Rare hit by layoffs

Kinect Sports maker's art department suffers cutbacks, with full-time staffers being forced to reapply for jobs at the studio.

Last October, Xbox 360 veteran Scott Henson signed on as studio manager of Rare. At the time, he said the studio's new focus on the Kinect motion-sensing system would be a boon to the venerable shop. "Kinect Sports is the opening salvo for what I believe will be an exciting, Kinect-enabled future for Rare. I have two words to describe the studio's future: bold and bright."

Rare's art department is being downsized according to reports.

Unfortunately, it appears that Henson's words didn't apply to Rare's art department. According to an Edge report, Rare's entire art department has been told that their positions are now at risk of being eliminated and that they must reapply to new managerial positions at Rare's new offices in Birmingham, England. The rest of the art staff will apparently be made up of temporary workers.

The catch? Edge says that there are apparently 42 people currently working in Rare's art department and just 23 art jobs awaiting them at the Birmingham offices. Therefore, ostensibly 19 staffers will be let go in a human-resources version of musical chairs.

Microsoft responded to GameSpot's request for comment with the following statement:

"We can confirm that a small number of employees in the art department of Rare Studios were informed that their roles are at risk of redundancy. While redundancies are never easy, these organizational changes are part of Rare's ongoing strategy and operational planning which typically coincides with the shipment of a title. We are working closely with the affected employees to support them through this transition and help them apply for other roles within Microsoft."

The company did offer a bit more clarification to Edge, saying:

"Whilst we're not discussing the exact numbers involved, I can assure you that it's far fewer than you've indicated and represents a small percentage of the total Rare team."

Ironically, the layoffs come as Kinect Sports proves to be a solid hit for Microsoft--and Rare is performing well. "Rare is currently in a position of some considerable strength as Kinect Sports sales have far exceeded global expectations and the title is No. 1 on the Kinect platform," the company said.

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111 comments
squidracerX
squidracerX

@TheTrueMagusX1 - #1 i didn;t know you were just talking about franchises, but then #2 you answered yourself for me, yeah 100% the ICO Shadow of the Colossus and last Guardian are all in the same universe are totally a franchise, so it still fits.

crazypete36
crazypete36

This is what you get for making me wait 10 freakin years for a Banjo Kazooie game-_-.

Bruce_the_Ugga
Bruce_the_Ugga

Agreed, Rare stopped making truly great games when they left Nintendo.

andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

"Microsoft bought Rare to keep Rare away from Nintendo, not so much for what Rare had to offer. Seems like it worked for Microsoft, but I must say that is a greedy move lol." Rare has had some solid hits lately for family oriented games. This is a market segment MS saw needed filling, as most of their other studios targer older members only. That is a fair reason to employ them. However I do think Rare has some more oomph to come back with. Perhaps a new Conker game.

okassar
okassar

Microsoft bought Rare to keep Rare away from Nintendo, not so much for what Rare had to offer. Seems like it worked for Microsoft, but I must say that is a greedy move lol.

PayneKiller
PayneKiller

Why did Microsoft buy Rare? People stopped caring about their games after that. How many have praised the latest Conker/Perfect Dark/Banjo Kazooie since the went to M$?

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

Rare's best games were with Nintendo. Conker's Bad Fur Day (I believe that was the first 'M' rated Nintendo game...) GoldenEye 007 Banjo Kazooie / Banjo Tooie The only good Microsoft Rare game I could say was good was Banjo Kazooie. I never really liked BK or BT, but they were good games at least.

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

@parhar67 What have Sony got to do with it? Rare used to be a Nintendo developer until Microsoft paid a ridiculous $375million to acquire Rare. Name one good game, apart from Banjo Kazooie, that Rare has released considerably recently, from, let's say, 2002 onwards.

parhar67
parhar67

DanielL5583 Rare lets go of a few people and microsoft is a evil company with no good but Sony lays off 10 thousand people and its ok? lol

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

Rare should have stayed WELL away from the grips of Microsoft.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

make perfect dark multiplatform yes include wii to ,, easy money and make it as good as perfect dark if not better then ts 2 (timesplitters 2)

Ashmodai69
Ashmodai69

Release a version of Killer Instinct 1 and 2 for PSN and XBL, cant be too hard to do and its guaranteed easy money for Rare.

