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On this day 20 years ago, Microsoft purchased Rare

daTRUballin

Member
On September 24th, 2002, exactly 20 years ago, Microsoft officially announced its purchase of second party Nintendo developer Rare for $375 million. Although that amount may seem small these days after the Bethesda and Activision deals, this was a huge purchase at the time that still gets talked about and referenced to this day and has affected many gamers since then.

Seeing as nobody on GAF has acknowledged this anniversary for some reason, I thought this forum should have its own thread about this. 20 years is a big deal. Let's take a look at the games Rare has released for MS since the purchase......

Xbox



Grabbed by the Ghoulies (October 2003)



Conker: Live & Reloaded (June 2005)

Xbox 360



Kameo: Elements of Power (November 2005)



Perfect Dark Zero (November 2005)



Viva Piñata (November 2006)


Jetpac Refuelled (March 2007)



Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise (September 2008)



Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (November 2008)



Kinect Sports (November 2010)



Kinect Sports: Season 2 (co-developed with BigPark Studios) (October 2011)

Xbox One



Kinect Sports Rivals (April 2014)



Sea of Thieves (March 2018)

Those are all the released games so far. The only upcoming game we know from them is Everwild which was announced in 2019 and we have only seen two trailers so far. After that, the game went into some kind of development hell and we haven't heard about it since.

What are your thoughts about Rare's trajectory over these last 20 years? Was it what you expected? What were your reactions to the buyout if you were old enough to be following the industry at the time? Any particular memories?

I also made the thread for the 15th anniversary of the buyout 5 years ago. Here's a little blast from the past: https://www.neogaf.com/threads/it-has-now-been-15-years-since-microsoft-purchased-rare.1437438/

The outlook was a bit more grim over Rare 5 years ago due to the fact that Sea of Thieves wasn't out yet and nobody knew how well it would or wouldn't do. And now SoT is a bona fide success. Funny how things can change so drastically over a 5 year period.

Whatever your feelings are about how the buyout turned out, let's discuss!
 

SmokedMeat

Gamer™
The Rare of the SNES and N64 generations were top tier developers that could do no wrong.

Rare under Microsoft has been ok, but not nearly on the same level. I don’t know if it’s just a matter of the best people leaving or if it’s the lack of Nintendo’s input.
 

jakinov

Member
I miss snes/n64 era rare. They’ve been wasted at microsoft.

Nintendo greatest failure is letting them get bought
The problem isn’t Microsoft the problem is that game standards evolved and the heart of the company left because they got rich or just moved on like what normally happens in life. M/my of the ex rare people have said positive things and some even blamed rare on certain decisions. Microsoft should have paid to make sure key people didn’t quit to do other stuff. It’s bad for morale and you are losing a critical part of what makes the machine work.

It’s why part of the Bungie deal involved key people making their money over time. It’s why Respawn acquisition was structured in a similar way. You need to keep people motivated to keep working.
 

RobertsK

Member
I like some of their past games pre and post aquisition, but Sea of Thieves is a masterpiece. Can”t think of any other game that gave me so much joy, excitement and pure laughs. I’m not even sure if it is a super profitable game but props to whoever decided to keep on funding it.
 
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solidus12

Member
Imagine if Microsoft had bought Naughty Dog in 2001… would they be as successful as they are right now?
 
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Banjo64

cumsessed
That's only if you assume that Rare would've fallen to the same lows either way.

With Nintendo's guiding hand, I'd be surprised if that was the case.
The guiding hand was the Stamper brothers. Nintendo knew it, it’s probably why they weren’t interested in acquiring the other 50%. Pointless buying a small studio if everything is dependent on 2 individuals remaining.
 

Mr Hyde

Member
Why did Nintendo sell Rare? I've never understood that part. Was it bad blood between them? Rare made so many successful games with Nintendo, iconic some may say, so it's strange that Nintendo didn't wanna keep them and let them grow. Is it because Star Fox Adventures flopped? I love that game but I remember it got some middling reviews and it didn't perform so well. But one dud? Come on.
 
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Banjo64

cumsessed
Why did Nintendo sell Rare? I've never understood that part. Was it bad blood between them? Rare made so many successful games with Nintendo, iconic some may say, so it's strange that Nintendo didn't wanna keep them and let them grow. Is it because Star Fox Adventures flopped? I love that game but I remember it got some middling reviews and it didn't perform so well. But one dud? Come on.
They didn’t own Rare, they were a shareholder with 49%.
 
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TexMex

Member
Massively under utilized or maybe the creative talent that made them great just aren’t there anymore. But that 20 years of output is lame as hell. Piñata is pretty good. Nuts and Bolts isn’t horrible but not good enough to be at the expense of Banjo 3.

Can’t comment on Sea of Thieves.

It’s really 20 years of bad to decent output. Nothing memorable at all and nothing on par with the legendary status that studio used to have.
 

Mr Hyde

Member
They didn’t own Rare, they were a shareholder with 49%.

