Rare co-founder Tim Stamper has revealed in a recent interview that he has no idea why Nintendo didn’t decide to purchase Rare when the time came to it. Stamper says he thought the studio was a really good fit for the company and says he was surprised when the company decided against fully acquiring the studio. As we all know Microsoft was the company that purchased the studio behind hits such as Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie. They purchased Rare for $375m in 2002. Stamper says that they liked Microsoft and the people working for the company.
“I’ve no idea why they didn’t do that,” he said. “I thought we were a good fit.”
“The price of software development was going up and up with the platforms, and Rare works really well with a partner,” said Stamper.
“We were looking for someone to help broaden our horizons.”
“I like Microsoft. They had a great system, and there’s a lot of good people at Microsoft,” he said.
Rare developer Gregg Mayles has revealed that the company had a sister title planned for Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64. The game was called Velvet Dark and was apparently early in development. Not much is known about the game, but there is a design document floating around somewhere at Rare HQ. The game was also meant to be compatible with the Game Boy Advance, according to the design documents tweeted.
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Playtonic, the developers behind the gorgeous 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee, have sat down for an extensive interview with Redbull. There are a number of topics addressed in the interview, but one of the most interesting is why Rare turned its back on the 3D platformer genre that many would say that the company had nailed. Gavin Price says that for Rare it was simply a case of moving forward and trying out different things, which in theory the company should be applauded for.
I don’t think they turned their back on the genre consciously. It was more of a desire to move ahead and try new things such as Viva Piñata and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts – concepts that kind of needed a bit of horsepower behind them, and they had the hardware to finally do them. Inevitably every studio probably has lots more ideas than developers to go around, so maybe it was more the case there just wasn’t enough resources to continue with platformers and deliver new experiences.
You can certainly find some interesting information floating around Twitter. Mark Stevenson, who previously worked at Rare, has shared on the social network that the development team for the Donkey Kong Country series on the Super Nintendo originally envisioned Donkey Kong wearing a helmet with a flashlight for the dark and dank cave levels found throughout the original game. However, Stevenson says this was later replaced with Squawks the parrot.
We are all looking forward to see the results of Playtonic Games first creation which is dubbed Project Ukulele. The team have announced that their Kickstarter will go live on May 1st which is presumably when they will lift the lid on the project as well as the two main characters.
Thanks, Luma Party and KomaruTheHylian
Playtonic, the team made up of talented Rare developers, has started a new campaign on Twitter to try to get Banjo to star in Super Smash Bros. You may remember that Xbox chief Phil Spencer was all for Banjo appearing in the brawler and said he would be happy to work with Nintendo on this. Which character do you want to see in the Super Smash Bros DLC?
Playtonic, the promising ex-Rare developers behind Project Ukulele, have been interviewed by The Guardian. There’s a wealth of information contained within the interview, especially about Rare of the past and of the present. Interestingly one of the former staff members says that Microsoft gave Rare more freedom than they had with Nintendo. You can read the full interview, right here.
“I still chat to them, I know what they were working on when I left last year,” says Playtonic’s studio head, Gavin Price, who worked for Rare for 20 years, having joined as a tester in the 1990s. “It sounds really good.”
“I want them to do well,” says Price. “They’re mates and we left them behind to come and do this. I’m looking forward to what they’re doing next – people will be really happy to see it.” Asked whether it would be a Kinect-focused title, like the studio’s other recent projects, he replied: “I can’t say for sure what they are or aren’t doing with that piece of hardware that Microsoft isn’t supporting much anymore.”
The team has also talked about including a vast range of non-player characters in Project Ukulele, who will then star in their own spin-off titles. Intriguingly, they have even expressed an interest in working with Rare again in some capacity. “You never know, there are some good old mates of ours down the road, they may might want to do a little multi-studio collaboration,” says Price. “We’re just going to be open minded. We’re not trying to look too far ahead. We’ll make the right decision when we get there.”
“For me, it was more about [Rare founders] Tim and Chris Stamper leaving,” says Playtonic technical director Jens Restemeier, who worked at Rare handling handheld conversions of key titles. “There was no sense of progression about what the company was going to do from that point on. The story people want to hear is that Microsoft came in and destroyed everything. It wasn’t like that. They gave us freedom, almost more freedom than Nintendo gave us.”