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Submitted by skowhegan 1459d ago | article

Who Killed Rare? - Eurogamer

EG: "Did Microsoft ruin Britain's greatest game studio? What went wrong? And who - or perhaps what - is to blame?" (GameCube, Microsoft, Nintendo DS, Rare, Retro, Wii, Xbox 360)

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Xwow2008  +   1459d ago
No need for a long article(its good tho) Eurogame..its just 1 word:MS.
I still remember playing killer instinct(good times) on SNES, its sad see an once great studio fall.
WrAiTh Sp3cTr3  +   1459d ago
The Rare that made KI isn't there anymore. The Rare that is today makes the stuff they want to make not what they're forced to make. If i have time I'll try to find the interview that popped up here a while ago that explained this. Hell, back in 2007 one of the higher ups at Rare called Ms out for spending more attention and money on Gears instead of Viva Piñata. Between Viva and Gears which do you think is more like the games the old Rare use to make? My point, if you missed it, is your ignorance concerning MS destroying the old Rare is just that, ignorance. I'm sure if Rare had put effort into a new Killer Instinct instead of Viva, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Montrealien  +   1459d ago
simple minds need simple solutions Wraith, it is the n4g way.

the real story of why Rare left? The Stamper brothers sold it off made a pretty penny, played the game a while, then decided to get out of games in 2007 and develop land.

it's business people, not the days of our lives.
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SilentNegotiator  +   1459d ago
A big part of Rare's downfall was that Microsoft forced Xbox LIVE on them. Kameo was pretty good. Then they made Viva Pinata (an okay game).

Then they turned Banjo-Kazooie into a game that revolved around vehicles.....and I don't think it's a coincidence that it also had online racing. They could always have made a sequel to an amazing platformer, through the studio that proved themselves with Viva Pinata and Kameo.....but then, how could they monetize THAT through the service people pay $60 a year for? Answer: they couldn't. Solution: Revolve it around something you could turn into online battles. Vehicles.

Then Kinect came along, and well, the rest is history. They make games with about a half hour's worth of fresh gameplay now.

People can pretend like this is solely because some left to form Free Radical Design/Crytek UK, but Microsoft's handling changed how a great studio did things, from Kameo to small Kinect titles.

Yes, because anyone without a big 'All Microsoft all the time' brain has a "simple mind"
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BiggsnWedge  +   1459d ago
does Rare really want to make games for the Kinect? Pretty sure they dont

Rare used to be good developers on snes and n64 the Microsoft ruined them
iChii  +   1459d ago
Blaming MS won't bring Killer Instinct or old Donkey Kong games back, so stop blaming Microsoft already. -.-
darthv72  +   1458d ago
its easy to suspect MS but....
the real killer of rare was nintendo. Nintendo used them for their talents and then sold them off when they were done. MS came along and picked them up and gave them a platform that would let them be creative. Grabbed by the ghoulies was fun as was conker live and reloaded.

Rare is a shell of its former self just as square once was. These companies exist in name only and in the memories of us gamers who made them what they once were.
sikbeta  +   1458d ago
Rare is not the same as the N64 Rare, the original crew left the company long ago, the guys who mage Goldeneye went to create Free Radical, now Crytek UK and others just leave the company, MS just bought the Brand/Name Rare
gamingdroid  +   1458d ago
Did people read the article?

It's as if nobody read the article, jumped to conclusion and spouted nonsense.
morkendo23  +   1458d ago
DUH!!! was it really nessasary skowhegan to write this WELL KNOWN info about the demise of RARE??
must been a SLOOOOW DAY at the office.

on topic:
SONY should have pick up RARE.
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badz149  +   1458d ago
pick them up NOW?
no way
DrFUD  +   1458d ago
Killer Instinct was so long ago I think Luke Skywalker played it on the Millenium Falcon.

Basically using Killer Instict as a reason why you think RARE means anything is fanboy. Hell I'd rather play a remake of Clay Fighter before Killer Instinct and I'm honest enough to know that would suck too.
kaveti6616  +   1458d ago
"Killer Instinct was so long ago I think Luke Skywalker played it on the Millenium Falcon."

