On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would ship without the Kinect for $399 in an attempt to combat the massive sales figures of the PS4. Although the move could certainly help boost Xbox One sales by dropping the asking price by $100, it has also raised questions about what Rare is going to work on next.
Rare, the UK-based developer bought out by Microsoft back in 2002, has seemingly made Kinect-based games its focus since the launch of the device on the Xbox 360. The developer is responsible for the Kinect Sports series, but with the motion sensor now seemingly demoted from being an integral part of the Xbox One “platform ecosystem” to a peripheral, it leaves a lot of people wondering about where Rare’s focus will lie in the future.
Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, was asked about the developer by OXM, and said that Rare’s team are “in the process of evaluating what they want to do next.” Spencer stated that the studio has “just come off the successful launch of Kinect Sports Rivals” and that Microsoft is “working closely with them to see what their new project will be.”
Spencer also commented on how much freedom Rare had in the development process, explaining that an “independent-minded” studio like Rare could not be pressured, and that “forcing a studio to do something is never a successful equation.” Spencer continued by saying that Rare is “free to look at all different kinds of opportunities, they always have been, and we’re having a great time trying to work out with them what their next game might be.” He did admit that there is “nothing to announce right now.”
It will be interesting to see what Rare’s next project will be. Microsoft is not giving up on the Kinect, and the motion device itself will be available separate from the Xbox One this Fall. This means that Rare could still keep its focus on Kinect titles, and could prove itself a very useful part of Microsoft’s future development. But with Kinect-free Xbox One units soon to be made readily available, this could really limit the reach of any games Rare creates.
Of course, Rare also sits on a huge number of incredibly popular properties. The studio has given us the likes of Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie, the Conker series, Perfect Dark, and Viva PiÃ±ata. Since the reboot of Killer Instinct, another Rare IP, was well received, it could be that Rare make a move back towards some of their older franchises. Who knows, they may be able to rekindle some of the success they had in the Nintendo 64 era.
Where do you think Rare’s future will lie? Do you think they could bring back some of their older IPs successfully, or are you worried about another lukewarm title like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts?