Rare has had quite a history. The studio first began in 1983 under the banter of Ultimate: Play the Game before adopting the Rare name we all know today. Since then, well over one hundred games have been developed with over one hundred million units of software sold. If you take a long, hard look at the software developed and the titles that have sold the most, then you’ll come to notice that their best selling and most critically acclaimed games have primarily been platformers.
Donkey Kong Country could be considered the first platformer from Rare that set the stage for their future platforming titles. It sold over eight million units during its lifetime and spawned two very successful successful sequels as well as the Donkey Kong Land trilogy for the original Game Boy. Their successful run of platformers continued on the Nintendo 64 with the greatly praised and award winning Banjo-Kazooie, its sequel Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64 and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. After that, aside from a few Game Boy Advance games and the Xbox remake Conker: Live & Reloaded, Rare seems to have abandoned the genre altogether.
When Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was first announced, all signs pointed to Rare returning to the genre that made them a household name. Of course, we all know that didn’t happen and instead we got a game that was anything but a platformer. So why abandon that games roots and do something entirely different? Why has there not been any other platformers from the famed developer?
I think primary reason for it is the Xbox demographic; a demographic that is generally prone to enjoying the latest shooters and Kinect players who love their sports and dance games. So there really aren’t many platform games available on the console that would typically appeal to either of those groups. And the few that have been released weren’t exactly massive hits that would warrant a continued investment in the genre. But maybe that’s because the Xbox brand has yet to receive its own exclusive platforming game that would actually make a difference?
Out of all the Xbox developers out there, Rare is the one company who could really drive an excellent platformer home and deliver an unforgettable experience. They did it with Donkey Kong Country. They did with Banjo-Kazooie. They did it with Conker’s Bad Fur Day. If they put in the effort to fully developing a new platformer specific game, then I’ve no doubt that they could do it again. So come on Rare, we’re all waiting. Are you up for the challenge?