It’s good to see 3D platformers suddenly taking off on Kickstarter. Alongside Griff: The Winged Lion, we now have Kewpie-Jazzy competing for your hard earned cash. I’m not going to say my article on crowdfunded 3D platformers brought about this influx, but feel free to thank me in the comments below.
Griff: The Winged Lion had some issues though, which look like nothing compared to Kewpie-Jazzy. Maybe don’t thank me after all.
If the Kickstarter page reminds you of something, other than Rare, you’re not alone. The page is almost an identical copy of Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter. The header images are almost identical, featuring the two protagonists on either side of the section text. The FAQ is directly copied from Yooka’s as well, specifically the “Isn’t [x amount of money] a little cheap for the game you’re promising?” Other similarities occur throughout, including similar phrasing, multiple mentions of Rare and Banjo-Kazooie, and similar bios for the developers.
One of the backer rewards is an exclusive demo, a “playhouse demo,” exactly the same as Yooka-Laylee.
Kewpie-Jazzy itself also features several similarities. There are two animal characters, one of which sits on your head and allows you to fly. It’s a collect-a-thon much like Yooka-Laylee, taking inspiration from classic N64 platformer Banjo-Kazooie. The developers at DokyCamp even hired composer Grant Kirkhope for the soundtrack, who worked on Banjo and is currently composing the score for Yooka-Laylee (and Lobodestroyo).
Based on the video and screenshots, Kewpie-Jazzy looks like a good game, already deep into development. But the Kickstarter page has to make anyone taking a serious look wonder if it’s a scam. There’s just no other way to look at it based on how similar it is to Playtonic’s crowdfunded platformer, and the outright plagiarism in the FAQ.
This practice of developers emulating other Kickstarter campaigns is nothing new. There were striking similarities between Days of War and Battalion 1944. Both are World War II multiplayer first person shooters, but Battalion 1944 came out months prior to Days of War, and it showed. Developer Driven Arts’ Kickstarter page was nearly identical to its more successful predecessor.
Sometimes there are “developers” who outright steal games whole cloth and try to sell them as original. Such is the case for any number of Zelda, Silent Hill, and Assassins Creed “games” that make it to Kickstarter. But to my knowledge, this is the first time one Kickstarter has so thoroughly ripped off another.
Is this the worst crime in the world? No. Anytime anyone lifts text from one source and uses it themselves without attribution is a problem. I’m not sure how Kickstarter will react to this, but they aren’t going to be happy. As for the rest of the campaign, as cheesy as it is, it makes sense why they did it. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from another, more successful game.
As I mentioned in Kicked! Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic basically just remade Banjo-Kazooie. It makes sense that it would inspire and influence other developers. Even serving as a template for other campaigns.
The level with which DokyCamp so thoroughly pillaged the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter only hurts them. It’s distracting, and takes away from what otherwise looks like a game that could be truly fantastic. Because of it, there are more questions than answers. Are they really going to use the money to hire more staff members, or are they saying it simply because it sounds good? Will the soundtrack really be a “dream come true” or do they say that because Yooka-Laylee has a “dream soundtrack?”
We’ve reached out to DokyCamp with some of these questions, and will update accordingly. My hope is that they’ll redo the campaign page, or even relaunch the Kickstarter entirely. I hate to see good looking games dragged down by badly run campaigns, especially when those campaigns are asking for over $100,000.
[Update] DokyCamp have responded to my email, stating that they’ve altered the Kickstarter page. They’ve changed the header images and replaced the offending text in the FAQ. Grant Kirkhope has also removed himself from the project. We’ve asked them about how the text ended up there in the first place and Kirkhope left and will update when we get their response.