UK company Rare is responsible for some of the best games of the past 30 years, and was once a Nintendo second-party studio thanks to the Japanese giant purchasing 49 percent of the firm. Nintendo and Rare's alliance resulted in titles like Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong Racing, GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark and many other classics, but in 2002 the union came to an end when Microsoft purchased Rare outright.
At the time of the deal it was reported that Rare was actively courting other buyers when it became clear that Nintendo wasn't interested in increasing its investment in the firm. Activision's name cropped up at the time, and many assumed that the publisher lost out purely because a bigger fish - in this case, Microsoft - stepped in.
However, according to Xbox co-creator Ed Fries, it was actually a much closer thing than that:
We put in a bid and then Activision outbid us, and it looked like we were going to lose the deal. And then, at the very last minute, Robbie [Bach] increased our bid, and we won. We won the deal.
Microsoft's increased bid of $375 million secured Rare's services as a first-party development studio, and the firm's final game for Nintendo would be Star Fox Adventures. Since then, the company has produced titles such as Perfect Dark Zero, Kinect Sports and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. It is currently working on the Xbox One title Sea of Thieves.
Had Bach not increased Microsoft's bid, Rare would be have been owned by Activision. What do you think would have happened to the firm? Do you think it would have prospered under Activision's wing, creating content not just for the Xbox line of systems, but also for the PlayStation family, the GameCube, the Wii and the Wii U? It's a tantalizing thought.