Job losses at Rare confirmed by Microsoft

MS decides to "change our development process and methodology at Rare"

By Dan Pearson.Published Monday 19th May 2014, 2:52pm GMT

Microsoft has confirmed that UK developer Rare will suffer job losses, a downsizing which reportedly includes some senior staff.

Although it has yet to reveal exactly how many jobs have been axed at the studio, the publisher has issued a statement to press explaining that the redundancies are part of a larger strategy of reorganisation.

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"At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences," the statement reads. "As part of Rare's commitment to this goal, we have made a decision to change our development process and methodology at Rare to best support our future projects, this has led to us reviewing the skills and the makeup of our development teams in our business. Rare continues to invest in our people and future projects."

CVG has reported that both Gavin Price and Chris Sutherland, who have 35 years experience at the studio between them, are both victims of the downsizing. Both were part of the team which worked on Rare's latest game: Kinect Sports Rivals.

Whilst the underperformance of that game has not officially been tied to these job losses, it seems likely that Microsoft's subsequent decision to market a Kinect-less Xbox One package represents bad news for Rare.

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However, this is not a new process for Microsoft. After the release of the original Kinect Sports in 2011, Rare's art department was significantly downsized, with full-time workers being replaced by contractors. At the time, Microsoft issued a not-dissimilar statement.

"I can confirm that a small number of employees in the art department of Rare Studios have been informed that their roles are at risk of redundancy," it read. "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."

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