wanna work on the abomination known as Young Conker.

  • aimei66

    Just want to know…..

    How many times have you said “We’re getting the band back together!”?

    Because I’m starting to feel less like I backed a game, and more like I backed ‘a mission from god!’ to get rare together again. I’m excited not just for the game, but what playtonic is going to do after with so much talent packed into a single sandwich.

  • Seldom Pro

    Can’t wait for this game! Please don’t mess up, I love banjo and I know I’m gonna love this amazing game.

  • Frenzyguy

    At this rate the game wont be out in 2016, just to be realistic I hope it comes out around summer 2017 or something 😀

  • Felix Leroux

    gg rare

  • Kevin Ruiz

    I hope you guys could buy back Jet Force Gemini and Banjo Kazooie and rescue them from Microsoft! Also, you should totally create a JFG spiritual successor or something!

  • Cynthia Acevedo


  • Josh

    I am hoping that Yooka-Laylee will sell extremely well so we can get a spiritual successor of Conker 🙂

    • oz pardo

      I have an idea for a title and character: Doug the weasel
      Doug’s very pooey night.

      Edit: I suck at this.

  • Dragonsbeard

    Epic, now here’s hoping the game is great and these guys keep doing it. I want old Rare back with the WIDE array of genre’s and games.

  • Omninaut

    Playtonic, “Microsoft suffocated us, so we changed our name”
    2nd greatest thing imaginable, 1st would be a second kickstarter to buy the banjo-kazooie franchise back.

  • tux_peng

    Is is still planned for Wii U or NX or both

  • SuperMarkU

    I wonder what Playtonic is going to develop after Yooka-laylee? A spinoff of Perfect Dark? Conker? DKC? Meh, ib don’t

  • manry

    Yes yes yes come back all out of the evil rebuild my.loved Rareware and please guys go talk with Nintendo for to be their FIRST party yamasensei would like this before he was die the samurai build you all you are in our heart go away microsteal. NINTENDO Glory to you.

    • Syam Vist

      I don’t like this.. All you think about is Nintendo. It is better for Playtonic to be independent. That’s the only way to ensure that their games are going to appeal to the old fans of Rareware such as myself. Not to mention I want their games on Steam, here where I live Steam is much more accessible than games published on Nintendo platforms because everything from Nintendo has to be imported and it’s extremely expensive when compared to other alternatives. To give you an idea the 3DS here is about 450 dollars and the WiiU is 780 dollars. Each game is about 84 dollars so… Yeah… Not to mention Nintendo consoles are region locked, so buying from Japan is not an option. Also here where I live we have the cheapest Steam in the world (the prices are adjusted for the local market). So it would be extremely bad for me if Playtonic was a Nintendo first party. I want Playtonic to be independent. I can see that the Donkey Kong games were a good thing born from Rareware and Nintendo cooperation but right now Nintendo has Retro Studios and not to mention Playtonic can also make some games for Nintendo in the future, Nintendo doesn’t have to own them for that to happen.

  • manry

    Why my message was deleted?

  • manry

    I’m been censored for support you?

  • manry

    You see how I talked my anger Vs Microsoft and I got censored.

  • manry

    Playtonic I only want tell you you lost a long time fan this way goodbye censoring for talk good with you Rareware is die forever

  • DarkVader

    Hey guys you’re the best, still play your N64 classics to this day! Gaming needs a Playtonic-Nintendo alliance like the good old days of Rare SNES/N64, you guys are our only hope at bringing back the golden era. It would certainly be a dream come true if this happens with the upcoming Nintendo NX! a man can dream 🙂

  • Rare died long ago in my eyes. The instant they sided with Microsoft and left the side of Nintendo. It serves them right, besides platforming is kind of a dying genre in this generation anyway, seeing as it is super repetitive and I think I honestly grew out of the “cutesy” characters that seem to plague the genre. Perhaps if the genre had a bit of a rebirth of some sort with a tad of new thought or originality I could take another shot. I feel like after playing tons of platformers, Mario, Banjo, Spyro, Jak and Daxter, and even Crash and Sonic games (yes those too), they are really all clones of each other with silly characters and sometimes overly frustrating jumping puzzles that make you want to scream. Best wishes to these guys though, they seem to have a good thing going here anyway. I don’t dislike the game, I just have no interest in it, just had to say that in case anyone gets super butt hurt over this comment.