Rare Set Sail Again; from Nintendo to Sea of Thieves

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With the success of the Sea of Thieves beta and great word of mouth surrounding the game I thought I would take a look back and talk about Rare history. Anyone that grew up gaming in the 90s would no doubt have a soft spot for this company as they created incredible games back then, classic games. Ones that many people would have fond memories of. How many people remember putting in dozens and hundreds of hours into Goldeneye OO7?If you didn’t own an N64 then you would have known someone who did and you would all have huddled around the TV playing deathmatch for hours with the rule in place that no one could use Oddjob.

If you didn’t own an N64 then you would have known someone who did and you would all have huddled around the TV playing deathmatch for hours with the rule in place that no one could use Oddjob.

Banjo Kazooie will always have a place amongst the greatest 3D platformers even now and wasn’t just a pale imitation of Mario64. It was a great game and then we have Perfect Dark. No sequel to Goldeneye would come about but gamers received this game instead and it was fantastic. Playing the game with the N64 expansion pak in place, pushing the hardware to the limit. Even games that weren’t as popular such as Blast Corps was still considered a fun and enjoyable game.

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But once the N64 years wound down and the relationship with Nintendo finished with the rare acquisition from Microsoft, it seemed Rare weren’t the great studio they once were. During these years they released games such as Grabbed By The Ghoulies and Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts and neither seemed to sell as well as their previous efforts and it felt like they had lost their spark. Conker:Live and Reloaded and the Xbox 360 launch games Kameo:Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero were all solid titles with the later two selling well for the time.These plus the release of Viva Piñata showed they could still make very good games but something was lacking that was there during the Goldeneye and Perfect Dark era. Microsoft was having a much different impact on Rare as a company than Nintendo did previously and the industry was now changing with the introduction of three major console players. Even if Rare stayed with Nintendo, they too would have changed as Nintendo were coming off the N64 era were Sony entered the market and became dominant.

These plus the release of Viva Piñata showed they could still make very good games but something was lacking that was there during the Goldeneye and Perfect Dark era. Microsoft was having a much different impact on Rare as a company than Nintendo did previously and the industry was now changing with the introduction of three major console players. Even if Rare stayed with Nintendo, they too would have changed as Nintendo were coming off the N64 era were Sony entered the market and became dominant.

A huge shift for Rare was about to happen in that they would almost exclusivly work on titles for Microsofts Kinect. Don Mattrick, the head of Xbox at the time wanted a game to rival the success of Wii Sports. This was Kinect Sports but with this, in my opinion, Rare were no longer the company I grew up with. They were working on more basic games and this was backed up again with Kinect Sports Rivals in 2014. They weren’t the company that pushed the industry forward and showed us that FPS games could work on a console and work well. They weren’t the same company who made 3D platformers that could rival Nintendo’s own.

With the alpha and beta releases of Sea of Thieves, I believe Rare are back on the path to greatness. This game could be something special if they continue to have the creative freedom which made Rare such a great studio in their glory days. I commend Microsoft and Phil Spencer for giving the green light to a game like Sea of Thieves. This is a game where the community involvement can steer where the game is headed. Its great to see Rare on the comeback, making fun games we want to play and hopefully pushing the industry forward once again. For me personally it’s great to see Rare full steam ahead. Sea Of Thieves could really be the beginning of a new era for Rare and us gamers will be the ones who benefit most.

-MaxPower

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