One of the saddest things to happen to a great development house is to see them start developing sub-par titles. This has happened to some of the greats. LucasArts (formerly LucasFilm) was one of the great adventure game developers before they were completely mired down in exceptionally dull Star Wars titles. Origin created some of the finest games to ever see the PC before being purchased by EA and crushed. Then there’s Rare.
Rare developed some of the finest early Nintendo titles, Battletoads and R.C. Pro-Am, before moving on to the ranks of super-stardom with GoldenEye 007 on the 64. You don’t get much better than that from a resume perspective, and that’s why Microsoft purchased them to strengthen the XBox’s software library. Sadly, with the exception of Viva Pinata and maybe Kameo, Rare has been phoning it in for the last few years. With that in mind, the Next Generation announcement that Rare Co-Founders, Chris and Tim Stamper, are leaving isn’t very shocking.
Replacing the Stamper brothers will be Mark Betteridge, who has been with the company for 19 years. The man that will be in charge of overseeing the titles currently in production will be Gregg Mayles, who brough us such titles as Viva Pinata and Donkey Kong Country, and is working on the next Banjo Kazooie. Microsoft has commented that the departure of the original founders “will not impact the development teams at Rare.”
Chris and Tim Stamper have not commented on what they’re planning to do next, but we’ll have to keep an eye on them.