New GoldenEye and Banjo on Xbox One? Rare says they aren't necessarily what you want

Rare boss Craig Duncan talks about Rare's future after Kinect Sports Rivals on Xbox One.

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"We're not going to go and remake the same game, which I think when people comment is what they say they want."

The story of Rare has almost become a cautionary tale: the studio created some of the most beloved Nintendo titles of the SNES and N64 era, such as Donkey Kong Country, Killer Instinct, GoldenEye 007, and Banjo Kazooie. Dozens of people even maintain, to this very day, that Diddy Kong Racing is superior to Mario Kart 64. This incredible assortment of titles has in many ways plagued the developer for years, with some high profile staff exits and less-than-stellar titles making the studio seem unable to recover its critical and commercial momentum since being acquired by an eager Microsoft back in 2001.

I'll wager you've probably thought about how you'd love Rare to make another GoldenEye, another Donkey Kong Country, another Jet Force Gemini, or another Banjo Kazooie a few times in your life. People certainly ask for these games a lot. "But I'm not sure it's really what they want," continues Craig Duncan.

Duncan has been the head of Rare for a "fun-packed" three years now, with roughly 120-odd full-time staff (and anywhere between 30 and 80 freelancers) currently putting the finishing touches on Kinect Sports Rivals, its Xbox One debut, at the studio's leafy UK studio in Twycross. But surely there's more to Rare than Kinect Sports Rivals? "We've always got things bubbling," said Duncan. "We've always got a level of things at a concept phase. The key thing is when do we get it from what we call labs to something that's in incubation? And even then it still may not ever see the light of day. We might create a prototype and then kill it because it's not good enough."

"From a creative point of view, we've always got a number of ideas that we're bubbling around, and it's really about picking the right one for the right time in the industry."

"The key question is: what's Rare going to release next? We've always got a number of ideas there," Duncan adds, "and it's just aligning the right one to the right console opportunity, to the right market opportunity."

How many projects does Rare have in that incubation stage right now, then? It certainly feels like Microsoft has a platformer-shaped gap in its lineup that Rare could feasibly fill with a new Banjo title. "We're about to put new teams together for new projects beyond Kinect Sports Rivals, so we definitely have things we feel pretty good about."

A new Rare game for an E3 2014 debut, then? "I'm not going to answer that question."

But surely there must be a desire for the creative types at Rare to work on a fresh project after developing three Kinect Sports games in a row? "Different people are motivated by different things," Duncan says. "We've got a lot of technologists that are really focused on the 'can we do this?' My job is easy in a lot of ways, because my job is just to create an environment where our best and brightest people can go and do their best work, and make sure they've got the resources and the backing, and the budgets, and the space, and the creative freedom to go and build awesome.

Banjo concept art is displayed on the walls at Rare's studio in Twycross, UK.

"From a creative point of view, we've always got a number of ideas that we're bubbling around, and it's really about picking the right one for the right time in the industry. Look at where trends are going. Where do we think the industry is going, where do we think Microsoft platforms are going?"

As a first-party studio, then, I ask Duncan where he thinks the industry is going. "Microsoft is now a platform company with platforms, with an 's' at the end," he says. "We do think about how we do have touch with Windows 8, we do have PC, we do have Xbox 360, which is still buoyant for us as there's still millions of 360's out there, and then if I think about Xbox One, we've rocketed out of the blocks and there seems to be a great demand for next-generation content. So for us, it's really... what are the right franchises? What are the right games? And to go and light up Kinect, and to go and light up what Xbox One could do, was a challenge that any developer worth its salt would love to go and run at."

"We'll look at other projects, and what's the right platform for those? Kinect might not be the right platform, or touch might not be the right platform, and you've got to fit the right game to the right kind of console."

While Kinect Sports Rivals might not be enough to win over some of Rare's doubters, then, it's worth remembering that the UK developer has managed to stay commercially successful and afloat in a tumultuous climate that has seen many studios closed up and down the country over the last few years. Duncan also points out what the team has accomplished: "We've made the best bowling ever. The best bowling that's ever been, ever ever ever, on any platform."

"If we can't do something creatively that's different to what's been done before, and what I can say with Kinect Sports Rivals is, the reason we did that is we could go and do a load of things creatively that we hadn't done before, and no-one else had done, so I can justify that it's the right thing for a studio to do."

Discussion

363 comments
iorelk
iorelk

honestly rare died when microsoft bought the company  banjo kazooie for xbox 360  was a disappointment and killer istincs for xbox one , was soso and batle toads dissapear with rare microsoft shoudl sell rare to nintendo 

jetman824
jetman824

Honestly would anyone want Rare making another banjo kazooie? after the disappointment that was nuts & bolts, I don't want them trying it again. 

kevinflynn1982
kevinflynn1982

You have heard it here first, people! Rare has made THE BEST bowling.... EVER. Whoopty-doo!! What an achievement! *Pats Rare Studios on the back* Now come back when you and Microsoft both want my money and have announced that you have finally made Banjo-Threeie, and are not complete and utter failures, as far as gaming companies go... 

jonathanacevedo
jonathanacevedo

Rare would you ever listen to your fans? WE WANT ANOTHER BANJO!

a real adventure game. We are willing to pay for the game! Make a kickstarter project!! We will fund the game! As long as is an adventure not like a nuts and bolts one! Try us!

glacius_x
glacius_x

Let me fix that.....

