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Rare: Our future products will "surprise" people

Mark Betteridge hints at a new direction next year for the Banjo developer

Rare's studio manager, Mark Betteriedge, has told that some of the company's future products will "surprise a lot of people, both in terms of what they are and the different styles".

Talking in an interview, the first part of which will be published tomorrow, he explained that one of the studio's roles as a first party developer was to change the perception of the Xbox 360 from just being a "shooter box, or a hardcore box," and "change the conventional thinking of games and entertainment".

Answering a question on the future of Rare as part of Microsoft Game Studios, following the closure of Ensemble earlier this year, he explained his confidence: "In terms of the Xbox 360 or Xbox as a brand it's really now coming into what people would see as our forte in terms of product, in terms of where the price point would be.

"It's been somewhat of a struggle at times - we did Kameo and Viva Pinata, and people often ask me if VP was a success, and I point out that it sold a million units for a game in which you're gardening, hunting and attracting animals on a box that people would see - if you ask the general public, they'll see it as a shooter box, or a hardcore box.

"It's about changing that perception, and Microsoft is very committed to doing that, because that's a great market to have. The core market is finite, and it's probably reaching saturation point with a lot of those customers, so I'd see our future within Microsoft as very much about helping to expand that, as we've been doing in the past, but the advantage we've got now is price point I suppose - the recent cut in Europe has been dramatic in terms of sales.

"It's more about what we will do to change conventional thinking of games and entertainment. I don't see us fighting the same battles as everybody else, I think some of the products we'll do going forward will surprise a lot of people, both in terms of what they are and the different styles. I think that will be good."

And when asked whether the latest Banjo title would be the last of Rare's "conventional" titles, he explained more about the key aspects that the company would be focusing on in future.

"I see [Banjo] as fairly conventional, but it's a twist on an established genre," he said. "When we built that Banjo we didn't just want to build another high-def platform game in the same style as before, we wanted to do something new in terms of what the gameplay would be.

"That theme of doing something new with gameplay runs through everything we're doing going forward - whether that's how you play the game, how you interface with the game."

The first part of the interview with Mark Betteridge will be published tomorrow.

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