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Job losses at Rare confirmed by Microsoft

Job losses at Rare confirmed by Microsoft

Mon 19 May 2014 2:52pm GMT / 10:52am EDT / 7:52am PDT
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MS decides to "change our development process and methodology at Rare"

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.

"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.

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."

13 Comments

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
Popular Comment
MS decides to "change our development process and methodology at Rare"
Wasn't that the problem in the first place. Back when Nintendo let them pretty much do what they pleased they churned out classic after classic.

Posted:5 months ago

#1

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Popular Comment
The worst thing that happened to Rare was Microsoft. The studio was known for its great IP and games. They have sunken so low under microsofts control, that its virtually another company with the same name.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 19th May 2014 8:05pm

Posted:5 months ago

#2

Jamie Read Junior 3D Artist, Neon Play Ltd

127 64 0.5
@Rick.
Agreed. The company seems to be a shell of it's former self, all the employees who worked on their classic games have pretty much all left. It's not been the same since Microsoft acquired it, just a name now.

Posted:5 months ago

#3

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
So... no Battletoads reboot then? Crap. Anyway, sorry to hear about this news, but I'm betting that talent all finds new homes soon...

Posted:5 months ago

#4

Paul Jace Merchandiser

939 1,420 1.5
I still don't know why Microsoft didn't do this: release XBLA versions of the earlier Battletoads and Killer Instinct games to wet fans appetities and then release newer versions later that year or the year after. And they probably could have still had enough staff to work on the latest Kinect Sports title. But seriously, they really need to start taking advantage of Rare's catalog of games. Have they not seen how much money Nintendo makes releasing the same back catalog games over and over again?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 20th May 2014 1:10am

Posted:5 months ago

#5

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
Sometimes, a classic is just a game which was released at a time when you were too young to know any better. Which isn't meant to badmouth rare games, but rather point out that while they were at Nintendo, Rare were making games for an audience whose perception was still formed. Arguably a minority audience on the 360, which obviously leads to questionable sales, which then leads to everything else, regardless of whether any given Rare game was good or in the spirit of their predecessors.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 20th May 2014 8:11am

Posted:5 months ago

#6

Justin Biddle Software Developer

159 484 3.0
Sometimes, a classic is just a game which was released at a time when you were too young to know any better. Which isn't meant to badmouth rare games, but rather point out that while they were at Nintendo, Rare were making games for an audience whose perception was still formed. Arguably a minority audience on the 360, which obviously leads to questionable sales, which then leads to everything else, regardless of whether any given Rare game was good or in the spirit of their predecessors.
Unfortunately they've tried moving on from these games that were supposedly of those times and that hasn't really helped them sadly.

Posted:5 months ago

#7

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
but where is the use in summing up the years like that?

The day Nintendo sold them to MS
1. Combining years of service is commonly used to express the volume of combined experience a group or company has to offer. If plumbing contractors A have 100 years of experience from 5 guys while plumbing contractor B has 100 years of experience from 20 guys, which company sounds the most experienced?

2. Nintendo never sold Rare to MS. Nintendo simply sold back their 49% stake in Rare to Rare who in turn sold 100% to MS. It just felt like Nintendo did because of how fast those transactions happened and were reported almost simultaneously.

Posted:5 months ago

#8

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

276 127 0.5
Rare and molyneux, both hold a lot of historical value with gamers and journalists but nothing truly revolutionary has been made by either for years. We should all just move on from the past and live in the present.

Posted:5 months ago

#9

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
Forget about putting people on the moon, or inventing computers. In 10.000 years, people will still ridicule this age of mankind for playing Curiosity.

Posted:5 months ago

#10
@Klaus - Has Curiosity not already been forgotten :-)

I also think Nintendo had a bit more to do with Rare than simply letting them get on to make their own games.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 20th May 2014 8:18pm

Posted:5 months ago

#11

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,584 1,438 0.9
I also think Nintendo had a bit more to do with Rare than simply letting them get on to make their own games.
I do too... Reading an interview with Miyamoto linked to in the DKC WIki, it appears he worked closely with Rare on it. I'd be surprised if Nintendo dev staff didn't have a hand in Rare's other Nintendo works. Perhaps this is why the MS Rare games are so different to the Nintendo Rare games? The Nintendo ones have that "certain something".

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 20th May 2014 10:37pm

Posted:5 months ago

#12

Shane Sweeney Academic

396 407 1.0
I think it is pretty clear that Nintendo were pretty key at getting Rare to where they were. Rare were the first non Japanese company to be given a NES devkit by solving split screen action as shown in Slalom.

Ever since Nintendo has treated them pretty well. Leaving was just crazy.

Could you imagine how good Viva Pinata could of been if it got that magic Nintendo polish? Like the fact the game shipped with Comic Sans font as the default text font makes me think no one even seriously reviewed it.

Posted:5 months ago

#13

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