Kurt Russell  +   1458d ago
I still play the odd game of Killer Instinct, it's still my favourite beat-em-up and I would happily kill for an arcade cab of it.
Buzz7S  +   1458d ago
MS? A word? Ha, how much I laughed. At least spell it correctly if you're going to blame the ones who funded their work.

Rare killed Rare. They signed their lives over to Microsoft and agreed to everything they wanted. They only have themselves to blame for the BS they are in now.
orange-skittle  +   1458d ago
Moron. MS didnt kill Rare, Rare killed Rare. MS would've given them the money and resources to create games people wanted, but they want to make games equivalent to phone apps
PamPoovey  +   1459d ago

You can say they were going downhill before MS but you never know they might of picked themselfs back up. Maybe we would of gotten a true Banjo Threeie instead of Nuts and never know what would of happened if MS didn't enter the picture.

All I know is that MS cancelled the Conker sequel alongside a Kameo/Perfect Dark I would still pretty much blame them despite if Rare was already going downhill.
Captain Qwark 9  +   1459d ago
i dont think its ms, i think its a combination of ms, rare, and a changing market.

rares fault = perfect dark. the newest one was simply pathetic. that game could barely pass as a xbl title let alone a full retail release. i understand that certain expectations need to be lowered for launch titles but that game was just bad in every way. you can blame ms all day but in the end, rare made that mess

market=viva pinata/banjo. excellent games but they dont know which market their aiming at. both seem like kid games at face value however both games are far too deep for most children. excellent games, wrong market targeted.

somebody's fault=banjo should have gotten a true sequel to the games from the n64 days. n&b was great, but he needed to return to his old form first, once he reestablished himself in this age of gaming, you then create spin offs like nuts and bolts. dont come out from being dormant after many years and alienate all your old fans by changing your game completely, people forgive spin offs, not a complete genre change though

ms fault= not letting rare create killer instinct and conker sequels, real sequels. fans have been asking for years and considering mortal kombats success, violent fighting games have a demand. give it to them, not kinect sports. and as far as conker goes, his games may not sell well but they do have excellent gameplay and its in a genre sorely lacking on 360 so competition would be minimal. proper marketing and this game could easily do 1mil

overall it doesnt matter in the end, rare is dead. its sad but hopefully one day they will come back to creating core games with their established ips and some new ones but as of now, they're gone and it doesnt matter whos to blame.
Montrealien  +   1459d ago
Don't bother going into details, most users here see it all in back and white. It is much easier for them to process.

Don't forget, most users here think MS and Sony are two giant robots fighting in the sky.
Captain Qwark 9  +   1459d ago

your absolutely right, everyone wants to paint ms as the bad guy here like rare can do no harm yet they fail to realize that rare did make perfect dark, which was clearly nowhere near the quality it should have been.

kameo as well, decent game but nothing special. they lost the talent and Nintendo prob knew the talent was gone when they seen kameo and thats prob half the reason they let them go. after their first two failed attempts, ms took away their right to make what they wanted in hopes of recovering some of their losses.

in the end everyone is at fault, simple as that
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JohnnyMann420  +   1459d ago
I am sure MS didn't help, but we have to wonder what did Nintendo know that they let the flagship studio leave in the first place?

Maybe Nintendo knew Rare was going downhill and that is why they let them leave.
PamPoovey  +   1459d ago
True but instead of letting them go they could of helped and sorted them out. If they did it would benefit them in the future so it's not like they can say there wasn't any point
JohnnyMann420  +   1459d ago
@Pam maybe the magic that started Rare isn't there anymore.
Montrealien  +   1459d ago
Just saying "the magic that started Rare" shows you are disconnected from reality.
JohnnyMann420  +   1459d ago
Apparently @Montrealien hasn't heard of a "term" before and thought I was being literal. Who's the one not living in reality?
hazardman  +   1459d ago
yeah thats all true, but i think MS will probably do something better for next console. I mean they still have the Rare catalog right? I would love to see an HD remake of Battletoads, and also a next gen versions of Killer instincts, Perfect Dark and Kameo.. those 3 games, if made well, would make for great launch titles.
Sony360  +   1459d ago

There. I just saved you reading an entire article.

