News Article

Molyneux: Nintendo Made Rare Too Secretive

Posted by Damien McFerran

Lionhead boss intends to give the UK developer an "identity"

Lionhead boss and newly appointed creative director of Microsoft Europe Peter Molyneux has been speaking exclusively to Gamesindustry.biz about his role in assisting Microsoft's internal development teams - with Rare being one of them.

Molyneux - who founded legendary UK software house Bullfrog (Populous, Magic Carpet) before starting up Lionhead (Black & White, Fable) and joining forces with Microsoft - had this to say about Nintendo's former cohort:

I was totally blown away from the amount of talent that there is at Rare, but it's just that they come from a background where Nintendo required them to be this very, very secretive company.

I just want to give them the confidence to tell the world what they're doing. I hope you're going to see more from Rare and I want to help them get well known.

During the time it was owned by Nintendo, Rare was indeed quite a withdrawn company. However, many believed this to be down to the Stamper brothers (both of whom have now left the firm) and their perceived distrust of the video game press, rather than Nintendo stopping the outside world from having any access to the studio that created such hits as GoldenEye 007 and Banjo Kazooie.

Perhaps Molyneux's comments show the true story? Whatever the truth may be, we're pretty sure that all Nintendo fans still have a soft spot for Rare, despite the fact that it's no longer in the Nintendo fold.

[via eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (40)

opeter

#1

opeter said:

I remember the nice futuristic Hi-Octane racing game from Bullfrog... mmm, these were great times.

I would also like to play a modern GoldenEye 007. It would be so good!

Terra

#2

Terra said:

I wonder what happened to The Stamper brothers. Haven't heard anything about them since they left Rare.

KeeperBvK

#3

KeeperBvK said:

Any talents still left at Rare? Who said such nonsense? Oh...Peter...I see...sigh go out and finally make another good game. THEN we can talk.

Sabrewing

#4

Sabrewing said:

Rare? Secretive? My ass. They couldn't keep their mouths shut about what they were making.

DamoAdmin

#5

Damo said:

KeeperBvK - You not played Fable 2 then, I take it? ;)

Sabrewing - During the early 90s Rare hardly ever gave interviews, and their old farmhouse HQ was like Fort Knox.

Wesbert

#6

Wesbert said:

Help them get well known? He's acting as though no one had ever heard of Rare before.
And what's so bad about being secretive? I'd rather have a company quietly working away at making great games than a company frequently chattering about their grand projects and then delivering half-baked games that might have been great if the hype had only been true (And yes, I'm including Fable 2 and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts in latter list after having played both).
We need companies which spend their budget on development, not marketing and PR. Wrong direction, Peter.

Chunky_Droid

#7

Chunky_Droid said:

I'm sorry.. what?

Rare were just about the most popular gaming company there was while they were under Nintendo. Everyone knew them and everything they made was gold.

@Damo: I was a long time reader of Uncle Tusk on the webpage and they frequently talked about what they were up to in that part of rareware.com. Mr. Pants' page didn't exactly reveal much though.

They've just plain sucked ever since "Grabbed by the Ghoulies", that's why they don't have an identity anymore.

Ironically the only games of theirs I've enjoyed since they joined Microsoft were their GBA and DS outings.

Hardy83

#8

Hardy83 said:

I guess after they left Nintendo, they did kind of fall off the radar with many people. Since Perfect Dark Zero and Banjo & Kazooie were meh games.

But if this guy is in charge, regardless whether or not Rare talked in the Nintendo days, I'm sure they won't shut up now. This guy will probably do most of the talking too.

maka

#9

maka said:

Not all fans... I still think Rare is one of the most overrated gaming companies... Their games using nintendo characters were pretty bad gameplay-wise (especially Donkey Kong 64 and Star Fox Adventure) even if the graphics were pretty amazing... I don't really miss them much...

DamoAdmin

#11

Damo said:

Chunky Droid - I'm talking WAAAAAY before the Mr Pants days...we're talking early 90s here, Donkey Kong Country era. Back then Rare didn't go shouting about what projects its was working on.

DrakeStaff

#12

Drake said:

Banjo-Kazooie was the last Rare game I really liked. Tooie and DK64 were both trainwrecks, I always preferred GoldenEye to Perfect Dark (Don't kill me!) and everything since then has been pretty mediocre.

Rum_Rapture

#13

Rum_Rapture said:

I don't think there's any harm in a company being secretive. It means that they make a bigger impact when they unveil games and stuff, you know? Like, say, Other M. Companies would do well to learn from that. The Last Guardian could have been a much bigger deal had it not already been leaked. Secrecy is no bad thing!!

aaronsullivan

#17

aaronsullivan said:

Banjo-Kazooie was an excellent game. Perfect Dark, with its low framerate , was a major disappointment to me. It had NONE of the magic of Goldeneye... at least in the beginning parts I played. I understand that many people enjoyed the multiplayer in Perfect Dark, though (I was doing multiplayer on PCs so...)

Banjo-Tooie, DK 64... those are what destroyed Rare. Drawn out, soulless bore-machines created by marketing and the need for bigger, longer games. My wife and I actually completed DK 64. It's very possible we were the only ones who did, save a few poor reviewers who had to. (The last boss fight was kind of fun.)

Rum_Rapture

#18

Rum_Rapture said:

It's funny that Rare had more of an identity when they were with Nintendo. What Molyneux says up there sounds like a criticism of Nintendo (as if they smothered Rare or something) when really Rare've lost favour with gamers since they joined Microsoft. That's not to say that games like Viva Pinata aren't good, but people associate the company with games like Banjo Kazooie and Goldeneye, which would imply that they were in their heyday - when they were well known - in the Ninty days, not the Microsoft ones. I don't see how he can blame Nintendo for Rare not being well known enough now. Nintendo don't really have anything to do with them apart from the odd DS title.

