News Article

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.


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User Comments (40)



GuitarAnthony said:

@cookiex Over at NEOGaf, there was a thread how someone from Rare said Nintendo was jealous of them, wouldn't trust them and how the N64 would have been a failure without them.

EDIT: Apologies. Turns out it was a former Rare staffer, not anyone currently with them.



Pit-Stain said:

The relationship between Nintendo and Rare was intriguing in a good way! They created magic when they were together, but now that magic have faded a long time ago and we might never see it again.



Zach said:

is ashes cricket for wii coming out in north america thank you



Nintenjoe64 said:

What nobody realises is that Ashes Cricket 2013 was the new IP that Miyamoto was working on but is now too embarrassed to admit it



SpookyMeths said:

Oh I know.

Nintendo should make a deal with Microsoft for digital rights to the Rare-developed SNES/N64 games in exchange for some Nintendo IP digitally released on the Xbox One.

Microsoft will all start salivating and sign ze papers and then BAM. Wand of Gamelon port. Then Iwata and Miyamoto laugh and high five each other for several hours.



Gioku said:

I wonder if Miyamoto still does not understand Cricket... I don't blame him; I don't get it either!



Tasuki said:

@Gioku: Yeah same here. I have seen it played but I have no idea whats going on.

@CaviarMeths: Yeah Nintendo let an IP on another system that's a laugh. They couldn't even let Link be in the HD remake of Soul Caliber II.



Mattiator said:

@Zach According to the publisher and developer, the game has been cancelled on PC (they pulled it off Steam following release and offered refunds to those who already bought it), so I don't expect it to see console release.



WingedSnagret said:

At least there is still some small form of Rare present at Nintendo today, with David Wise, the man responsible for the music of the original Donkey Kong Country games, currently doing the soundtrack for Tropical Freeze.



RantingThespian said:

I still don't understand cricket.

I have a theory that it was actually created by Monty Python to confuse the hell out of Americans . . . probably Eric Idle's idea.



Mahemoth said:

Must be weird for them(ex-rare) to see another company(Retro) continue the series they worked on.



Rafie said:

I'm still mad at Nintendo for letting Killer Instinct go. Now Microsoft's got it. It's a great game too guys. It really is. I wish the Wii U would have had that. I'm telling you it would have set things off here.

@CaviarMeths Nintendo should never give any of their stuff to anyone. That's that. Not Sony, not MS, not Sega, not no one. It wouldn't work out well.



Azikira said:

Now, something that would be REALLY awesome is the original Donkey Kong Trilogy re-released on eShop (or even HD remakes) but Rare probably wouldn't go for that.



ricklongo said:

@Azikira That, my friend, would be a dream come true. I think I might just faint if they ever announced a HD remake for Diddy's Kong Quest.

But yeah, never gonna happen.



antipop621 said:

When I was younger and Rare still made games for Nintendo, I followed them obsessively. I still own most SNES-N64 era Rare games. The switch to MS was a huge blow for me.

I've also been hoping that the removal of DKC1-3 from the Wii VC meant something special in the works, but seriously doubt it. What about an anniversary disc or something like Mario and Kirby had?



Mk_II said:

@Rafie Killer Instinct, like Conker's Bad fur Day and Perfect Dark, has always been the intellectual property of Rare (and Midway if i remember correctly) so Nintendo really had no say in the matter.



Einherjar said:

Does anybody know the exact situation with nintendos rights to rare made games ? I know that they saved any rights to the characters except banjo and kazooie but im not sure if they lost all of their publishing rights to the games themself.
The little fanboy in me still giggles about the fact that microsoft pretty much bought a rotten egg from nintendo, seeing what they have made under their wing so far.
I sometimes wish that the overall copyright management wasnt so restrictive. That way, nintendo could at least get their hands back on the old DK trilogy because it features their characters.
And in retrospect: Rare was only really good under nintendos wings, so i guess working with them wasnt really all that bad



GN004Nadleeh said:

the one things is DK64 was an awesome collectathon and i loved it, now without a n64 and no possible way it can appear on wii u virtual console i simply got project64 and the rom and i am playing it right now. when was the last 3d donkey kong? (3d gameplay, not 3d graphics on 2.5d plane)



NintyMan said:

Giving a western developer the freedom to completely reboot Donkey Kong must have been an absolutely huge decision on Nintendo's part. DK helped Nintendo gain a foothold in the arcades and paved the way to reaching the hearts of western gamers, so I can only imagine the weight that both sides must have felt. Still, Rare pulled it off beautifully and it's small wonder the respect Nintendo had for them.

