|Headquarters||Twycross, Leicestershire, UK|
Rare (sometimes referred to as Rareware) is a British video game developer. The organization was founded in 1982 by brothers Tim and Chris Stamper as a company called Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd. and published games under the name Ultimate Play the Game.
The company subsequently began to focus solely on the popular Nintendo Entertainment System platform, and in 1994 they entered an exclusive publishing agreement with Nintendo. Rare achieved great critical acclaim and earned an international reputation for creating successful SNES and N64 titles such as Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie, among others. In 2002, Microsoft paid US$375 million for a 100% acquisition of Rare, a record for a video game developer. As a result, Rare is now a subsidiary of Microsoft Game Studios.
The last game they made for a Nintendo console was Star Fox Adventures, a game for the Nintendo GameCube which was originally called Dinosaur Planet and was planned to be released on the Nintendo 64. The game was moved to the Nintendo GameCube because the game wasn't finished early enough for it to be released on the Nintendo 64. Rare removed some of the original characters and changed some of the environments. The only character that survived the change was Krystal, who's appearance was changed somewhat from the original.
Other games in development for the Nintendo GameCube by Rare before the time of their Microsoft acquisition included Donkey Kong Racing, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements of Power, Conker: Live & Reloaded, and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts.
Despite Rare working for Micrsoft Games Studios, they have managed to sneak in quite a few developments for the Game Boy Advance. These games include the entire Donkey Kong Country series, Sabre Wulf, It's Mr. Pants, and two Banjo games, Banjo & Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, and Banjo-Pilot.
Rumor has it that Rare was originally contracted by Nintendo to produce a new Mario game, however after the success of Super Mario World, they decided to keep first party deveolopement for Mario platformers, and allow Rareware to use another of their franchises. Rare had a choice between Donkey Kong, and Kid Icarus, however due to the popularity of Donkey Kong in the 1980s, they decided to use this franchise.
Microsoft's ownership of Rare has prevented multiple popular titles from being released onto the Virtual Console service. These include Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing. In fact, when Diddy Kong Racing was remade for the Nintendo DS, Banjo and Conker had to be removed because Rare owns exclusive rights to those characters.
Despite this, a few Rare games have made it onto the Virtual Console. The entire Donkey Kong Country series have been released, primarily due to Nintendo's ownership of the Donkey Kong franchise. Due possibly to royalty disputes regarding the Wii U, the trilogy has been de-listed from the Wii Shop.