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- "We've been making golden memories and redefining gaming genres since 1985, and that's not about to change. Everything we do is true to our goals of pursuing new experiences and putting players first. Still ahead of the game after three decades of evolution, there's no other studio in the world quite like Rare."
Rare Ltd., often known as Rare and formerly by their trade name Rareware, is a British video game development company. They have developed many video games, many of which were on Nintendo consoles. Since 2002, the entire company is owned by Microsoft and has since had their games on Xbox console. Rare has two studios: one in Twycross, in Leicestershire, England and one in Digbeth, in Birmingham, England. It was founded in 1985, as the successor company to Ultimate Play the Game.
Rare evolved from Ultimate Play the Game, a company which mainly designed games for the ZX Spectrum, such as Jetpac and Sabre Wulf, and would become the biggest UK-based video game development companies. The ZX Spectrum was only popular in the UK, and at the time had a large problem with piracy of home computer software. Believing they hit a dead end, the Stamper brothers sought another console to create games on.
In 1984, Tim and Chris Stamper got their first look at a Japanese home console, the Famicom. Because the Famicom was more advanced than the ZX Spectrum, the Stamper brothers saw potential in the console. In 1985, the brothers formed a subdivision of Ultimate Play the Game, called Rare, which was dedicated reverse-engineering the Famicom. With successful results and with the help of Joel Hochberg, the Stamper brothers were arranged to meet Nintendo executive Minoru Arakawa in Kyoto, Japan. During the meeting, the Stamper brothers presented a few software demos to Nintendo. At the time, Nintendo had a quality-control measure that restricted its third-party developers to the number of games that they could produce for the Famicom, or the Nintendo Entertainment System, in a given year. Nintendo was impressed with Rare's results and granted them a license to release as many games as they wanted. To help fund Rare, the Stamper brothers sold off Ultimate Play the Game to U.S. Gold.
Rare would become one of the first companies outside of Japan to develop games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. This led to games such as Wizards & Warriors, Battle Toads, and R.C. Pro-Am. A long and lucrative partnership was started between Rare and Nintendo, which would fully take root in 1994 with the release of Donkey Kong Country.
In 2002, Microsoft bought Rareware. Since then, Rareware has made console games strictly for Microsoft, but also made handheld games for Nintendo, by publishing them through THQ. During the summer of 2010, Rareware opened a new studio in Digbeth, in Birmingham, England.
While working for Microsoft, Rare has also helped create the Xbox Live Avatars. They have stated that they are focusing more on Microsoft's new controller-free peripheral, Kinect. Rare's first game to be released for Kinect was Kinect Sports.
- Jetpac (1983)
- Sabre Wulf series (1984)
- Battletoads (1991)
- Donkey Kong Country (1994)
- Killer Instinct (1994)
- Goldeneye 007 (1997)
- Diddy Kong Racing (1997)
- Banjo-Kazooie (1998)
- Donkey Kong 64 (1999)
- Perfect Dark (2000)
- Conker's Bad Fur Day (2001)
- Star Fox Adventures (2002)
- Kameo: Elements of Power (2005)
- Viva Piñata (2006)
- Tim and Chris Stamper: The original founders of the company. They left in January 2007 to pursue "other opportunities".
- Grant Kirkhope: Composer for most of Rare's Nintendo 64 games, and also the composer of Rare's most recent games. Possibly most famous for the music of Banjo-Kazooie. He left Rare in July 2008, to work with THQ's studio, Big Huge Games, as audio director.
- Robin Beanland: Composer for many of Rare's games. He was also the composer for Conker's Bad Fur Day (and its remake, Conker: Live & Reloaded) and co-wrote the script with Chris Seavor.
- Chris Seavor: Originally working as a graphic designer for Rare, he eventually designed Conker's Bad Fur Day. He co-wrote the script with Robin Beanland, and voiced many of the characters, including Conker. He also voiced Slippy Toad and Peppy Hare in Star Fox Adventures.
- Martin Hollis: Left in 1998 and began working with Nintendo on the GameCube. He eventually formed the company Zoonami.
- David Doak: Left after Hollis and helped form Free Radical Design, the company behind the Timesplitters franchise.
- Kevin Bayliss: Co-character design and animation, motion capture.
- David Wise: Composer for Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, and Diddy Kong Racing just to name a few.
- Eveline Fischer: One of the few female staff members at Rare. She composed the music for Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble and voiced Joanna Dark in Perfect Dark.
- Chris Sutherland: One of the programmers, voices of Banjo and Kazooie.
- Gregg Mayles: Designer of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie.
- Mark Betteridge: Main programmer on many of Rare's games, including Battletoads. He was also the Studio Director from 2007-2010. He left the company that same year.
- Rare's website
- Rare's Twitter page
- Rare's Facebook page
- Rare's Instagram page
- Rare's YouTube channel
- "Rare Ltd. - Creators of Rare Replay and Sea of Thieves". Rare Ltd. - Creators of Rare Replay and Sea of Thieves. Retrieved 17 July, 2015.
- "Behind The Scenes At Rare: Killer Instinct Gold Interview". RareGamer
- Maher, Jimmy. 14 January, 2014. "The Legend of Ultimate Play the Game". The Digital Antiquarian.
- McLaughlin, Rus. 28 July, 2008. "IGN Presents the History of Rare". IGN. Retrieved 17 July, 2015.