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Ex-Rare dev says Microsoft buy-out was a culture clash

There’s always been a lot of speculation about what happened at Rare during its Microsoft buyout. There’ve been rumours that the atmosphere of the once great British developer changed, that the people there weren’t keen on the new direction – but it’s all been rumours. Now one ex-staff member has explained a little more, describing the resulting atmosphere as a “culture clash.”

This revelation came to light during an interview between Nintendo Enthusiast and once-upon-a-time Rare programmer Phil Tossell, who’s now working as part of his own startup, Nyamyam on a new Wii U title (Tengami) with other ex-rare staffers. He said that: “Rare was a close knit family and so it was something of a shock to suddenly become part of such a huge organisation as Microsoft.”

tengami
Tengami’s style is based on a Japanese pop-up book, with adventure and puzzle elements

While he said that it wasn’t clear what was happening at first, it quickly became obvious that there was a “culture clash” when staff started changing or moving on, particularly when Tim and Chris Stamper (the founders of Rare and the driving force behind Viva Pinata and 007 Goldeneye) left. “the culture changed and it began to feel more Microsoft and less Rare.”

Tossell did add the caveat that he thought “Rare continues to put out high quality games, [but] for me it lost some of the spark that had made the company special.”

That last part would be considered debatable, with many not fans of the Kinect titles Rare has worked on over the past few years – despite their reasonable commercial success.

KitGuru Says: Rare’s Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Diddy Kong Racing and Viva Pinata are some of my favourite games ever made. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. 

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