Read up about how Microsoft replaced Rare's studio manager with someone else so that they could focus solely on Kinect.

This is basically what we have to thank for Kinect Sports, instead of having a quality first party developer that could have been creating terrific 360 exclusives.
#3 (Edited 1459d ago ) | Agree(30) | Disagree(8) | Report | Reply
maniacmayhem  +   1459d ago
Rare was dead before MS picked them up. Over half the original team that made Rare a great dev left.

But like Pampoovy said it doesn't help that MS left Rare's IPs dormant for so long. I know the FPS market is saturated but a Perfect Dark done right would be great. I also loved Banjo Nuts and Bolts, great game,a sequel should be made. Conker was great but what made that game awesome was it was adult focused on a Nintendo machine, very different for that time.

Now it would be like every other game that throws out the F word every 5 minutes. Anyways, MS needs to put these guys back to work on their own games.
#4 (Edited 1459d ago ) | Agree(13) | Disagree(16) | Report | Reply
Baka-akaB  +   1459d ago
i dont often agree with you , but i think you nailed it .

People dont realize that the most important folks of rare took off before MS bought it , during the ps2 era , with some of the staff even doing Timesplitters later on at Radical .

Then around the MS buy out , the founders of Rare took off .

There was hardly anything remotely looking like Rare then . It's hardly the first time this happens ... look at Blizzard , most of it's staff went away , even during the developpement of flawless hits ... but they were smart in their replacements , Rare wasnt .
maniacmayhem  +   1459d ago
You don't often agree with me :-(
Baka-akaB  +   1459d ago
lol now that i look at your history , it's not even you , but some 1 bubbles account with the same pic as you
Pikajew  +   1459d ago
MS killed them because they made them work on bad games. They should have let them use their creativity to make great games.
ChiVoLok0  +   1458d ago
They should have done Conker: Live and Reloaded 2 but no...
SaffronCurse  +   1459d ago
Leviathan  +   1458d ago
Ms kills ALL first party studios it acquires. Has anyone else noticed this? This doesn't just apply to Rare.
WitWolfy  +   1458d ago
Bungie and Ensemble studios comes to mind
KMCROC54  +   1459d ago
Rare was it's worst enemy they were killing themselves way before MS bought them in 2002.(so states wiki)

Partnership with Nintendo (1994-2002)

Their progress with the SGI graphics impressed Nintendo's Genyo Takeda, and in 1994, Nintendo bought a 49% stake in the company, making Rare a Nintendo second-party developer.[9] Rare then applied to trademark the names "Rareware" and "Rare: Designs on the Future". The company was one of Nintendo's key developers and had enough recognition that Nintendo offered them their catalogue of characters to create a SGI game. The Stamper brothers asked for Donkey Kong. The resulting game, Donkey Kong Country, which was the first to use pre-rendered 3D graphics on a console, was a critical and commercial success, and sold over eight million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling game in the SNES library.[9] Donkey Kong Country's success led to Rare creating two sequels: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, which were released to both critical and commercial success.

Around the same time, Nintendo acquired the rights of the 1995 film GoldenEye and asked Rare to produce a video game based on it. The developers initially decided to approach the game as a first-person rail shooter, but it was eventually changed to a free roaming 3D shooter for the Nintendo 64.[10] GoldenEye 007 was released on August 25, 1997 to universal critical acclaim and commercial success, eventually selling over eight million units worldwide. The game received numerous awards and Rare won the BAFTA award for "Best UK Developer".[11] Other Nintendo 64 games include: Banjo-Kazooie, released in 1998 with high critical praise and commercial success, won in the Console Action/Adventure and Art Direction categories and sold over three million units;[12] Jet Force Gemini and Donkey Kong 64 were released in 1999 to generally favorable and very positive reviews respectively, though not as high as their previous titles.[13]

