7. Only… In Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong is widely considered as the game that started it all for Nintendo. Had the arcade not been successful, then who knows where the industry would be today? It was wildly popular in the arcade and for the NES before it went into limbo and eventually resurfaced in 1994 as something else entirely… a platformer. You see, in the early 1990s, the Stamper Brothers modified the silicon graphics chip to work with the SNES and Nintendo was so impressed with their work that they offered the Donkey Kong franchise to Rare to develop a new game using that technology. What we got was Donkey Kong Country, a game with pre-rendered 3D graphics that was a platformer similar to Super Mario Bros. and arguably better. People absolutely loved it as it went on to sell over eight million units worldwide.
6. Kinect Sports is developed by Rare
Despite Kinect Sports being the premiere game to show what Kinect was capable of and the franchise selling over six million units to-date, people still can’t get a grasp on the fact that Rare is the developer. When it was announced that they were, outrage consumed the Rare fans of old and the company has been touted as a “Kinect Sports only developer” ever since.
5. Fox McCloud Infiltrates Dinosaur Planet
Remember Dinosaur Planet? It was being touted as the next great adventure game from Rare and by all accounts it certainly would have been. Unfortunately, Shigeru Miyamoto got his hands on a build of the game and made an off-handed comment about the main character looking strikingly similar to Fox McCloud and offered Rare the opportunity to use the iconic character. Rare accepted and the game became Starfox Adventures, a much less anticipated and far worse game than what we would have likely had. It’s a lesson that would have surely been learned… had Rare still been with Nintendo after the game’s release.
4. From Cutesy to Ballsy: The Transformation of Conker
Once upon a time there was a Nintendo 64 game called Twelve Tales: Conker 64. It was a cutesy game starring a little red squirrel named Conker and was very similar to Banjo-Kazooie… that is, until Chris Seavor got a hold of it. Not long after the reigns were turned over to Seavor, the game went from your everyday cutesy platformer to a ballsy, gritty game featuring a foul-mouthed squirrel with an attitude. The game came to be known as Conker’s Bad Fur Day and is probably one of the biggest transformations for a game the industry has ever seen. Was it worth it? Despite controversy with Nintendo, it was critically acclaimed and served as Rare’s swan song for the Nintendo 64 platform.
3. Banjo-Kazooie Abandons its Roots
For eight long years fans of the Banjo-Kazooie franchise had been waiting for the inevitable release of a brand new title in the series on a console. We had been teased at the end of Banjo-Tooie that Banjo-Threeie would happen and we had all been patiently waiting for that day to come. In November of 2008 it finally did and well… it wasn’t what anyone wanted. The third console entry completely abandoned and its roots and Banjo-Kazooie fans were outraged at the nonsensical decision and chose to mostly ignore it. It became the worst selling title of the once popular series.
2. The Stamper Brothers’ Resignation
In 2006, Rare founders Chris and Tim Stamper announced that they were resigning from the company to “pursue other opportunities”. It was an awkward time for their resignation as the Xbox 360 had barely launched and their latest golden child, Viva Pinata, was just on the verge of being released. Little is known of their whereabouts these days, but rumors persist they may be involved in real estate. Or they could just be lounging back in their golden recliners in a massive mansion by the beach somewhere. They can afford it.
1. The Microsoft Acquisition
On September 24th, 2002, the gaming industry was shaken by at its foundations when it was announced Microsoft had acquired Rare for an amazing $375 million dollars. Rumors were about for several months that something was going on behind the scenes but it still came as an unexpected surprise to learn that the rumors were indeed true. It was by and far the most shocking announcement in Rare’s thirty year history.