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

Digital Anvil, Studio Gigante, FASA Studios, Ensemble Studios etc and eventually RARE which currently owns IP that fanboys want to see ressurrected but all of them just don't realize that the employees who were part of that creative force that made those IP like KI are long gone and no longer employed at RARE, all those teams were broken appart thanks to Microsoft, destroyer of family devs teams.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

With the recent renaissance in the 2d fighting genre, I'm still scratching my head over the fact that someone (either Nintendo or Rare or Microsoft, whoever has the IP anymore) hasn't stepped up with another Killer Instinct title. If well done, it could be huge. If Rare really wanted to make themselves relevant again, releasing a new KI, and doing it right, would be their ticket.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

I wonder how many (if any) of these employees worked for Rare when they were called 'Ultimate'. Shame.....

pszone
pszone

Microsoft gave Rare ideas and they all fall becuase Microsoft didnt help rare with games after rare was brought out if rare go to ps3 exclslive or nindendo i bet they can mangemenmt better than Microsoft so they got to sell rare before more layoffs come in but kemco was only the game i like for xbox360 from Rare anyway even kemco was nindendo exclslsive but never got round to it until microsoft.

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

If only Microsoft were aware of the games Rare developed under Nintendo... Does anyone think it would be difficult to sell sequels to games like Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Killer Instinct, etc.?

xV-DeadGamer-Vx
xV-DeadGamer-Vx

Why are people moaning at RARE? I believe because Microsoft "Owns" them. Its up to Microsoft what they put out. So blame Microsoft for the games that they are realising and not RARE.

jhpeter
jhpeter

Give Rare back to Nintendo MS !!!

IslandBros15
IslandBros15

This really sucks. Back then you could argue that Rare was a better developer than Nintendo themselves, but now they are shell of their former selves.

Aravesque
Aravesque

well, that's what they get for turning to casual gaming, gee, I wonder what games they could have made.... Conker 2 Banjo 3 Killer Instinct 3 Oh yeah, thats about all it would take to be considered a game company...

IWKYB
IWKYB

Good that will teach em...MAKE KILLER INSTINCT 3 STUPID!

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@squidracerX It would also be silly to add the last guardian since we are listing Franchises. The Last Guardian is one game, not a franchise, and if you want to get technical, than you could say Team Ico games, but puting the Last Guardian when we are listing franchises is quite funny as well as that it is technically wrong. Yes it is exclusive, but we are talking about franchises, so the correct terminology would be Team Ico games....:D

bigdc
bigdc

Rare is a fallen giant. The buy-out from microsoft made everyone at Rare to rich to care about there products. This studio has proven that they are no longer a "tripple A" studio. The Kinect seems perfect for them. getting to take the low road, the Much lowared standards of making a "casual game". Oh how the mighty have fallen. I doubt well ever see Rare studios cater to the hardcore gamer ever again.

Tandem_Toad
Tandem_Toad

It sounds more like Microsoft is tying Rare's hands. It doesn't seem like Rare has any control anymore and is being made to be Microsoft's chance category of hit or miss titles. It's a shame.

R2C25
R2C25

Nintendo needs to release the rights of Killer Inst., they only make kiddos games anyway. Rare needs to comeback with Perfect Dark with a solid story and gameplay "a la" ME series.

Dark_Arkitect
Dark_Arkitect

Can't say I really care about what goes on with Rare these days.Not really shocked at this happening there either. Not knocking pinatas and avatars,but where is a new killer instinct,conker,a normal banjo & kazooie.Seems like they have the ips to do the job.....they just refuse to do it.

shaunn191
shaunn191

Wow I didn't realise Rare was still around. All their N64 games were the best. Nintendo shold get back with Rare and reunite. Might actually be worth owning my wii then.

LoveWiiDestroy9
LoveWiiDestroy9

I'm honestly surprised Rare still exists. They should do something useful like making a new Conker game.

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

Rare haven't been at their best for a long time now. Their decline started even before Microsoft bought them. It's a shame, they used to make the best games. Maybe they could get back on top, one day. It might be possible if MS would leave them alone and let them make the game they want to make.

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

Rare used to be so awesome back in the day especially with KI, Prefect Dark, Goldeneye 007 & Bad Fur Day.