Prior to these events, Rare had already publicly lost staff from other teams. In 1997, a small number of these employees (Oliver Davies, Oliver Norton, Steve Patrick, Jeff Stafford, Christopher Gage, and Adrian Smith) left and formed a new studio to be known as Eighth Wonder. They were signed with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and were all set to develop a new PlayStation game, but by 1999, the studio no longer existed. On the other hand, some key members of the GoldenEye 007 development team left Rare in 1998. Head of software Martin Hollis was the first to leave, working at Nintendo of America on the GameCube, and in 2000, he started his own company, Zoonami. Other members, such as David Doak, left soon after Hollis and formed Free Radical Design which went into administration in December 2008, but was then acquired by developer Crytek in 2009.[14] Doak left prior to this and set up a new games development company, named Pumpkin Beach.[13]

In 2000, Rare released the spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark. The game was given near universal critical acclaim from the gaming media, and the company was awarded the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Moving Images Award for 2000 and the Golden Satellite Award for Best Interactive Product in 2001.[11] Rare's last games for the Nintendo 64, Banjo-Tooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day, released in late 2000 and 2001 respectively, were very well-received by reviewers. Conker's Bad Fur Day won the 2001 BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award for sound,[11] though commercial success was lower than expected as a result of lack of promotion from Nintendo and the fact that it came at the end of the N64's lifecycle.[15]
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Ron_Danger  +   1459d ago
You mentioned that Rare split and the members that left formed Free Radical... Free Radical went on to make probably the best FPS series of last gen: Timesplitters. I never thought that MS killed Rare. I always thought they were dead when all their talent went to Free Radical. The only thing MS did with Rare was miss their opportunity to resurrect a once great company
stevenhiggster  +   1459d ago
And then alas, the PS3 killed Free Radical :-(
KMCROC54  +   1459d ago
Never said that it was a bad thing that some personel left, all i was stating was that rare was half a studio when MS got it.
humbleopinion  +   1458d ago
I have to agree with that: MS were fooled to buy Rare based on the success of games like Perfect Dark and Goldeneye (among the rest), but the "FPS department" in Rare already split to form Free Radical and so MS was left with a team professionalizing in Platform/Action-Adventure games.

And then it was MS themselves who were probably responsible for nailing the coffin in Free Radical as well - thanks to the imminent success of Halo and the revolution it brought to the FPS genre.
Don't get me wrong: I loved the Timesplitters series (especially Future Perfect) and had endless fun with it, but after Halo the mechanics in TS simply felt outdated and obsolete. Not keeping up with the times made an even bigger impact when Haze was released this gen and Free Radical went bankrupt.

What MS tried to salvage from the overpriced Rare purchase was quite reasonable: Kameo is still one of the finest Action-Adventure games this gen, and Perfect Dark Zero was also quite decent for a launch title (and miles better than Haze).

And then MS turned Rare into an experimental studio which produced some interesting products: from the unique Viva Pinata, to the build mechanics in Banjo 3, to leading the xbox avatars charge.

I have to admit that none of these are actually my taste and I still moan the fall from grace of Rare from the golden days (I'd rather see Kameo 2 than anything else in this list), but they still have a lot of grace in what they do.

And thanks to Crytek, Free Radical was also re-incarnated. They were responsible for Crysis 2 multiplayer which was handled very well, and I hope to see them heading back to Timesplitters franchise in the future (hopefully they learned from their past mistakes).
Baka-akaB  +   1459d ago
I dunno how you got disagrees . It is a matter of fact that key staff went to other studios before and even during the Microsoft buyout , with the studio never recovering .

