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Donkey Kong Country photo
Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country trilogy returning to Virtual Console in the UK


And the Donkey Kong Land series is headed to 3DS
Oct 13
// Jordan Devore
Back in November 2012, Nintendo removed the Donkey Kong Country series from the Wii's Virtual Console for some reason that, to my knowledge, was never publicly addressed. But those games will resurface this month on Wii U alo...
Rareware photo
Rareware

Xbox boss on Rare in a post-Kinect Sports world


Maybe the studio is finally working on its next Perfect Dark or Banjo Kazooie
Aug 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Rare's time in the sun may be a distant memory, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer still feels the developer has bright days ahead. Speaking with CVG, Spencer said the British studio "should, can and will be" an important part of Mic...
Banjo-Kazooie photo
Banjo-Kazooie

Oh hey, an excuse to talk about Banjo-Kazooie


Both games bundled on Xbox 360
Jul 09
// Jordan Devore
Before 4J Studios became involved with the console versions of Minecraft, it ported Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie to Xbox Live Arcade -- rather well, I might add. If you haven't yet played them on Xbox 360, they're worth a re...
Rare photo
Rare

Rare is 'working on a couple things' right now


They can't all by Kinect Sports titles, so that's something
Jun 19
// Jordan Devore
I shouldn't do this to myself, but I can't help it. I can't not wonder what Rare is up to, even if the talent that made the studio so beloved in its prime has largely moved on. Microsoft's Phil Spencer told Eurogamer that Rar...
Rare photo
Rare

Layoffs at Rare as studio undergoes 'methodology' change


Around 20 employees laid off
May 19
// Jordan Devore
It seems Rare's latest, Kinect: Sports Rivals, wasn't able to meet expectations. CVG has learned from sources that "just under" 20 staffers were laid off, including long-time programmer Chris Sutherland (Donkey Kong Country, ...
Rare photo
Rare

Rare 'evaluating' what to work on next


We all know what we'd like them to do
May 16
// Jordan Devore
You know, it's gotten to the point where I'd take just about anything from Rare over another game made exclusively for Kinect. It doesn't even have to be a new Banjo-Kazooie, Viva Pinata, or Perfect Dark -- just something tha...
Banjo-Kazooie photo
Banjo-Kazooie

That Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor 'fell to bits'


It just couldn't come together as a side project
Apr 21
// Jordan Devore
Too good to be true, I worried, when first hearing about a spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series that was to be made by former Rare staffers. "Mingy Jongo." Perhaps that name still rests in your memory. I had forgot...
Sup Holmes photo
Get to know the people that make great videogames
Some weeks ago on Sup Holmes, we welcomed Chris Seavor of Gory Detail to the program. Chris got his start in games working on the original Killer Instinct at Rare. From the sound of it, Rare was able to harness the best...

Kinect Sports photo
Kinect Sports

Kinect Sports Rivals has a Battletoads reference in it


I'll hold your hand while we cry for Rare
Apr 07
// Chris Carter
As the sands of time continue to drop in this hourglass called life, it's easy to forget things -- even major elements of our childhood. For instance, I completely forgot Rare was responsible for the amazing Battletoads ...