Knux

#19

Knux said:

Rare is very secretive,and they betrayed Nintendo! They MUST be punished! :P
EDIT:Perhaps Nintendo made Rare secretive? I know this,Nintendo selling Rare was Nintendo's BIGGEST mistake of all time.

rustythekid

#20

rustythekid said:

I remember the video tape they sent when the first Donkey Kong Country came out (I still got it somewhere), remember what happened at the end of it? they were never secretive.... that's pure bs.

Gavin_Rozee

#21

Gavin_Rozee said:

Pre-Gamecube/Xbox, Rare were legendary. Now, they're nothing special. They've obviously lost their best employees.

Machu

#23

Machu said:

Nintendo made Rare successful you mean. Protecting them from the outside world, nestled in the forest, the almighty Stamper bros. and crew kept the N64 afloat with some of the best games on the system.

I get all misty eyed when I think about Blast Corps, JFG, Banjo, GE & PD, Conker, DK64, and DKR, awesome gameage!

I miss them!

Kokstra

#24

Kokstra said:

Well, they're not working under Nintendo anymore and we still don't know what they're working on, except for some vague statement at E3 about Natal projects. Besides, they haven't made any worthwhile stuff in years so who cares about Rare anymore.

motang

#25

motang said:

I wonder what happened to The Stamper brothers. Haven't heard anything about them since they left Rare.

I am wondering the same thing.

mjc0961

#26

mjc0961 said:

"Perhaps Molyneux's comments show the true story?"

Doubt it. The guy is a habitual liar.

SmaMan

#27

SmaMan said:

Ok Molyneux, then you about you start by telling us what Rare is up to right now?

...
I'm waiting...

Bah never mind! I still remember hearing on Grabbed by the Ghoulies commercials that it was by the same people who made Donkey Kong Country... they never said Rare... just the same people who make DKC... yeah, way to promote their name Microsoft. Rare is a great tool that Microsoft isn't using as well at Nintendo did.

I wonder where Rare would personally like to work?

Hawker

#28

Hawker said:

Back in the N64 days Rare just copied other games. DK64 was a rip off of Banjo Kazooie which was a rip off of Mario 64, Star Fox Adventures was a rip off of Zelda, Goldeneye was a great game but when Perfect Dark came out, I really didn't care for it at all. Honestly the only Rare games I really liked where Wizards & Warriors & Battletoads.

To me they are a very overrated company.

Machu

#29

Machu said:

Star Fox Adventures on the 64, I musta missed that.

And btw, EVERY 3D platformer since Mario 64, was a copy of Mario 64, durgh.

Varoennauraa

#30

Varoennauraa said:

Good fortune has made old Nintendo to come back, and I love it! Theres Nintendo difference even in game announcements. Nintendo likes to announce games that are merely 12 months away from being released. I like to be surprised in a game!

Chunky_Droid

#31

Chunky_Droid said:

@Damo: Fair enough, I only had access to Nintendo Magazines back in the early 90s and only got the internet on just before the N64 era :P I'm talking like a week before it's launch lol.

And talking about Peter Molyneaux, they've got this great show in Australia called Good Game, they did an interview with him with a BS meter and it went off the scale when he was talking about Natal :P

ToneDeath

#32

ToneDeath said:

It'd be cool if all the talent that left Rare (Stamper bros, Martin Hollis, David Doak etc) got together and formed a new company. They could call it something like, oh I don't know...Ultimate Play The Game?

...Oh dear, seems Microsoft owns that too. :(

Retroman

#33

Retroman said:

i guess the talent there is "rare" these days (pun, sorry)
anyway, if the only thing they can come up with is "Banjo-Nuts&Bolts" and some "Mii Knockoff's", then i think i wont be holding me breath for they're next game :P

damascus

#34

damascus said:

but rare was bought last gen!

if any, during the xbox they were still secretive! not during the 360 generation.

Stevie

#35

Stevie said:

Molyneux should have learnt his lesson about spouting his mouth off after the original Fable. Not saying it was a bad game but it didn't have 1/2 of what was promised such as trees that grow as your character ages etc.

Kim_Jong-Il

#36

Kim_Jong-Il said:

@ Damo #5
How DARE you compare that to Dungeon Keeper!
My friend would call you an interesting combination of genitals, swear words and vers for saying that. :D

JimLad

#37

JimLad said:

@Machu
Star Fox Adventures was originally called Dinosaur Planet and was scheduled for a late N64 release with no connection to the Star Fox franchise.

Rare not having an identity? Who's he kidding? They've had far less identity ever since they switched sides. Ever since Perfect Dark Zero changed the formula & got washed into the background by the long train of FPS games following 360s release. Ever since Banjo turned square and started taking the car to work. They've pretty much killed off their two biggest names and now have to build their reputation back up on a platform where the majority of the fanbase don't know who they are.

They still have talent even if they're not the same Rare, but they would be doing so much better if they were still with Nintendo. We know it, and you just know that secretly, they know it too.

Also: They were not overrated in the slightest, they worked their asses off and churned out AAA titles pretty much non-stop until they left.
And Perfect Dark IS better than Goldeneye, aside from a few frame rate slowdowns it is clearly bigger and better in every conceivable way. I still love Goldeneye too though.

PSL977

#39

PSL977 said:

@#2 and #25
The Stamper Bros left Rare in 2007 and haven't been heard of since.
However a handful of designers who worked on Goldeneye and Perfect Dark went on to form Free Radical Design, which made the Timesplitters games.
FRD is now called Crytek, which made Haze & Second Sight for the PS2

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