Maybe if Rare made a Banjo Kazooie game, it wouldn’t have suffered lay-offs

Monday, 19 May 2014 23:35 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Rare has had to let a number of staff go, something we can’t help but speculate might not have happened if it made a game we actually wanted to play.


Microsoft has confirmed the Kinect Sports Rivals developer has experienced a round of lay-offs.

“At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences. As part of Rare’s commitment to this goal, we have made a decision to change our development process and methodology at Rare to best support our future projects, this has led to us reviewing the skills and the makeup of our development teams in our business,” the company said in a statement.

“Rare continues to invest in our people and future projects.”

According to Eurogamer‘s sources, about 16 staff were let go, including project managers, software and design staff.

Lay-offs happen for all kinds of reasons, and regular, cyclical lay-offs are an unfortunate reality of the triple-A games industry these days, so we probably shouldn’t read too much into it. That said, 16 is more than 10% of Kinect Sports Rivals’ 150 strong development team, and it’s hard not to link the job cuts to the mini-game collection’s under-performance; it barely made a dent in the charts.

Over the last few years Rare has become something of a champion for Microsoft’s Kinect, and a brief wander through the comments section of any article on the topic will show you how much core gamers resent it.

According to Phil Spencer, Microsoft has never forced Rare to work on Kinect games – the studio seems genuinely excited about the device, and perhaps with good reason.

But that doesn’t stop the conspiracy theories – after all, if you could make a game like Banjo Kazooie or Perfect Dark, which gamers are genuinely crying out for, why wouldn’t you?