Rare studio head Craig Duncan was recently interviewed by Microsoft’s jobs blog where he discussed what it’s like working at the British studio. Read on for a portion of the interview and click here to read it in full…
Microsoft: Rare have a great history behind them, from Battletoads to Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Piñata, and now you have Sea of Thieves on the horizon. What makes Rare such a great studio to be a part of?
Craig: Rare is a unique and very special studio, not just because of the legacy and impact it has had on gaming but also its sense of purpose to challenge the norm and do different things. Rare has continually reinvented itself time and time again, always challenging itself to learn and evolve to make better games. This comes from the culture, from the people here, but most importantly from the passion to explore new areas of gaming and do things differently.
Microsoft: One thing that Rare does really well is recognising talent of all levels and backgrounds. What advice would you have to anyone starting out in the gaming industry as well as someone wanting to join your team?
Craig: We talk a lot about having a growth mindset at Microsoft and the same applies for Rare. What this means is we want people who are open and have the capacity to learn and grow and figure out things that haven’t been done before because most things we do actually haven’t. Yes, we want experience and expertise, but people that know when and how to apply their experience when things are new. We want people that are okay with ambiguity and new things, people that strive to be at the leading edge of working out how we deliver game experiences beyond what our players were expecting. It doesn’t matter what level of experience you have, the best people always keep learning and keep growing! In addition to this we also put a lot of emphasis on the idea that if you have fun you will make fun so a passion for gaming, for your colleagues and for the studio is key to putting that enjoyment back into what we make.
Microsoft: You’ve just celebrated five years leading the team at Rare. Which one moment from the past five years stands out to you?
Craig: It’s actually flown by and there have been many challenges and many great moments. For me the standout moment was coming out publicly with our plan for Rare Replay and Sea of Thieves at last year’s E3 media briefing. It was a truly great moment for the team. We worked really hard on outlining this evolution of Rare. Planning how Rare Replay would celebrate our amazing legacy and how our new IP Sea of Thieves would be our next adventure, setting a vision for the studio’s future. It was such a relief to have our plan out there for everyone to see and get the overwhelmingly positive reaction to both Rare Replay and Sea of Thieves. Credit goes to the Rare team for making that moment possible and the Xbox leadership team who supported the plan.