Why you can’t have those RARE games you want

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British developer RARE, now a Microsoft first-party studio, is responsible for some of the most beloved classics of yesteryear; Goldeneye 007, Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark and Killer Instinct, to name but a few. Nostlagic gamers have been longing for resurrections of RARE’s most cherished IP’s – but it hasn’t happened. Instead, RARE have been giving us good – but decidedly casual – fare with games like Kinect Sports and a virtual closet full of Avatar goodies.

Let ex RARE-staffer Chris Tilston explain how the games, if revived, would never be able to live up to the rose-tinted nostalgic aura gamers have built around them, and why you probably won’t be seeing Killer Instinct 3 any time soon.

“It’s just nostalgia from when you were a child and you went to an arcade. You’d just all gang up on us and hunt me down if we made one wasn’t what’s in your head,” Tilston said to Eurogamer of a new Killer Instinct.“It’s the same as GoldenEye and the first Perfect Dark. Games you played ten years ago, you had a great time playing them. It was probably at a certain time in your life when maybe you were a student or a group of friends came round your house.”

It’s not just that; with today’s technology games are astoundingly expensive to make – so creating nostalgic games that are faithful to their sources  – which probably won’t hold a candle to modern big-budget releases is a risky proposition.

“You can understand the anger of the fans, that they feel they’ve been deserted, but there are two sides to it,” he said. “It’s just because games are so expensive to make now and management guys’ careers are on the line if they back the wrong one, if they suddenly spent $30 million and got no return for it, that all these extra people have to get involved.”

“Things change. Back then a game cost $2 million to make. Nowadays a game costs $20, $30 million to make, and then they add probably the same amount in marketing. It’s a huge risk. Perfect Dark Zero, from a development cost, made four times its money back. The early games made a stupid amount of money back. Like GoldenEye and Donkey Kong, because they cost so little to make.”

So no…the RARE we knew is dead, and the RARE in its place is pretty much focused on Kinect games.So likely won’t be getting Killer Instinct 3 for Christmas – but the old RARE’s spirit lives on. Chris Tilston, along with 3 other members from RARE’s heyday have left the company to create an independent studio called Starfire Studios. Starfire has just announced its first game, an Xbox Live Arcade twin-stick shooter with MMO sensibilities called Fusion: Genesis.

Last Updated: October 14, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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