When most people think of Nintendo, they tend to think of the company’s first party properties: Mario, Zelda and the like. However, there was a time when Nintendo had another major feather in its cap: Rare. Some of the most memorable games in Nintendo’s stable came from the British developer, including Donkey Kong Country, Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye 007 and a whole lot more. Nintendo and Rare seemed like such a good fit for one another that Microsoft’s purchase of the studio in 2002 shocked the gaming world.
It even shocked Rare’s co-founder, Tim Stamper. Over a decade after Microsoft’s purchase of the company, Stamper still wonders why Nintendo never officially brought Rare into its fold. When asked why Nintendo didn’t purchase Rare, Stamper didn’t mince words, saying “I’ve no idea why they didn’t do that. I thought we were a good fit.”
Microsoft’s purchase of Rare means we never got true sequels to some of the greatest games of Nintendo’s classic era. The acquisition also seemed to crush the developer, as its design philosophy never quite gelled with Microsoft. Viva Pinata and Grabbed by the Ghoulies are decent enough, but they are a pale substitute for Diddy Kong Racing.