I still catch myself wondering "what if?" if Nintendo had kept Rare. I wish Nintendo would at least take back the rights for Banjo-Kazooie. At least they managed to get David Wise back on board to compose the Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze soundtrack. I really look forward to that!



Lord said:

Bottom line is Nintendo only seem to care about making mario and zelda I think if it wasn't for retro we may not have ever had metroid or donkey continue into ths generation.



Tiberius30 said:

Ahh, the days Rare are pining for when they were most relevant...
snicker snicker lol.



DESS-M-8 said:

@Mk_II Nintendo published killer instinct and perfect dark. THQ published conkers bad fur day as nintendo wouldn't touch it due to its constant vulgarness being so removed from standard nintendo titles.



Knuckles said:

So Nintendo only owned 49% of Rare? Was it that Nintendo didn't want to be the majority shareholder out of respect and wished for Rare to do as they wanted not what Nintendo wanted? Is that why Nintendo didn't own 50 or 51 percent of Rare?



ThreadShadow said:

Nintendo should never have dumped Rare. It was a foolish decision to let all that Nintendo-connected IP into the hands of a rival company. I know at the time Rare was hitting a relative dry spell, and Nintendo was basking in the love of regained Japanese third-parties, but it just wasn't the right move and I wish they'd never done it. Imagine a Nintendo that had Retro Studios and Rare. That means we would be getting the Banjo games and the new Killer Instincts etc...because let's face it, those games belong on Nintendo systems, Rare belonged with Nintendo, and if it hadn't left then maybe it wouldn't be as different as it is now.

But just keeping it for the IPs lost was reason enough, and forward thinking enough to not get rid of Rare.

This makes me sad. The good ol' days of Nintendo and Rare.



bronZfonZ said:

I miss my Banjos, Jet Force Geminis, Battletoads, and Perfect Darks. It's sad that Rare is now known for making Wii Sports wannabes.



MadAdam81 said:

I wish they would make a cricket and soccer game for Wii Sports Club.
PS I live in Adelaide where the cricket is being played right now, sadly we are getting British summer rain and play is delayed at the moment. The new Adelaide Oval is awesome though.



element187 said:

@Einherjar Rare or Microsoft doesn't own the rights to DKC. Nintendo can rerelease it as many times as they wish. There is no way in hades Nintendo would have ever signed any agreement where they wouldn't own the entire source code and assets from the DK games made by Rare.

Rare merely had the pleasure of working on one of the worlds most treasured video game franchises. That's what they got out of the Nintendo deals. Well that and all the money they made off the game.



Stubborn_Monkey said:

24-9-2002 NEVER FORGET

NEVER FORGET what, you say? Well, I can't quite remember it right now. Nothing important, I guess.

But, ah, those were the days, back when I spent evenings playing Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007 and DK64; when I eagerly read previews and features about Perfect Dark and Banjo-Tooie waiting for the release day to come (And it was a hell of a wait, they were both repeatedly pushed back.)... those were the days...

I was angered when they became a First-Party Developer for Microsoft, but, nowadays, I just wish them well; they are talented people, both the ones that left the company and the ones that are still at Twycross. Here's to you, former and current Rare staff! May you continue making excellent games!

...And put the DKC trilogy back on the VC to celebrate the release of Tropical Freeze? Please? (HAHAHAHAHA, yes, I know Rare can do nothing about it and that it has to be negotiated between Nintendo and Microsoft, but I can dream, dammit. I can dream.)



element187 said:

@Lord Do you think 2nd party devs calls up Nintendo to tell them they want to work on such and such IP? "Hey Nintendo, we are going to make a new Star Tropics and you are going to pay for it..... Or else!"

Nintendo comes to the 2nd party devs and tells them they want them to make xyz game. Nintendo makes an offer of paying for their development costs and a small share of the sales. Then 2nd party graciously accepts the offer and feels honored to handle such a franchise.



ogo79 said:

for a minute i thought you guys used a pic from my game room, then i realized those glass cases werent filled with little samson carts. my bad.
even i can make mistakes.

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