A Rare Future
Greg Johnson / May 11th, 2015 No Comments
It’s no secret that Rare’s hay-day was during the Nintendo 64 era, but fans of the England-based company are wondering if a new golden age is just around the corner. Titles like Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie made Rare a juggernaut at the time, and follow-ups Kameo: Elements of Power and Viva Piñata had their merits. Even Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts had a level of charm, despite being an outright disappointment to many.
The debate of trying new things versus sticking to old formulas still continues with titles such as Nuts & Bolts, but Rare’s future has another horse to bring out to the track. E3 is just around the corner and the rumor mill has it that Rare will be unveiling a new project, something that could jump-start the fading company.
The Past is in the Past
Collectathons were Rare’s bread-and-butter on the Nintendo 64. The Donkey Kong series thrived off it, while Banjo-Kazooie used it in conjunction with character progression. Rare’s Donkey Kong 64 even held the Guinness World Record as the “video game featuring the most collectibles.”
When Rare was purchased by Microsoft, the company’s focus changed. Kameo: Elements of Power featured collectibles and character progression, but not as heavily as previous Rare titles. Kinect Sports and oddities like Viva Piñata became the new Rare model. Rare even retried its hand at shooters with the Perfect Dark series. With Rare shifting away from the games that made the developer famous, many of its fans moved on.
A Bright Collectible Future
E3 is fast approaching and the rumor mill is alight with Rare news. The speculation is that the company will have a new project to unveil, but whether that is true remains to be seen. A new IP would make sense for the company, and it would give developers a chance to create new innovative characters and dialogue. However, what most fans of the company are hoping is that the bear and bird duo of Banjo and Kazooie will make a comeback. The end of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts had the duo regain their powers from previous games, but players have since been unable to use them.
Playtonic Games, a new developer made up of former Rare employees, recently announced a Kickstarter campaign for a new project called Yooka-Laylee, and it has already exploded beyond expectations. The demand for new games in the classic Rare mold is obviously there. Rare would be brash to not capitalize on a well-loved IP that they already own.
However, the company is much more than Banjo and Kazooie. Rumors have suggested that a new entry to Battletoads or a sequel to Conker’s Bad Fur Day could be announced at E3 2015. An HD clean-up of an old classic like Battletoads would light the Internet up with excitement, but even a sequel to Kameo would be welcomed with open arms.
The Rarest Love
Rare gets a lot of leniency from the gaming community because of its past. Fans will easily let slide some faux pas due to nostalgia (Kinect Sports). Without a solid hit for a number of years, Rare is in serious need of a major breakthrough title. In the same way Nintendo has gotten out of slumps with tweaks to classic formulas, Rare too only needs to turn back to the past to realize a bright potential future.
Ultimately, the gaming community is a finicky lot, bouncing from one trend to the next. When Rare’s big announcement comes, gamers need to keep a few things in mind before jumping to the Internet. Regardless of what Rare unveils for the Xbox One, the company will likely have a lot of fans to back it, not just because of past successes, but because of the potential for a brilliant future.
tags: Banjo & Kazooie , Battletoads , e3 , microsoft , opinion , Rare , Yooka-Laylee