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Ex-Rare developer details shelving of Killer Instinct 3, Savannah, other projects

Wednesday, 22nd August 2012 18:21 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Ex-Rare employees have dished upon prototypes and development plans in the works at the firm, which were all shelved by Microsoft as it transformed the studio into the Kinect Sports developer it’s known as today.

Speaking with NotEnoughShaders, ex-Rare developer Donnchadh Murphy (also known as Don Murphy), first discussed a game called Savannah which would task players with raising a lion cub, teaching it survival and social skills like a good mother lioness.

The idea for the title came from artist Phil Dunne, who previously worked on Donkey Kong Country 3 and Killer Instinct 2, but it was scrapped when the firm was purchased by Microsoft.

“We knew of the Kinect coming out but we had no real info on how good it was, but the plan was to try and use that technology in Savannah,” Murphy explained. “We really tried to push the technology of the Xbox 360 to get the most out of the graphics.

“The lions and hyenas were using a custom shell system for the fur, and with the help of a great programmer called Cliff Ramshaw, I think we got some of the nicest looking in-game fur I’ve seen.”

Murphy also discussed other cancelled projects such as a Kameo sequel which promised to have a more realistic look, and there were other ideas in the works from Conker’s Bad Fur Day creator, Chris Seavor.

“At first it seemed that [Microsoft] wouldn’t interfere much, but it was soon clear that they were more interested in using Rare to help aim at a younger market,” said Murphy. “This stifled a lot of creativity, Rare was renowned for their diverse portfolio, so to not be involved in making mature games was a real blow.

“There [were] numerous projects that were put forward that I believe would have been huge hits, but Microsoft rejected them one after the other. I remember seeing a couple of prototypes that Chris Seavor had designed and was working on that looked amazing, but alas they got shelved.”

Another title the team wanted to develop was Killer Instinct 3, but like the others, it wasn’t given the green light.

“We all wanted to make Killer Instinct 3, but Microsoft [was] more interested in broadening their demographic than making another fighting game,” Murphy said. “So it never got made, I doubt it ever will.”

You can read the full feature through the link, which makes us sad that Conkers Other Bad Fur Day – which also had a full storyline ready – may never see the light of day.

Thanks, Eurogamer.

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4 Comments

  1. Gheritt White

    He’s well buff is Donnchadh.

    It’s also interesting he didn’t mention Chris Seavor’s cancelled projects by name… I wonder if they might one day see the light of day under different titles/teams?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. absolutezero

    I doubt it, most of them would have been entirely tied into Rare and MS as soon as he put them forward as possible projects.

    We all knew this more or less but its pretty Damn crushing to see what Rare became because of the meddling. Not that Rare was at its best when they left Nintendo anyway.

    At we will always have It’s Mr Pants.

    Rare is more or less dead right now. Its the avatar factory of death.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. 2EX08

    “At first it seemed that [Microsoft] wouldn’t interfere much, but it was soon clear that they were more interested in using Rare to help aim at a younger market,”

    Using rare to aim at a younger market? Are you kidding me!? Before Microsoft bought Rare from Nintendo, Rare was specialising in the hardcore/older market! Thats what made me hate Microsoft in the first place!

    (Then again, knowing Nintendo, they probably would have told Rare the same thing around this time.)

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Telepathic.Geometry

    It’s kinda weird if you ask me, Killer Instinct 3 and Conkers as exclusives for your system seems like a no-brainer, This sounds like a corporate decision made by execs who never touched off of a game…

    #4 2 years ago

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