Is that so? I always thought they were a first party studio that Nintendo acquired after NES era. They rose to fame with DKC and then it just continued with banger after banger. It was like Nintendo injected the studio with some money and talent and voila, suddenly it was magic. I barely remember what they did before. Battletoads and Snake rattle n roll I think.
 

daTRUballin

Member
The guiding hand was the Stamper brothers. Nintendo knew it, it’s probably why they weren’t interested in acquiring the other 50%. Pointless buying a small studio if everything is dependent on 2 individuals remaining.
Granted, the Stampers still stayed at Rare for about 4 years after Microsoft bought them out. And I don't think anybody would really argue that their first 4 years with MS were really great.

Then again, they might've been mentally checked out at that point after becoming multi-millionaires, so it's hard to say.
Why did Nintendo sell Rare? I've never understood that part. Was it bad blood between them? Rare made so many successful games with Nintendo, iconic some may say, so it's strange that Nintendo didn't wanna keep them and let them grow. Is it because Star Fox Adventures flopped? I love that game but I remember it got some middling reviews and it didn't perform so well. But one dud? Come on.
A lot of people like to point at SFA for some reason, but SFA couldn't have had anything to do with their decision considering it came out literally the day before they were officially bought.
 

Mr Hyde

Member
A lot of people like to point at SFA for some reason, but SFA couldn't have had anything to do with their decision considering it came out literally the day before they were officially bought.

Yeah, there was a lot of animosity towards that game, at least around the release. Some even said it was a total disaster and ruined the franchise. Smh. It was a good game, fun but flawed. A sequel could've fixed so much and put it on the right track. I blame internet for the failure. It's why we can't have nice things. Not even a remaster. It's like Nintendo wants to forget it.
 
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6502

Member
Thats a low output, roughly about the same no. of games as they put out during the N64 era.

They were technical geniuses but even at the end of N64 they were going a bit off:

DK64 bug requiring expansion pak fix (if true) is dreadful.

Controls on JFG were clumsy and don't get me started on tribal collecting.

Banjo Tooie was a bit of a slideshow and felt a bit overwhelming with the collectables.

WTF was that Starfox story? Felt like a hissy fit making it so jarring.

Conker remake?? Censored why??

I bought an original xbox hoping to play the upcoming rare games. I was left dissapointed.
 
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After Playing Rare Replay, most of Rare older games aren't good. The only bad games that Rare Made under Microsoft was The Kinect Sports and the story mode of Perfect Dark Zero. The rest have been decent to Amazing. Anyone that says Viva Pinata was trash..
 
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Three

Member
Why did Nintendo sell Rare? I've never understood that part. Was it bad blood between them? Rare made so many successful games with Nintendo, iconic some may say, so it's strange that Nintendo didn't wanna keep them and let them grow. Is it because Star Fox Adventures flopped? I love that game but I remember it got some middling reviews and it didn't perform so well. But one dud? Come on.
I think jet force gemini didn't do so hot and Nintendo being Nintendo didn't like Conker's bad fur day.
 
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Ecotic

Member
Nintendo letting go of Rare was one of the dumbest decisions I've ever seen in gaming. The Rare IP alone was worth far more than the $150 million Nintendo got from the sale. Rare's output helped to beef up Nintendo's lineup, fill genres like first-person shooters that Nintendo didn't have, and Rare's Nintendo-esque titles like Banjo-Kazooie had an audience perfectly groomed to buy such games in multimillion-selling numbers. The sale was a betrayal to all the SNES and N64 fans who thought a Rare game was a Nintendo game. And to Rare itself, who worked hard to get the financial security of being a fully owned subsidiary, no one ever earned it more.

It was probably the angriest I've ever been in following the industry, being a mere teenager at the time without any comprehensive business education and knowing that the decision was flatly wrong, and wondering why Nintendo was selling the golden goose that was responsible for so much of their western success, and selling them to the new competitor Microsoft who was trying to displace Nintendo in the duopoly of console gaming and who was desperate for studios and IP to carry their new Xbox.
 

Northeastmonk

Gold Member

I played them all except most of their Kinect stuff. Classic Rare was on top of the industry. Kameo and PDZ weren’t exciting for me. I liked Live & Reloaded a lot. Maybe I expected the Goldeneye level of enjoyment where I wanted to play 100’s of hours of their games. They made me less interested with their direction of Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts. KI isn’t exactly their thing anymore, but it’s in good hands. I bet time and change did them in. I bought the Rare collection and a lot of their best stuff is in there.
 

poodaddy

Member
I think they've turned in objectively quality work with Microsoft, but I still prefer their pre Microsoft days. Donkey Kong Country 1 through 3, Battletoads, Goldeneye, and Banjo Kazooie gave me some of my favorite memories of my childhood. Their Microsoft work just doesn't speak to me the same way.
 
Rare would have been a waste on the Wii, so it's just as well, we got a few more years of Rare magic on cutting edge hardware as it should be.

But good grief, that steep drop off after Nuts and Bolts lmao:messenger_grinning_squinting:

I haven't even played it but I'm sure Sea of Thieves is a better use of their time, but it seems to me like the "real" Rare died after Nuts and Bolts.

Can I just say though that Perfect Dark Zero is really underrated? It's a little rough around the edges given it's launch game status but it's still really cool.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
Microsoft and rare need a pep talk or a James Bond to bring in the sales it boggles my mind that rare was so good for so long on Nintendo.
 
Imagine working on classics like Donkey Kong Country and Banjo Kazooie then being forced to make Kinect games by Microsoft so they could push a product that was doomed to fail from the start.
 
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