"Rare re-making any of those games aren't necessarily what you want." The 360 Banjo Kazooie, case and point.


Now let someone else re-make new versions of old Rare titles like K.I. was. That's what I want at least. I cannot speak for others. Rare of these days are a complete joke in making anything outside of kinect games IMHO.

sonic_rareware8
sonic_rareware8

For God's sake Microsoft, sell Rare back to Nintendo already!

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

i would pay for a re release of golden eye on xbone with no changes what so ever accept multi play been done online

SpydogK
SpydogK

I feel I speak for 95% of all N64 owners and shooter fans when I say that we would love nothing more in the gaming world than for RARE to TRULY Remake Goldeneye 007... 100% RE-MASTERED in HD with new controls updated for dual-analog sticks and Xbox Live gameplay... Same maps, same characters, same multiplayer modes... We DID NOT WANT that crap Goldeneye Reloaded was. Just give us a REAL REMAKE with nothing changed but what was mentioned above. 


And as for Banjo Kazooie... HELL YES we want a TRUE successor to that game! 

C'MON Rare!

mjharper34
mjharper34

You're not sure it's what we want? I played the hell out of Goldeneye 007 and Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii. Done right, they are absolutely something I want. Too bad Rare's not the ones doing it.

Kashmiro
Kashmiro

Rivals looks cool and I may play it at some point, but I'd take a true to form new Banjo game any day. I beat the re-release on the 360 over 4 times.

salvucci91
salvucci91

Wow, Jet Force Gemini; haven't heard that title in a long time.

double_O7
double_O7

No Rare, I'm pretty sure a new Banjo is EXACTLY what I really want.

Mikelikel9
Mikelikel9

Rare, you were better off as an independent studio (even when Ninty owned 49% of you). Shame. 

Arachnofunk
Arachnofunk

Rare should develop a new Banjo Kazooie but true to the N64 style. About a Donkey Kong 64 I hope Nintendo makes something in that line for the Wii U. 

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

Am I the only one who wants a new Diddy Kong Racing?  That game had so much over Mario Kart at the time of the N64 and I would love to see if they could do it again.  I also wouldn't need a Wii U for it, which is a plus.

colbster
colbster

My Kinect won't power on, so I can't play this Sports Rivals garbage. A Diddy Kong racing for Xbox One would be awesome!

finalkain
finalkain

The Real RARE has been RIP for over a Decade

ACMC85
ACMC85

Viva pinata is awesome, but Kameo deserves another chance.

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

"The key question is: what's Rare going to release next?"

Nothing worth playing. We've already seen what Microsoft did to you guys. At this point you can't produce anything of substance like you did with Nintendo. You've been gutted of talented designers and people with vision, you are an empty shell right now. And it pains me greatly to say that.

force_user1975
force_user1975

Phil Spencer loves platformers, Rare also kinda distanced themselves from a new Killer Instinct and then we were all blown away by it at E3. Even though Rare didn't directly make it, it was overseen by Ken Lobb, who was original Rare and developed KI back in the day. Whatever they do I'm sure it'll be good. I loved KS 1 and 2, and Kameo, Viva Pinata 1 and 2 were some of my favorite games. Still have my Perfect Dark Collectors Edition for 360 as well. 

Rafficus_III
Rafficus_III

I'd love another Perfect Dark, and Killer Instinct is actually one of the reasons why I'm interested in buying the Xbox One. Too bad Rare knows me better than myself and wants me to buy Kinect Sports.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

As much as I enjoyed Banjo Kazooie as a Kid, I can't see myself playing it anymore.

The dialogue was atrocious and the childish nature of it just has zero appeal for me now.

Make a game for your fans that grew up. How about that?

BLKCrystilMage
BLKCrystilMage

I think the subheading for this article is kind of implicitly understood. If the last 2 GoldenEye games weren't what we wanted, they're not going to give us what we want now.

BuBsay
BuBsay

Ahh, I'm so glad Microsoft and Rare understand my gaming desires better than I do, I don't know what I would do without their flawless design decisions and amazing development capacity....


And Microsoft wonders why good PR for them is essentially nonexistent.

Getesh
Getesh

I agree, i don't want another banjo, or jet force, or goldeneye. That's to say i don't want any from rare. All of rare's older franchises are no longer being made by rare. The days of golden past are long gone at rare, what's left is the husk that microsoft created 13 years ago.

dogman7
dogman7

Banjo and Conker can come back. GoldenEye can stay in my childhood, because I think a reboot of that would just be terrible.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

Great games set trends, trends don't set great games. Geez, you'd think Rare used to be a great developer that got bought out and fell into nothingness...oh wait.