Review: Kinect Sports Rivals

Apr 07 // Chris Carter
Kinect Sports Rivals (Xbox One)Developer: RarePublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease: April 8, 2014MSRP: $59.99 Rivals begins with an interesting avatar creation process led by David Tennant of Dr. Who fame. It's a fantastic intro for any piece of entertainment, as Tennant has a perfect voice for it, especially when you consider the fact that this is his first foray into videogames. Kinect has come a long way since the original iteration, and now you can play closer to the TV as well as enjoy some of the enhanced scanning capabilities. The scanning module can detect glasses and facial hair, as well as your general physique. It takes a few minutes, but the results are pretty incredible -- at least, they were spot-on for me outside of a slightly bigger head than I would have liked. Against all odds this Kinect-only game allows you to control all of the menus from a controller -- additionally, you can fight with hand pointer motions, or employ the smooth voice controls to navigate the menu. Personally, I'm just glad they added options this time around, and this should be considered standard for all motion-based games. The theme of Rivals is decidedly contemporary, sporting licensed music for its soundtrack like Calvin Harris' "Let's Go" and "Feel So Close." It's trendy for sure, but not in an annoying or particularly dated way. It helps that the tunes are upbeat in general, making it a tad easier to get into the game. There's also a bit of advertising in the game during some of the events (mostly logos) -- just to warn you. [embed]272531:53287:0[/embed] Before you jump into the sport of your choice, you have to do a few wakeraces first, then climbing and so on until you unlock all six activities. In other words, it's a medium-paced trickle that doesn't take more than an hour to complete, and just straddles the line of frustratingly slow and acceptable crescendo. Similar to the middling pacing, Rivals attempts to build a world of strange characters and "teams" that litter the miniature story, which comprises of three factions: the Eagle Legion (spartan-like), the Wolf Clan (tribal), and the Viper Network (futuristic hackers). If you've played Dance Central before you'll have a clue as to what the characterizations are like. While the characters never really stood out for me, the world is convincingly beautiful. I love all of the vibrant colors used (particularly the neon green and bright blue hues for the water) in the game, and some of the events (like wakeracing) are particularly entrancing. Sometimes the universe is difficult to see during all the action, but similar to Nintendo's Wii Sport Resort island, I wouldn't mind visiting it myself. There are six sports included in all: wakeracing, rock climbing, target practice, soccer, bowling, and tennis (unlocked in that order). If you've been waiting for a follow-up to Waverace 64, the wake event in Rivals is similarly designed, and a ton of fun. The Kinect 2.0 actually works like a charm, allowing you to move your arms forward and backward to simulate the direction of handlebars. You can also lean to the sides for sharp turns, or lean forwards and backwards for flips. Speed boost power-ups are sprung by stomping or using voice commands (again, the option is great). That's pretty much it, and everything functioned as advertised without any frustration on my part. The track itself is also gorgeous and detailed, and even though I wish there were more power-ups and hazards outside of mines, it's fun to play based on the control scheme alone. Climbing is easily my favorite event, which I didn't expect in the slightest. All you have to do here is raise your arms above your head, and grab onto the appropriate hold with the correct hand, then pull down to raise yourself up. If there's a gap you need to clear, you can raise your torso or actually jump to have your character leap up the mountain in turn. You can also relive your most wildest American Gladiators fantasies by grabbing people and chucking them off the wall.  You'll look ridiculous doing it, but like wakeracing, the motion aspect actually works. There's a lot of strategic play involved, as only holding onto one hold will drain your stamina bar and cause you to fall, and sometimes you'll need to move fast to grab onto something. It's also extremely difficult to learn, and like playing Guitar Hero for the very first time, I legitimately felt like I was using a new control scheme and not just a gimmick. Target practice is also fun, and in an endearing move to lefties, you can use either hand for this one. All you have to do is point your finger or hand at the screen to move around an accurate reticle, and Rivals will automatically fire at targets. There's a light puzzle element involved, with numbers that you have to shoot in an increasing order for bonus points, or skull targets that cause a loss in score. You'll also have to occasionally dodge to the left or right to avoid turret fire. It's a simple, nuanced addition that makes everything feels more action-packed. Soccer, however, feels like a completely wasted opportunity by comparison. This is a one-on-one sport, involving passes and shots with your feet and head as you square off with a goalie, and on the other end, square off against a striker. While goal keeping is fun enough as you attempt to block shots with precision, shooting is a bit of a farce. You'll have to go through this elongated and boring process of shooting downfield against foosball-like defense, which just feels like a waste of time. The shots also aren't very accurate and not a good demonstration of the tech. For these reasons and more, I'll most likely never play it again.If you loved Wii Sports you'll love bowling, but it feels oddly out of place in an otherwise fast-paced sports title. It works as advertised, but it's very bare-bones, and also ridiculous to see a giant futuristic crowd cheer for a bowling match. In general, bowling feels like a completely underwhelming and throwaway (ha) addition -- like it was added in to pad the game. Lastly we have Tennis, which packs a lot more punch by comparison. Because the Kinect recognizes nearly every appendage, you'll be able to serve by throwing the ball up with your free hand, and whacking it with your dominant racket hand. The process is incredibly nuanced, as you can swing normally, or mix things up with top spins, backspins, and lobs. Even though you can't technically feel the impact of hits, contact has a definite weight to it, and the over-emphasized neon effects of slicing a ball help add more character to the proceedings. There's a limited amount of actual movement, but your arms will feel tired by the end. I got pretty into it in fact, sometimes swinging with two hands, which is by no means required. If any combination of those games sounds enticing to you, Kinect Sports Rivals offers up a ton of content to mess around with, including its own Hub app that collects all your scores, friendships, and leaderboard information. You can also submit photos, participate in ongoing challenges and events, start a rivalry, and customize your character with new clothing options. Local multiplayer will up your enjoyment considerably. Kinect Sports Rivals has an inexcusable amount of wasted space with bowling and soccer, but the other four activities are engaging, and the world is charming and appealing enough to win over most of the gamers who enjoyed Wii Sports. If you have a family who likes getting together and play games like this, go ahead and pull the trigger -- all other curious parties should wait for a sale to compensate for the weak activities.
Kinect Sports Review photo
A semi-middling rivalry
The original Kinect Sports for the Xbox 360 did exactly what it set out to to do. It didn't set the world on fire or reinvent gaming as we know it, but it showed that despite some gimmicky features, the Kinect actually w...

