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Rare buy out resulted in “culture clash”, says former staffer

Monday, 1st July 2013 06:40 GMT By Brenna Hillier

One-time Rare employee Phil Tossell has said Microsoft’s acquisition of the Banjo Kazooie developer resulted in the team losing its “spark”.

“I think most of the people who worked at Rare at the time were Nintendo fans and we loved working closely with Nintendo. Rare was also a close knit family and so it was something of a shock to suddenly become part of such a huge organisation as Microsoft,” Tossell told Nintendo Enthusiast.

“There was a severe culture clash which perhaps didn’t become apparent at first as Microsoft mostly allowed us to continue as we had always done. However as time passed and there were staff changes at MGS, together with Tim and Chris (Stamper) leaving, the culture changed and it began to feel more Microsoft and less Rare.

“While Rare continues to put out high quality games, for me it lost some of the spark that had made the company special.”

Tossell said the company is going through “something of a rebirth” now as “most of the old staff have left”, but did say he’s excited to see what it does next.

This isn’t the first time Tossell has commented on Rare’s relationship with Microsoft; early last year he said he still believed the studio had plenty of talent despite a series of high-profile departures.

The Rare veteran now heads up Nyamyam, which is working on a game called Tengami for iPad and Wii U.

Rare had a very strong relationship with Nintendo and was partially owned by the Japanese company before acquisition by Microsoft. In the last few years it has produced only Kinect Sports titles, which has disappointed many fans.

Thanks, Destructoid.

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9 Comments

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  1. melonbuster1

    Rare was a product of Nintendo. . I see now Nintendo was the real force behind them. Not rare. Microsoft has to buy Nintendo. . In order to get the best out of them

    #1 10 months ago
  2. Kanok

    I honestly, Rare has killed by Don Mattrick because he’s changed Rare direction to made a shitty kinect game.

    #2 10 months ago
  3. Francis O

    Rare, what a sad state they are in. They’re so garbage right now, they got their own franchise ripped from them (Killer Instinct) and handed to a worse development team than they are! (Double Helix)

    LOL…..R.I.P Rare

    #3 10 months ago
  4. ps3fanboy

    rare was an awesome developer that made awesome games and does not anymore.. because of micro$hafts the draconian drm barbarian..

    #4 10 months ago
  5. Kanok

    @4 Hey bro, they has dropped DRM policy around 10 days ago. Where have you been? Are you drunk?

    #5 10 months ago
  6. machy

    MS isnt nintendo .. we all kinda expect this

    #6 10 months ago
  7. foofly

    I’ve been lucky enough to speak one on one with quite a few Rare (and ex Rare) staff over the years since Microsoft bought them. A few of them were upset at the loss of the autonomy within the studio, despite a desire to with Microsoft. Since a fair amount of the key members have gone on to start new studios, I’m keen to see what they’ve been creating without the Microsoft cloud overhead.

    #7 10 months ago
  8. absolutezero

    To be fair Rare were already making terrible games while still with Nintendo, see Star Fox Adventures.

    That same studio went onto make one of the best games the studio has ever created with the original Viva Pinata.

    Sure Rare are more or less dead now but I don’t think lumping the blame entirely on MS is fair.

    #8 10 months ago
  9. BrahManDude

    Microsoft uses the RARE name just to get people excited

    #9 10 months ago