Kmilford
Kmilford

Rare was one of the worst purchases Microsoft EVER made. What have they made since they bought? Viva Pinata? Kameo? Both were mildly entertaining, and cutesey (which is not what Rare was, at all). Conker was cute and edgy. DKR was amazing. GoldenEye created a genre..


Kameo? No. Viva Pinata was good, but too niche. Seriously--all the talent from Rare left like 10 years ago.

pdfanboy
pdfanboy

"We've made the best bowling ever. The best bowling that's ever been, ever ever ever, on any platform." LOL

Defender1978
Defender1978

I love it when developers tell me what I want and what I don't want in a game.

Kamina85
Kamina85

You can't tell me I don't actually want more Donkey Kong Country games, Rare, because while you were making bad Kinect games Retro Studios stepped up to the plate and gave me the stellar DKC Returns and Tropical Freeze, and they were what I wanted and I loved them. So yeah, I actually DO want more DKC games, another Banjo-Kazooie game, another Jet Force Gemini, etc. But not from you, and here's why:


You're not even Rare anymore, almost all of the talented employees jumped ship long ago. If there was any justice in the world all your franchises from the Nintendo years would go back to Nintendo so they could be available on the Virtual Console and then Nintendo can hire studios to make sequels to these games (they were able to have Retro do more DKC since Rare did not get ownership of anything Donkey Kong-related). That would be ideal. But hey, go ahead "Rare", act like you're the best ever (greatest bowling ever? Like, really?) and be a presumptuous jerk and tell us that you know us better than we know ourselves, but all the true gamers know that The One True Rare was amongst the greatest and it has left this world but we will never forget the memories.

sexyrene007
sexyrene007

YES WE WANT THOSE GAMES YOU KNOW HOW MANY XBOX 1 WIILL SALE IF THEY REMAKE GOLDENEYE

ludvig69
ludvig69

the sales for rivals will be garbage...and 70% of the purchases will be regretted within a week

ludvig69
ludvig69

the best bowling...ever???  really?  holy fxck fire this guy now. 

odolwa99
odolwa99

"...we've always got a number of ideas that we're bubbling around..."


If you keep hitting that bong, then bowling will always look awesome.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

i would be quite happy, to have a James Bond 1st person game with all the villains from all the films in the game. Like the villains working together to bring down the world, create ultra tech and spy programs and run all the major corporations and banks and James Bond has to inflitrate a massive crime ring with all the elites in the world that use gangs from different countries, around the world to carry out their objectives to bring down the planet and control a 1 world government. 


Would Be epic.

champion-hero
champion-hero

@Yuusha09  except that, Diddy Kong (as is Donkey Kong) are Nintendo assets, so if they were to make it, it would have to be something else altogether. Having had both games at the time, they were as good as each other.


On a side note, NOT having a Wii U is actually a minus - the Wii U is a fantastic console and you're missing out by not having one.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

@Yuusha09  Better than Mario Kart 64 by a margin. Can't believe they didn't make another one…


… then again, maybe that's why.

Mikelikel9
Mikelikel9

@ACMC85  Sadly each of those games is over 7 years old. Rare has done barely anything worthwhile since then. 

lbcjrballa
lbcjrballa

@VenkmanPHD  Too childish? You sound childish for saying that, I've recently re-played both banjo-kazooie and banjo-tooie and they were a blast. Sure some of the jokes are a little old or outdated but that doesn't make it childish. They're still excellent games, but I wouldn't mind also seeing another Conker's Bad Fur Day or maybe Badder Fur Day. Too bad Rare won't make any of it happen.

Simulator_Shock
Simulator_Shock

@VenkmanPHD They did make a game for "grown up" fans, it was called Conker's Bad Fur Day. Where were you when that come out?

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

@BLKCrystilMage  If they remade Goldeneye with contemporary graphics and sound, it would sell. Perfect Dark reviewed and sold well when re-released for XBLA - and for good reason, because it was pretty great notwithstanding a decade having gone by.


Of course, for licensing reasons, it's not going to happen. But I disagree with the guy when he says that people are deluded about wanting it.


gamerboy100
gamerboy100

@dogman7  Technically, the Goldeneye reboot already happened a few years ago. It was done by Eurocom and published by Activision, so Rare actually had nothing to do with it.

comb5
comb5

@Kmilford  The bought them to nerf Nintendo. That's what I honestly believe.

brxricano
brxricano

@pdfanboy LMAO I read that and i was like, mental illnesses should be taken care of ASAP. smh

Simulator_Shock
Simulator_Shock

@SpiderLuke Don't remind me of that abomination. That game unapologetically raped my childhood.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

@dogman7 I only played the demo of that, but I thought it was pretty good...