SO it is both Rare's fault (not good enough hiring policy for their new blood) and MS's fault .
green  +   1459d ago
Truth is, alot of studios from the 90,s are kind of Dead. Rare, SEGA, Capcom, Square, THQ, Eidos etc all used to make fantastic games and all have a massive backcatalogue of fantastic IP,s that they can revisit. Unfortunately, their games just dont seem to be very good these days.
Darkfocus  +   1458d ago
I'd say sega's actually released a lot of good games this gen. THQ has as well on PC not so much on consoles but they still released some good console games. Eidos made Deus EX...Square and Crapcom I can agree with
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Leviathan  +   1458d ago
err.....really? Please name a couple of your favorite current Sega games.
humbleopinion  +   1453d ago
While I agree that a lot of studios are dead, it seems that you somehow managed to come up with the best examples for alive-and-kicking studios:
Sega is publishing all the awesome games from Platinum (Bayonetta, Vanquish, Madworld etc) as well as the best RTS series for the PC (Total War series).
Eidos was bought by Square, and their game catalog include not only FF games but also Just Cause 2, Deus Ex, and the upcoming thief/hitman/tomb raider games, and even the Batman games (SE has a minority share in Rocksteady).
Capcom came up with so many new franchises this generation that I can barely even count them all: dead rising, dark void, lost planet, asura's warth and probably some other which I don't remember. Not all of these are good, but they're definitely trying, and it doesn't stop them from pumping up all of their old franchises: resident evil, megaman, mvc, street fighter, DMC etc.

And THQ? Are you serious!? Didn't they just release saints row 3, red faction armageddon, the blob, homefront and two games in the warhammer franchise - and that's just in 2011 (and excluding their licensed franchises)! How many games they published a year in the 90s? You can't even compare.
from the beach  +   1459d ago
Unless there's been a bloodbath in England today that's gone completely unnoticed by the media, no-one 'killed them', lol.

Their recent games have been great, particular highlights being Viva Pinata and Nuts & Bolts.
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Deeloc  +   1459d ago
they killed them self for going to Microsoft.
Smashbro29  +   1459d ago
Microsoft. The end.
mamotte  +   1459d ago
Maybe it's the environment. I dont think actual Rare games are that bad. It's just that Viva Piñata would look a lot better (and I obviously dont mean graphics) in a console paired with a superb game like Mario Galaxy, Kameo looks better paired with metroid instead of Prototype, and Nuts and Bolts with Mario Kart instead of Forza.

Rare products are still good, they're selling'em at the wrong place.
Horny  +   1459d ago
Well it was more of a suicide with talented developers splitting up to work at different studios and then MS came in and burried them.
Rare still has potential to make a decent game but unfortunatly MS won't take the risk in todays market. Eventually the only thing left of Rare will be its name.
krazykombatant  +   1459d ago
sooo much hate for MS, shows the stupidity of this website. Rare was dead by the time they were sold to MS. Period. It was the only reason Ninty let them go.
SaffronCurse  +   1459d ago
Microsoft kept beating the dead horse though...
undisputed  +   1458d ago
Stop defending Microsoft. They can defend themselves. The truth of the matter is that Microsoft could have saved Rare. They're the reason why the Killer Instinct series and other good games died out.
krazykombatant  +   1458d ago
ummmm they did "save" rare they put them on kinect duty. Sadly enough, their plan to keep them alive was different to yours.
undisputed  +   1457d ago
They need actual games. Not shovelware.
SCW1982  +   1459d ago
I miss them. On the brightside, the composer of banjo and pd is doing the music for Reckoning. And to me Reckoning feels like what would be the result if Rare made an Action RPG.
a_adji  +   1459d ago
They sold their souls to MS and they paid the price.
FrigidDARKNESS  +   1459d ago
You can blame this on MS.
Clarence  +   1459d ago
Thats easy, M$.
#18 (Edited 1459d ago ) | Agree(12) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
Biohazard8860  +   1459d ago
Biohazard8860  +   1459d ago
Last great game from rare is kameo in 2005 sadly now there microsofts drones for pumping out kinect garbage.
esemce  +   1459d ago
RARE is just a logo, it means nothing now without the talented staff it once had. Now Ms are just using then to make avatar sh1t and kiddy games. Sad really. F@k RARE bring on Timesplitters 4!
spektical  +   1459d ago
man i miss conkers bad fur day.. the best MP game i played when i was a kid... oh and the boobs on that flower.. awesome vulgar stuff haha
KFox109  +   1459d ago
Awesome article. I miss Rare, I really do. The last great thing they made was Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. I know many will disagree, but I think of TP as their magnum opus. It's probably the absolute best thing they have ever made (followed closely by Banjo-Kazooie and then Pefect Dark). That to me is beyond bitter sweet: it proves that Rare still has the talent and magic, but that Microsoft has no idea on how to direct the company there 90% of them. A shame really.

