Rare hit by job losses

Written by David Hing

May 20, 2014 // 7:46 a.m.

Tags: #kinect-sports #lay-offs #microsoft #rare

UK-based developer Rare has been struck by downsizing which will include senior staff.

Microsoft confirmed that an unspecified number of jobs will be cut. These job losses follow poor sales of the studio’s latest release, Kinect Sports Rivals although this has not been stated as the cause of the reorganisation.

’At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences,’ said a Rare spokesperson. ’As part of Rare's commitment to this goal, we have made a decision to change our development process and methodology at Rare to best support our future projects, this has led to us reviewing the skills and the makeup of our development teams in our business. Rare continues to invest in our people and future projects.’

As reported by CVG, of those affected in the cull are Gavin Price and Chris Sutherland, Rare veterans with 35 years of experience at the studio between them. Eurogamer also reports that the full number being let go is approximately 16 people.

Rare was once renowned for its collaboration with Nintendo on the SNES and N64, contributing games including Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie. The studio was bought out by Microsoft in 2002 in a $375m deal.

Since 2010, Rare’s output has been limited to the Kinect Sports games with this year’s Kinect Sports Rivals marking the third entry in the series.

Another possible contribution to Rare’s motivation in cutting jobs is Microsoft’s decision announced earlier this month to drop the Kinect from the standard Xbox One bundle. This will mean the motion control peripheral’s install base will not be as guaranteed as it had been previously, something that is definitely bad news for any studios developing Kinect-based titles.

Last month, a spiritual successor to Rare's classic Banjo-Kazooie was also confirmed to be dead in the water. The project that was being driven by several former Rare staffers had fallen by the wayside as a result of everyone moving on to other full time jobs and projects.

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