Where’s my games, Rare?


RarewareFirst a little back story. The glory years of the N64 were short, but sweet thanks to many titles by respected developer, Rare. Acquired by Nintendo in the early 90’s, Rare acted as one of Nintendo’s top second party developers which produced many high quality games for the N64 during 1997-2001. Known best for developing Ninty-like, polished titles which took full advantage of the current hardware to improve both gameplay and graphics.

You know the games…Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, Blast Corps, Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Diddy Kong Racing, Donkey Kong 64, Jet Force Gemini, and the famed GoldenEye 007. Rare’s line of excellent game developing was stopped abruptly during the end of 2001 when Microsoft began making offers for the dev. By 2002 Microsoft had bought Rare from Nintendo for $377 million and immediately put them to work on their new Xbox system. IPs were split: Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and Star Fox stayed with Nintendo, while Banjo, Conker and others went to Rare and Microsoft. Though Rare continued to develop new titles for the Xbox, Xbox360, and even the GBA and DS they never did quite get their stride back.

So what? Well as you might have heard, a few months ago Microsoft was to release GoldenEye 007 for XBLA when Nintendo (Satoru Iwata himself) stepped in and put a stop to the deal. Even though the “deal” allowed both companies to put Rare’s games on their own systems (VC, and XBLA), Nintendo didn’t think that N64 games should be made available on rival systems. Though Iwata’s reason is a good one and makes sense, why would Nintendo get caught up in a deal like this in the first place? What many don’t realize is that this “standoff” between Nintendo and Microsoft not only puts 007 on hold, but stops all of Rare’s classics that were in the pipeline.

This really is a bit of a downer (I looooved the Banjo series) that these two giant companies couldn’t just work out some kind of royalties deal with each other instead of getting all tied up in a “corporate money battle”. When asked in August 2007 if we could see Banjo or Conker on the VC, Rare responded

“As for VC, it’s ultimately Nintendo’s decision what gets released. Beyond the DKC games we don’t have anything in the pipeline at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in future.”

Sounds to me like Rare is all for adding their old content to both platforms, but ultimately it’s not up to them.

Just a little thought for today, but ultimately I’d like to make a clear, straight message to both companies…cut the crap and give me Banjo. So what do you think? Will Microsoft and Nintendo ever work it out, or have we seen Pierce Brosnan in 64 bit glory for the last time?