In September 2002, Microsoft purchased UK developer Rare for $375 million, effectively ending the firm's long-running association with Nintendo - a relationship which resulted in some of the best games ever created.
Fast forward a decade, and Rare is a very different beast. Many key staff members have left, and Microsoft has installed a new set of managers to replace them, including Scott Henson (Xbox), Craig Duncan (ex-Sumo Digital and Codemasters) and Simon Woodroffe (creator of Simon the Sorcerer).
However, in an interview with RareFanDaBase, former designer Chris Seavor expresses the opinion that the company would have retained its original staff roster if it had remained under Nintendo's wing:
RFDB: If Rare were still with Nintendo today, do you think the company would have still been the same as it was all those years ago?
Chris Seavor: Pretty much. Tim and Chris would still be around, Mark [Betteridge], Simon, loads of other people who subsequently left as well…even me maybe. A company isn’t defined by bricks and mortar. It’s a people thing, so yeah , bar a few tweaks it would have been pretty much the same, both the good and the bad.
Of course, change isn't always a negative thing. The team at Rare right now is packed with proven industry professionals with enviable track records. But it's always tempting to wonder "what if?", especially when you look back at the sparkling list of Nintendo/Rare collaborations, which includes such hits as GoldenEye 007, Jet Force Gemini and Diddy Kong Racing.