One of the most adored development studios back in the Nintendo 64 era of gaming is without a doubt Rare Ware. The developer cranked out such classics as Perfect Dark, GoldenEye 007, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie during its time as a second-party firm to the Big N, but the quality of its software since being acquired by Microsoft has noticeably gone downhill.
Instead choosing to back the Xbox’s Kinect in recent years, Rare has allowed its prestigious properties to fall by the wayside — resulting in a round of layoffs that only just recently hit the firm. While gamers are still waiting to revisit some of the aforementioned and iconic franchises to make a return, Xbox head Phil Spencer has stepped forward to state that he “doesn’t want the Rare brand to mean Kinect Sports.”
Speaking with CVG, Spencer detailed the past strengths of Rare and how that relates to the future of the developer going forward. As the Xbox boss correctly points out, the brand is known for not only tackling a wide range of genres but excelling in them and moving the industry forward in the process.
“I’m a Rare fan from the N64 days – that’s kind of where my relationship with them was built. The range of genres that Rare exceeded at on N64 was crazy; you go from GoldenEye, to Conker and Banjo, Diddy Kong Racing… they were all over the place and they nailed a wide variety of genres. So I don’t see them as a ‘certain genre’ studio: their strength has always been in their diversity.”
Spencer’s comments don’t really give insight into what Rare will be working on next, but he did confirm that the developer can be much more valuable to Microsoft and dedicated fans than it has been as of late — reconfirming that the developer will be an important part of the Xbox brand going forward.
“Right now with Rare we’re at a point where I don’t want the Rare brand to mean Kinect Sports. The Rare brand can be more valuable to them, to us and to gamers than that.”
“I think it’s about them thinking about the next game that’s going to be the next ‘Rare game’ and really stand for what they are. I know they’ve got some great ideas… So they’ve got some new ideas, they’re excited about them and I think Rare should, can and will be an important part of our game future.”
It’s hard to say what the developer formerly known as Rare Ware will be working on next, but Spencer is making it sound like it won’t be tied to the Kinect Sports property. It’d be great to see a return of Banjo or Joanna Dark in a new triple-A platformer or shooter, respectively, but gamers could just as easily see a brand new IP from the company as well.
Hopefully gamers won’t be left too long speculating, but as long as Rare takes its time fine-tuning its next release (something we didn’t believe it did enough of in our Kinect Sports Rivals review) then it’ll be interesting to see what the studio has cooking.
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