2014 has proven be an unfortunate year when it comes to unexpected layoffs, with big studios like Irrational Games and Eidos Montreal both issuing the infamous pink slips to staff members. Sadly, it looks like the highly accomplished Rare studio is the next to announce a ‘development process change,’ which will result in the laying off of several employees, including senior staff. The studio is cooling down after the release of Kinect Sports Rivals, and it looks like their next game will be better accomplished with a more finite team at Rare.
Sources within the studio have stated that just under 20 employees were faced with the proverbial chopping block this week, including veteran studio members like Chris Sutherland and Gavin Price. Sutherland was lead programmer for no less than three Donkey Kong titles, and was the voice for both Banjo and Kazooie – making him one of the most senior developers at the studio. Price, on the other hand, has been with the studio for 15 years, working on titles like Viva PiÃ±ata and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, among others. Both of the developers had worked on the new Kinect Sports titles.
Microsoft came out with a statement regarding the layoffs, indicating the layoffs came from internal studio changes:
As part of Rare’s commitment to this goal, we have made a decision to change our development process and methodology at Rare to best support our future projects, this has led to us reviewing the skills and the makeup of our development teams in our business. Rare continues to invest in our people and future projects.
Since their acquisition by Microsoft back in 2002, Rare has become a Kinect game powerhouse for both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. They’ve shifted from producing games like Banjo-Kazooie and Goldeneye towards more casual items like the Kinect Sports series. Microsoft’s own Phil Spector admitted this week that Microsoft and Rare were still evaluating what to do for their next game – though one would imagine it will be a Kinect-based title.
Cutbacks never bring good news, and we here at Game Rant wish the affected Rare staff the best of luck in finding new employment. While it may not be as hard for the veterans to jump to a new ship, some of the younger staff may find themselves on hard times.
What do you think, Ranters? Do you like the new Rare, or do you prefer the studio as it was in its heyday?
Follow John Jacques on Twitter @Makelevi.
Source: Computer and Video Games