Anime_Fan1986
Anime_Fan1986

Thats a shame, I love rare. They made some of the best games ever. Donkey Kong Country, Banjo, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Jet Force Gemini, Kameo, Perfect Dark Zer--nevermind, DK64 and a ton of other classics, I hope they bounce back.

blackace
blackace

I have no problem with RARE making a few Kinect games. That's all well and good, but please; for goodness sake, hurry up and release KI3, PDZ2, Conkers 3 and some kind of new IP for the 360. That's all I'm asking. I hate when companies have decent IP's in their stable and they waste time releasing the goods.

Neosonic23
Neosonic23

Hey Nintendo, Buy Back Rare, Pleaseeeeeee!

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

@ Jag-T1000 For once, I agree with you. Those were some pretty kick-ass franchises that could have done with a few more games. On the other hand, the horrible d-pad on the 360 probably would have kept a lot of fans who don't own a good arcade stick away. There's also the matter of Nintendo who, while far from perfect, was probably a big part of Rare's success.

dogpigfish
dogpigfish

I wasn't sure if they could survive the new generation. Good games back then are B games nowadays.

Jag-T1000
Jag-T1000

This wouldn't of happened if they would've released Killer Instinct 3 and Battletoads!

razorfett147
razorfett147

Rare is very much at the heart of their own demise to success. One of the reasons Nintendo let them go to MS in the first place was because they had gotten notorious for large dev cycles and slow progress (anyone else remember how PD Zero was originally supposed to be a Gamecube launch title?). And their second console outing in the Perfect Dark franchise was just abysmal. The main problem is that the talented group of guys that made games like Banjo K., Goldeneye, and Perfect Dark so great left a long time ago......and took most of the talent and soul of the developer with them. These companies are only as good as the worker bees that comprise them. Rare is just the husk of its former great self. I doubt they'd be doing any better right now if they were still under the big N.

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

In 8 years Nintendo took rare from nothing to one of the best studios around. Microsoft on the other hand took them in the complete opposite direction. They did the exact same thing to ensemble as well. I wouldn't like to be working at Lion Head right now. Especially after the disappointment that was fable 3.

erix43
erix43

Wow, bring back Killer Instinct on the Kinnect you big stupid heads! What the hell Rare? Your name is deserved, you are rare. Rare in the fact that your games are HORRIBLE since KI. Milk your best IP I say, I'd buy that for a dollar!!!

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Rare is irrelevant these days. "Rare is currently in a position of some considerable strength as Kinect Sports sales have far exceeded global expectations and the title is No. 1 on the Kinect platform," Funny how the better a company does, the more layoffs there are, how successful does a company have to be to not put people out of work?

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

I'm surprised Rare still exists. Kameo and Viva Pinata were fun enough, but everything else they've done since the buy-out has been worthless.

packtop
packtop

wow been a while i didn't hear anything about Rare remeber though during the Nintendo64 time when they was making so many good game golden eye,perfect dark,banjo kazooie,donkey kong. Good old time....

Thing1232
Thing1232

This isn't surprising. One of Rare's main fan bases shut down their website within the last 6 or so months. If you lose your fans you've got nothing. I guess they have casual gamers, but casual gamers aren't a good enough foundation.

hochstreck
hochstreck

It almost makes me want to destroy the universe, when i see what the once noble Rare has turned into. Back in the days with Nintendo they were at the top of the industrie. Every game they made at that time was just outstandig. They also often had great clever and lighthearted humor in them. Not to mention that their games were spread over SIX!! different genres back than. I also liked most of the Xbox and Xbox360 titles. Sadly, "typical Rare-Games" had a hard time to find an audience on these platforms.

Just-Adam
Just-Adam

Activision and Microsoft .... destroying developers one at a time ..

Bangerman15
Bangerman15

every time there is something Rare involved everyone brings up the older games they used to make.. yea they were awesome back then but still I'd rather they start focusing on stuff now because like seriously they dont really make any games for MS anymore.. and cmon a Kinect future? :( how about a banjoe kazooie and perfect dark game? and when i say banjo kazooie i mean a REAL one not with cars lol id really hate to see Rare fall into this kinect casual crap cuz then that will probably mean no more banjo or perfect dark... :(