Why Is There So Much Hate For Developer Rare Lately?


Note: [All opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]

Game developers Rare have been in the news quite a bit lately and I always click to see what they have to say, after all I grew up playing Rare made games on Nintendo platforms back in the day. When the original Xbox was out and Microsoft started acquiring studios I never thought they would purchase one of my all time favorite studios, yet in 2002 that is exactly what happened. Not only did Microsoft pay $375 million for the company itself, they also acquired the rights to all of Rare’s original intellectual properties. I was very excited to see what Rare could do with backing from Microsoft, to date I have not been disappointed, but there seems to be a backlog of anger from Nintendo fans or just non Microsoft fans that try to demean what Rare has done thus far at Microsoft.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the classic games on the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64, but I grew up and I believe that Rare has as well. I understand fully that not many, if any at Rare right now were actually there at the start. A company that goes back almost 30 years isn’t going to be able to retain a lot of employees. The fact that there isn’t a lot of original Rare employees at the studio anymore doesn’t mean the company is lackluster currently. It also doesn’t mean that the games Rare is coming out with are lacking in quality, if anything it’s harder in the current day and age to produce a game that is both a critical and commercial success. The most common myth I hear is “Rare died when Microsoft bought it”. I also hear the ever popular”Rare is dead”.

I never understood the hate for Microsoft or the studios they own, when I bought my Xbox 360 when it launched back in 2005 I spent the most time with Rare made games, to date Rare has made 7 physical games for the Xbox 360 and have released classic games like Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie on the Xbox Live Arcade. That is quite a bit of work from a developer many consider to be dead, don’t you think? The quality of the physical games that Rare released was also quite good. It’s my opinion that Kameo: Elements Of Power is one of this generations most underrated and beautiful platform/adventure games. On of the things I like best about Rare made games is the fact that they actually use a full color pallet, in a generation where so many games use black, grey, white, brown and dark brown as their main colors, it’s good to see Rare actually use a more colorful standard.

Not only has every Rare made game on the Xbox 360 received positive critical reception, but they have been financially successful as well. I believe Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements Of Power, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Viva Pinata and Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise have all gotten Platinum release editions, which means they have all sold over 1 million copies. Again, not bad for a “dead” developer right? I think we all know the unbridled success Kinect Sports has seen, it’s sold well over 3 million copies and has become the best selling Kinect title of all time. While Rare did help develop Kinect Sports Season Two, it was heavily assisted by Big Park. Rare has also been busy with some new hiring’s and it looks like they are gearing up to make some new games, possibly for the next Xbox console.

I know what the haters are thinking, “More Kinect shovelware”. Now, while I think there has been a fair amount of shovelware on the Kinect, Rare hasn’t made any. Kinect Sports 1 & 2 are some of the best Kinect titles to date. Kinect Sports was really the only game to play right out of the gate that worked like it was supposed to, aside from Dance Central. I spent many hours with Kinect Sports and it’s definitely not shovelware. Rare took a risk working on Kinect titles and it looks to have paid off, that’s not to say that they wont ever work on anything else. Remember, they were able to churn out a couple of games a year early on in the Xbox 360’s life cycle, so who is to say they cant make a Kinect title, while also making a new Perfect Dark or Kameo game as well?

I’ll be the first one to line up and get a new Conker, Killer Instinct, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie or Kameo game, but just because their two latest titles were Kinect games, doesn’t make them a bad developer. If your not personally a fan of Kinect then your letting those feelings get in the way with the reality of the situation. Kinect integration doesn’t make a game bad, I would expect some sort of Kinect integration with every future first party Microsoft made game, they have too much money, time and effort into Kinect not to include it in some form or another, mostly we’ll probably see voice commands or the ability to navigate the menu’s with hand gestures.

One of Rares most underrated games is Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, the main reason is that Rare took the game in a totally different direction and people complained a bit, the game wasn’t the commercial success it should have been, but still did well enough to get a Platinum Edition. In this day and age of cookie cutter games and developers not willing to take risks, it was nice to see Rare take a big risk with that game, yet they get looked down on because of it. I wouldn’t mind a part 2 of Nuts & Bolts, I also wouldn’t mind them going back to the platform roots of the series. I truly hope to see some of those IP’s revived at some point, but I’m not one of those people that is going to trash talk on a company that has done and continues to do some very good work. You cant always live in the past, the present and future are where I live and what I’m excited for.


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