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Microsoft confirms redundancies at Rare

Twycross team downsized as roles open up at Birmingham facility

Kinect Sports team Rare is currently in the process of down-sizing once again, with a number of redundancies likely in the studios art department.

According to a report by Edge Online, 42 jobs are being cut at the Twycross headquarters with those affected invited to apply to 23 roles a the new Birmingham facility. 19 is the maximum number of redundancies allowed under EU law without the need for consultation.

"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," said a spokesperson for the company.

"While redundancies are never easy, these organisational 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 spokesperson would not clarify numbers, but denied as many as 19 jobs were at risk.

"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," said the company.

The Edge report suggests that Rare will primarily be staffed by contracted creatives, led by the newly created management roles, and that any future Kinect Sports games could be co-developed with Kinect Joy Ride team Big Park.

Rare told said last year that it was moving towards movie production development, with teams scaling up and down depending on projects.

"Teams have become somewhat unwieldy in the development process - very inflexible, very expensive," studio director Mark Betteridge told at the time.

"Over the last six or seven years it's really started to get out of hand, and companies and teams that were having great success before are realising the same thing."

"Avatars was the perfect example of a small project that we were able to put forward to Microsoft, which was then green-lit and went into full production... we developed that project with just the core people here as employed by Rare, probably four or five people was all it was," he explained.

"But there was sometimes in excess of 30 people, sometimes contractors, working on that project. That's a simple example, but it shows how we're able to think - creatively the idea is the diamond, and to bring that to fruition you need a lot more people in flexible and specialised roles than you're used to."

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.