Q&A With Rare Veteran Kevin Bayliss

Yesterday the folks at Playtonic Games posted a Q&A with their very own Kevin Bayliss. Kevin is a Rare veteran himself creating the look and feel to many of our favorite games and characters. You can read the whole interview here but below is some very fun excerpts:

Q: Right. Could you give us a brief summary of your gaming CV?
A: I began working for Rare in 1987. Back then, there were just a few people making up the company. To begin with I was assigned to working on licensed games for the NES such as Wheel of Fortune, Hollywood Squares and California Games.

After a while I began working on other titles like WrestleMania, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Beetlejuice and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. These titles were a lot more involving and I had more freedom which allowed me to be more creative.

The whole thing was a learning process, and after a few years I had worked on many NES, Gameboy and SNES titles, alongside Tim Stamper. Together we created many different concepts and ideas for new games and characters. Battletoads was probably one of my favourites, as I was let loose on the artwork and developed a whole cast of crazy characters.

As the company grew, I became ‘Head of Graphics’ and eventually ‘Graphics Director’ where my role then included interviewing and training other artists and animators, although I always tried to keep myself involved in development as I’m not really the kind of person that enjoys working in management. It was good fun and rewarding to see new artists arrive at Rare and create fantastic looking games though.

One of the most significant times for me was when I was given the chance to re-design and build Shigeru Miyamoto’s ‘Donkey Kong’ character for DKC. It was when the company were just moving into using 3D software to create models to generate sprites, so it was very exciting.

Q: What was it like redesigning DK? Did Miyamoto-san shout at you?


A: When working on his re-design I was just given a brief to make him look a little more modern than how he looked when he appeared in his own ‘Donkey Kong’ Arcade game. Nintendo were happy with the direction I took him in, and although he’s been tweaked a little over the years since, he’s pretty much the same now as he was when I modified him.

I didn’t actually meet Miyamoto until years later, when I spent a week in Japan working with him and Takaya Imamura on Starfox Adventures. We didn’t talk about Donkey Kong as we were busy working on the new project, but he was very friendly and seemed a very happy guy, so I assume (hope anyway!) that I didn’t ruin his original idea for him!

Today it makes me smile to see so many products with DK on the front, and that he’s pretty much still the same as he looked when I gave him a once-over. So that’s good enough for me – I must have done something right!

Kevin talks about Killer Instinct and Diddy Kong Racing in the rest of the interview so be sure to check it out!

Source: Playtonic Games: Men at Work