EXCLUSIVE: Tribal Tuesday- Why I Think Rare Is Reviving Jet Force Gemini

For anyone who had a Nintendo 64 back in the day and was a fan of Rare then, then chances are you had the opportunity to play Jet Force Gemini. If not, then it’s likely that you have at least heard of it or perhaps even seen some gameplay videos and read some old reviews. Jet Force Gemini was an epic third person, sci-fi action/adventure title that could basically be considered the Mass Effect of its time. It was large in scope, had several different planets to explore and some of the most difficult and brutal bosses… ever. Taking its style of gameplay into consideration and the primary focus of gaming today, then Jet Force Gemini would be one of the prime franchises for Rare to revive and I believe they are. Here’s why…

It all begins with Minecraft. Yes… Minecraft. Specifically the Xbox 360 version. As all of you should know at this point, the Xbox version of Minecraft has had no shortage of Rare love inserted into it in the past couple of months via downloadable Skin Packs. Skin Pack #1 brought with it the most popular characters from Banjo-Kazooie including Banjo, Gruntilda, Bottles, Klungo, Tooty and Mumbo Jumbo. A few months later Skin Pack #2 released and brought with a host of new Rare themed skins including three different guises of Joanna Dark and Elvis; a trio of Viva Pinata Pinatas including a Pretztail, Horstachio and Fizzlybear; and lastly the Jet Force Gemini team of Juno, Vela and Lupus. At first glance, it seems that its just skins from various Rare franchises that they just wanted to put into the game, but I don’t believe that to be the case. I think there is more to this than meets the eye.

Think about it. It makes perfect sense that there would be skins to represent Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark, and Banjo-Kazooie. These are franchises that we’ve seen have their own unique games and remakes since Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare back in September of 2002. It’s to be expected. But Jet Force Gemini? Why? There is no logic to include skins of characters from a game that hasn’t been in the public eye in any capacity since its initial release on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999. No logic unless Rare has intentions of reviving the franchise. If you recall, there were rumors that 4JStudios was actually remaking Jet Force Gemini for the XBLA, just as they did with Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, and Perfect Dark. They are, of course, responsible for the recent Minecraft port. With the importance of wanting Minecraft to be ported to the Xbox 360 as soon as possible, I believe the JFG remake was simply put on hold until the development of Minecraft was finished. It is and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that they have returned to remaking JFG and are planning it for a 2013 release.

But what if there is more to reviving Jet Force Gemini than just a remake of the original game? What if Rare is actually working on a brand new JFG and are planning it as a launch title for the Xbox 720? Let’s take a look at some recent evidence that will aid in putting this idea into perspective…

If you’ve been following RFDB regularly or keep an eye on Rare’s official website and/or Twitter, then you know that Rare has been on a recent hiring spree. They’ve been hiring for Lead Character Artists, Environmental Artists and Havok Behavior Animators and most importantly, individuals skilled with developing games in the First Person Shooter and Action/Adventure genres. Under no circumstances does this mean that is working on a new JFG. It could be something else entirely. If you think about it though, Jet Force Gemini does meet the criteria. It’s a third person action/adventure title that can be played as an FPS at times, would certainly need a lot of environmental work and artists for lead characters, and the Havok Engine itself is primarily utilized in first person and third person shooters!

Weigh in all of the evidence I’ve presented above. Firstly, we have the strange and illogical inclusion of Jet Force Gemini themed Minecraft Skins; secondly, the fact that the Minecraft 360 developer is the same company who remade three of Rare’s classic games as well rumors of them remaking JFG; and thirdly, we have Rare’s recent hiring spree for what is bound to be an Xbox 720 launch title of a first and or third person shooter and action/adventure title that JFG meets the criteria of. I don’t know about you, but it definitely seem plausible to me that Jet Force Gemini is well on its way to being revived. Be it just an XBLA remake, an Xbox 720 launch game or perhaps both the future will tell. The evidence presented suggests a possibility of both, but we’ll just have to wait and see.