Rare has a tremendous track record...and they will be bringing their content exclusively to Xbox," Robbie Bach, Microsoft's chief Xbox officer, said during a press conference following the announcement. "They have been for the last 20 years perhaps the leading game developer in the world...They will certainly help broaden and deepen our portfolio."How did Rare broaden and deepen the Microsoft portfolio during the life of the Xbox? They published two Xbox games: Grabbed by the Ghoulies and Conker: Live & Reloaded. In the meantime they published Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 3, Banjo Pilot, Sabre Wulf, and Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge all for the ... GameBoy Advance.
Microsoft said the first Xbox game from Rare, an original adventure named "Kameo," would be ready next spring [in 2003]. An Xbox sequel to "Perfect Dark" is also in the works for next year [also in 2003].
Then they released the two games they initially promised, not on the Xbox in 2003 but on the successor, the Xbox 360 in 2005. Nice.
Today comes the announcement that Lionhead was purchased by Microsoft. Here's what Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios, had to say:
Peter Molyneux is one of the few true visionaries in our industry, and his joining us is incredibly important to the future of both interactive entertainment and MGS. Lionhead is a shining example of the innovative and creative talent that has delivered some of the most influential and unique games experiences to date, and I am honored to welcome Peter and the incredible people at Lionhead Studios.How visionary of them to snap up a visionary. Fortunately, I hear he's one of the few true visionaries, not one of the several thousand poseur visionaries. Then Molyneux himself says:
This acquisition gives Lionhead the stability and opportunity to focus on creating world-class next-generation titles.I wonder if those world-class next-generation super-hyphenated titles will appear on the Xbox 360 or its successor?
Though Microsoft likely had never considered it, buying Rare does mean that Revolution won't be offering popular N64 Rare games like Perfect Dark.
Hrm, I wonder if Jeff Minter could get Microsoft to help fund a revival of Unity, which Lionhead was helping with before it was cancelled.