But as mentioned, it could have been worse: they could have been bought out by Activision. D:
PirateThom  +   1459d ago
I think anyone who blames Microsoft is looking at it too narrowly.

Nintendo sold their stake in Rare for a reason. Nintendo, for all their faults, know talent... Rare wasn't cutting it, so they basically gave up on them.

Microsoft are also to blame for not investing more into the studio with talent and getting their IPs out of hibernation.

Rare are to blame for just not making good games.

There's a lot of reasons why Rare are a joke now, but to point the blame solely at Microsoft isn't fair or right.
PopRocks359  +   1458d ago
I think you've delivered one of the best answers. There's no one sole reason for Rare's downfall, but many outlets (Microsoft, Rare employees leaving) played their part in it.
Why o why  +   1458d ago
There never is a sole reason. Ive learnt a lot reading through these comments. It seems MS purchased rare for their ips as most of the creative people were leaving or had already left and ms must of known this.. What MS has done with these dorment ips is their fault but kill rare they didnt. You could argue that MS doesnt know how to cultivate or turn the fortunes of studios in general but it seems the old tallent flew the nest. Same thing could of happened had they been purchased by somebody else but MS's track record with studios isnt the best. Who knows, maybe the tallent left because they knew there was a buy out on the books and they didnt fancy working under MS.


The butler did it
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YodaCracker  +   1459d ago
Since Rare is with Microsoft, Microsoft killed Rare. If Rare was with Sony, they would be in the same situation, except it would be Rare who killed themselves. That's N4G for ya!
SITH  +   1459d ago
Rare killed rare. They made the games that brought themselves down.
Ck1x  +   1459d ago
Just like Factor 5 was very successful under the Nintendo umbrella, I think certain developers just mesh better with eachother. I could never see Naughty Dawg anywhere else but with Sony and Sony probably gives them a level of freedom to create amazing games that maybe Nintendo or Microsoft never would. So Rares downfall probably had more to do with them becoming a turn out quick hit machine versus taking their time and putting out exactly what they want. Lets face it, Rare back in the day use to delay games longer than even Nintendo would, but those games always found great success of some extent
_Aarix_  +   1458d ago
Dont blame microsoft, i guarantee you that rare wouldve been shut down had it not been bought my microsoft. ALL the talent rare had back in the day left, all before microsoft.
Why o why  +   1458d ago
You gaurantee huh.........ok

Seems you and a few put zero blame at ms's door. Giving devs creative freedom isnt one of ms's strong so who knows why rare havent coped without the old tallent.

Cant be all ms's fault at all but they definitely should hold some of he blame....just look at how many ips ms is sleeping on this gen. Whats the point if you're not gunna take the risk and back the projects.. Gamers suffer especially the fans of those said sleeping ips
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_Aarix_  +   1458d ago
Theres a difference between picking up someone and not helping them to the top. Im not going to argue about microsofts methods but all im saying is microsoft didnt cause the "death" of rare.
9thWonder  +   1458d ago
You can ask any real gamer and they will all say the same MICROSOFT -_-
BitbyDeath  +   1458d ago
It wasn't just MS at fault, back then the 360 was filled mostly with teens and kids who just wanted to shoot stuff.

Rare don't make those sorts of games. Purchasing Rare in the first place was a mistake in itself. The market just did not exist on the 360.

Now may be different however as they have won themselves over a lot of casuals with Kinect.
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