GoldenEye 007 photo
GoldenEye 007

What's the Klobb got to do, got to do with GoldenEye 007's design secrets?


Who needs a Klobb when it's just so broken?
Apr 03
// Brittany Vincent
If you ever spent a night or two demolishing friends in GoldenEye 007's illustrious multiplayer, you're probably intimately familiar with the Klobb, arguably one of the weakest weapons in the game. You surely know of the gun,...

Sup Holmes finishes off with Conker's Chris Seavor

Mar 23 // Jonathan Holmes
[embed]266680:51620:0[/embed]
Sup Holmes photo
Get to know the people that make great videogames
Oh my god, it's the last Sup Holmes on Dtoid! Ahhh! What does that even mean? We'll find out soon enough, as the Sup Holmes year 3 Kickstarter is set to go live any second now. In the meantime, why not tune in to the show tod...

Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

New Killer Instinct Killer Cuts album is in the works


Such a feeling
Mar 01
// Wesley Ruscher
Killer Instinct composer Mick Gordon, has announced that a new version of Killer Cuts is scheduled to release this March. The album will feature music Gordon created for the Xbox One reboot of Rare's classic fighting game. No...
Rare photo
Rare

Rare designer talks canceled Donkey Kong Racing


And its strange journey to Xbox
Feb 28
// Jordan Devore
Announced at E3 2001, Donkey Kong Racing was going to be Rare's sequel to Diddy Kong Racing for the GameCube. I distinctly remember seeing images of it in magazines at the time, thinking it was a true score for the console, a...
Chris Seavor photo
Chris Seavor

Conker creator talks working with Nintendo and Microsoft


From an exclusive interview with the Nintendo Force
Feb 23
// Jonathan Holmes
The latest issue of NF Magazine is one of my favorites. We managed to squeeze interviews with Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight), Lorne Lanning (Oddworld), Crazy Viking Studios (Shinobi, Volgarr the Viking), Yuji Naka (Son...
Kinect Sports Rivals photo
Kinect Sports Rivals

Kinect Sports Rivals launches in April


From Rare
Feb 13
// Chris Carter
Microsoft has announced that Kinect Sports Rivals is coming this April on the Xbox One. The game will launch on April 8th in North America and April 11th in Europe, and it'll feature the following activities: Soccer, Tennis,...
Thunder clap photo
Thunder clap

Thunder is the next free Killer Instinct character


Thunder clap dat tomahawk
Jan 24
// Steven Hansen
Thunder may have been stripped of his chiefdom in the new Killer Instinct, but he's the next free-to-play character in the Xbox One fighter. He replaces Sabrewulf, who replaced Jago earlier this month. Killer Instinct can be ...
 photo
Trigger Warning: Battletoads
This week, Caitlin Cooke joins us via Jonathan Holmes' pet dog "Air-Bud" to discuss the cultural importance of Battletoads, Oxycontin use in the 90s, Senran Kagura lore and subtlety, anus chocolates, and probably some other s...

Kinect Sports Rivals photo
Kinect Sports Rivals

Impressions: Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason


Surprisingly not terrible
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
It's a crying shame to see Rare reduced to producing Kinect games. With so much talent and so many IPs ripe for the taking, Microsoft has reduced one of the best retro studios of all time to a motion control factory. But ever...
Rare photo
Rare

Rare will continue to focus on Kinect for the time being


Teases that 'there are always games we'd love to build'
Nov 11
// Jordan Devore
Rare's Kinect games aren't showing signs of slowing down as much as some of us would probably like that to happen so the studio concentrates its efforts elsewhere. "When you look at the Kinect Sports franchise we've sold ove...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct's Survival mode will be ready for launch


Dojo, survival mode, and the many uses of Killer Points detailed
Nov 08
// Alessandro Fillari
With the Xbox One coming in just two weeks, it's about time Microsoft let out a bit more information about one of its more talked-about titles. Killer Instinct is easily one of the most commonly-seen titles for the new consol...
Kinect Sports Rivals photo
Kinect Sports Rivals

