Rare: Relationship With Nintendo Was Built On Mutual Respect And Benefited Both Parties
Posted by Damien McFerran
Also, explaining Cricket to Shigeru Miyamoto isn't as easy as it sounds
Earlier today we reported on a Red Bull feature regarding the history of UK games studio Rare — the creator of such classics as GoldenEye 007, Banjo Kazooie and Killer Instinct — which revealed that the firm almost released a Game Boy rival jokingly called "The Playboy".
Speaking in the same interview, Rare's Gregg Mayles explains a little more about the type of relationship the studio had with Nintendo, back when the Japanese giant owned 49% of the firm:
I think there was a lot of mutual respect and benefit for both parties. Rare as a company - and me as an individual - gained a lot from working with Nintendo luminaries such as Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda, and we saw their games as the benchmark for our experiences to aim at. But I also like to think that we impressed Nintendo with our technical prowess and desire to create experiences that could sit alongside those from Kyoto.
Former Rare staffer Chris Seavor agrees, and cites Donkey Kong Country as the ultimate example of how much Nintendo trusted Rare:
The value and respect afforded to Rare by Nintendo can be summed very simply: the Japanese gaming giant gave a western company the keys to one of its golden eggs, Donkey Kong. I think it’s safe to say it was no light decision.
During the relationship, Rare's HQ was frequented by many of Nintendo's top brass — including the legend that is Miyamoto-san. Amusingly, Mayles recounts that he tried — and failed — to explain the rules of the English sport of Cricket to Miyamoto during one of his visits:
When Miyamoto-san visited Rare we took him out for a meal and he asked me about the English game of cricket. I attempted to explain the rules to him by mocking up wickets with breadsticks, a napkin as the pitch and the salt and pepper pots as batsmen, but I’m not sure he left any the wiser!
Mayles may have failed to explain Cricket to arguably the world's most famous games designer, but at least he and his colleagues were able to do Nintendo proud with their output.