Thursday, July 4, 2013

Former RARE Developers Return To Nintendo Consoles

Rare will always have an amazing legacy as a Nintendo developer but the Microsoft owned Rare of today is in no longer the company who made all of those classic games we love and cherish. The fact of the matter is that shortly after Microsoft took ownership of the company, there was a mass exodus of key staff members (who wouldn't have left under Nintendo) which left the company a shell of its former self. It has since been filled out with new blood who produce Xbox Live Avatars and Kinect Sports titles but the idea that they could somehow reproduce the magic of old is simply not possible. For the record, the recently revealed Killer Instinct (Xbone) is NOT being developed by Rare (it is being developed by Double Helix Games, a company with a rather spotty track record).

Fortunately, the independent gaming boom has actually been key in bringing a lot of that classic Rare talent back to Nintendo consoles where they can thrive once again. The combination of Nintendo's extremely open policy for their eShop and many older developers (such as former Rare designers) distaste for the modern game development culture has made it possible for a rebirth of the glory days of Rare complete with fresh new IP's. There is little doubt that these ambitious projects will help create a type of "gold rush" for Nintendo's eShop as third party's continue bail on Nintendo leaving a void ripe for indie developers to fill. Here is a sneak peak at some upcoming Wii U/3DS titles coming in 2013/2014 that have former Rare staff working on them.
  • Tengami (Wii U eShop) - Developed by UK based Nyamyam (composed of many ex-Rare talent), Tengami is a beautiful adventure title that uses a storybook aesthetic to tell its story. The game is being design with touch devices in mind which made it an ideal fit for the Wii U.
  • The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup (Wii U/3DS eShop) - Developed by Gory Detail which was formed by Chris Seavor, designer/voice of Conker's Bad Fur Day. Gory Detail has just wrapped up work on Parashoot Stan for the iOS which comes recommended for owners of Apple devices capable of playing it. Few details have been revealed for Rusty Pup outside of it being a "2D platformer with depth" but the promise of something other than another generic FPS (and from the designer of Conker) is enough to get any game fan excited.
  • A Hat in Time (Planned for Wii U eShop) - While not Rare developed, this stunningly beautiful title is Rare inspired. The game is a throwback/tribute to the N64 glory days of games such as Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. A Hat in Time recently closed out a highly successful Kickstarter run that will infuse some classic Rare DNA into its final product. Former Rare composer Grant Kirkhope (Banjo series, Perfect Dark, etc.) is composing multiple tunes for the games soundtrack which is sure to delight Rare fans. While not yet confirmed for the Wii U, Nintendo has taken notice of the project and is helping the developers in bringing it to the console.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - With the big ape making his HD debut this fall, Nintendo has managed to bring back series composer David Wise to create the new soundtrack. David Wise has deep roots with Rare having composed soundtracks for over 60 games produced by the company from the NES all the way up to the XB360. Fans will be playing the new Donkey Kong Country this November.
  • Banjo Tooie Spiritual Successor (Current status: On Hold) - A handful of ex-Rare developers have banded together in hopes of creating a proper follow-up to Banjo Kazooie (or spiritual successor as Microsoft owns the Banjo franchise). Artist Steven Hurst and composer Grant Kirkhope are spearheading the project in hope of erasing the horrible taste left by Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Unfortunately, the project is currently on hold due to prior commitments of the team.

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