Trial of Kinect Sports Rivals launching with Xbox One


Wake racing mode broken out to give players a taste
Oct 28
// Conrad Zimmerman
Rare's Kinect Sports Rivals won't be ready to release when the Xbox One console launches next month, but early adopters are still going to get a chance to see a bit of what is to come, as a trial version is set to launch...
Xbox One dev feature photo
Xbox One dev feature

Balancing act: Killer Instinct to have early access tests


Caterpillars in sync
Oct 04
// Steven Hansen
Though every Xbox One has the potential to become a development kit, that feature won't be available on day one, like seemingly many of the Xbox One's features (third party headset support, the ability to use the controller w...
Rare photo
Rare

Rare's kicking around ideas for its classic properties


'A lot of people want to do stuff with Banjo'
Aug 23
// Jordan Devore
It doesn't seem to matter what Rare is working on these days. (For the record, currently, it's Kinect Sports Rivals.) If it's not one of the studio's beloved properties, there's going to be pushback from fans who have been wa...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Original announcer will be in new Killer Instinct


Additional throwbacks to original games teased
Aug 22
// Wesley Ruscher
During a TwitchTV live stream of upcoming Xbox One fighter Killer Instinct, Microsoft creative director Adam Isgreen and producer Torin Rettig revealed a few more details about the game that will be sure to make fans of ...
 photo

Rare's Champion Creation system for Kinect Sports Rivals


Body scanning with Kinect
Aug 20
// Dale North
At a pre-gamescom press event today, Microsft and Rare showed off the Champion Creation System for upcoming game Kinect Sports Rivals. Through this, the Kinect Sensor of the Xbox One captures your face and body and makes a o...
Killer Instinct music photo
Killer Instinct music

This Killer Instinct cover song is pretty killer


Music by On Being Human
Aug 15
// Chris Carter
One of the reasons I love videogames is because of how passionate the entire community is. There's an insane amount of respect payed to retro games that paved the way for the modern era, and this soothing SNES Killer Instinc...
Freddy Krueger photo
Freddy Krueger

Now Freddy Krueger is getting an NES-themed figurine


Jason has a playmate
Aug 08
// Tony Ponce
And the world becomes a little bit better. Hot on the heels of NECA's incredible videogame Jason Voorhees, which sold out super fast at San Diego Comic-Con, comes videogame Freddy Krueger. Like his Friday the 13th counterpart...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Chief Thunder teased as next Killer Instinct character


Missing in action since the original KI
Jul 14
// Wesley Ruscher
[Update: Added a video of the KI trailer below. Skip to 0.54 to get to the teaser portion.] Microsoft and Double Helix have been doing their best to keep the hype train rolling for the recently revived Xbox One fighter&n...

Ex-Rare dev explains culture clash with Microsoft

Jun 30 // Tony Ponce
To say that Rare fans quickly caught on to Microsoft's growing influence is an understatement. It was as clear as day to anyone who's ever picked up a controller. I remember three years ago when the fan site MundoRare closed down following a failed attempt to film a Rare documentary. The explanation from Rare for putting a stop to the project was that it wouldn't be "on message." Rare caught a lot of heat for that move, but it seems pretty obvious now that it was likely Microsoft HQ's self interests that resulted in that door slamming shut. Can you even call the shell of the studio that handed off development of the long-anticipated revival of its own Killer Instinct franchise "Rare" anymore? All the biggest names have high-tailed it out of there -- the Stamper brothers, David Wise, Chris Seavor, Grant Kirkhope, Chris Marlow, and so on. Who's still around to keep the old familial spirit alive? "I think at the moment the company is going through something of a rebirth as there are lots of new people and most of the old staff have left, so I'm excited to see what they do next," continued Tossell. "Whatever Rare does it will always hold a special place for me." I wouldn't be surprised if a single tear rolled down his cheek as he spoke that. Microsoft must have thought that by buying out Rare, which was a Nintendo studio through and through, the Xbox brand would suddenly out-Nintendo Nintendo. Did anyone really think it could be that easy? Just flash some green and snap your fingers and ta-da? Actually, according this story from Chris Seavor, in which one of Microsoft's suit honestly thought owning Rare also gave them ownership of Donkey Kong, I wouldn't doubt that's precisely what they thought would happen. Unbelievable. Interview: Nyamyam - Wii U "Has Huge Potential", "Will Be Using Dev Kits Again in the Future" [Nintendo Enthusiast via NowGamer]
Rare photo
Phil Tossell of Nyamyam feels the British studio lost a lot of its spark
Nyamyam studio co-founder Phil Tossell has seen the peak of Rare's golden age as well as its devolution into just another cog in the Microsoft machine. He joined Rare to work on Diddy Kong Racing, became lead programmer on St...


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