“我不断靠近Rare。这就像是Willy Wonka的工厂一样。我完全不敢相信一直做着我所喜爱的东西的公司竟然就在我眼前。现在我正效劳于Rare，并且许多员工是从Ultimate Play The Game时期就在这里了。”
“没错，产业发生了变化。游戏变得更大，预算变得更高，游戏开发时间也变得更长。但是Rare仍然让人觉得是由一群独立工作的人组成的团队。它仍让我觉得停留在Ultimate Play The Game时期的状态，只不过拥有了更大的规模。”
“与许多工作室一样，员工总是来了又走。Rare算是非常幸运，特别是它已经诞生30年了，我们甚至还拥有一些元老级员工。当你与Greg Mayles（游戏邦注：曾参与创造过《Banjo》和《Battletoads》，最近还创造了《Sea of Thieves》）等人共事时，你将能找回原来的Rare的感觉。”
当然了，Rare已经变了。在2000年和2001年的时候，它发行了3款最具标志性的游戏，《Perfect Dark》，《Banjo-Tooie》和《Conker’s Bad Fur Day》，并且每款游戏间隔不到10个月。在如今的AAA级游戏开发中，这种发行速度是不可能的，除非它们是以指数方式增长，而这有可能让Park所谓的“小团队”精神陷入危险。
虽然如此还是有一些粉丝表示不开心。也许Rare创造了优秀的游戏，但是他们却不能再创造出全新《Conker》或《Perfect Dark》了。相反地，这家具有代表性的英国工作室决定开发《Kinect Sports》。
“在Rare我们仍将这些游戏视为珍宝一般。对于我们的上一款游戏（《Kinect Sports Rivals》），我们添加了许多之前Rare游戏的元素。例如我们突出了像《Battletoads》，《Kameo》和《Perfect Dark》等游戏元素。在《Kinect Sports：Season Two》中，如果你表现好的话，你将会听到欢快的音乐，而如果你表现很糟糕的话，你将会听到沮丧的音乐。我们一直尝试着保留Rare所具有的乐趣。”
在粉丝们的眼里，《Kinect Sports》及其续集是个错误的决定。玩家们不希望在与父母看电视时这些游戏出现在电视上。这些游戏也不像他们所期待的来自《GoldenEye》和《Donkey Kong Country》背后团队的作品。
然而其实《Kinect Sports》系列非常符合Rare的传统。就像在《Rare Replay》中我们可以发现Rare总是频繁地尝试各种新内容。而在像《Battletoads》, 《Killer Instinct》, 《Donkey Kong Country》, 《Banjo-Kazooie》, 《Perfect Dark》和《Viva Pinata》等游戏中，我们可以看出开发者一直在尝试新创作。
他补充道：“如果人们不断询问这些续集的话便表示他们对我们的游戏充满关心，这也会让我们感到非常满足。但同样地，尽管人们可能很想看到另一款《Conker》或《Banjo》或《Perfect Dark》，但是如果我们一开始只专注于创造《Cobra Triangle》，我们便不可能创造出这些游戏。”
2013年，《Killer Instinct》在全新工作室的带领下重新回归了。Conker团队成功创造了最近发行的Xbox One游戏《Project Spark》。《Battletoads》出现在了热门平台游戏《Shovel Knight》中。任天堂也仍然在创造《Donkey Kong Country》游戏，并且这一次是由美国开发商Retro Studios所主导的开发。同时，前Rare职员所创办的一家工作室也正在创造《Banjo-Kazooie》的后续游戏《Yooka-Laylee》。
Park说道：“我们喜欢所有的这些游戏。我们与《Project Spark》团队以及《Killer Instinct》团队保持紧密联系，并在某些内容上展开合作。所以在某种程度上我们并未感觉自己失去了什么宝贝。我们始终与它们维系在一起。”
该公司现在将注意力转向创造以海盗为主题的行动冒险游戏《Sea of Thieves》，这是另一款全新IP也是Rare所选择的一个新方向。
Park总结道：“如果还有另一个30年，我们会为了60周年纪念日去创造第二款《Rare Replay》，并且我们希望《Sea of Thieves》也会出现在游戏中。而为了实现这一目标，我们就需要把握好现在。”
Gavin Price, Chris Sutherland, Steve Mayles, Kev Bayliss, Dave Wise, Steven Hurst
与《Viva Pinata》，《Banjo Kazooie》，《Killer Instinct》，《Grabbed by the Ghoulies》等游戏以及最近刚成立的Playtonic相关的人。他们最近刚发行了游戏《Yooka-Laylee》，这是《Banjo-Kazooie》的后续作品。它在Kickstarter上获得了超过200万英镑的资金，也因此打破了在英国的记录。
《Conker’s Bad Fur Day》的创造者，同时也是一名声优，现在正致力于自己的工作室Gory Detail，并创造了一款不同寻常的平台游戏《The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup》。同时他还创造了手机游戏《Parashoot Stan》。
在离开了Rare的《Conker’s Bad Fur Day》后，Currington加入了Rockstar，然后又为Jagex创建了美国工作室。现在他还创建了名为DoodleooGames.com的独立工作室，并且刚刚发行了自己的第一款游戏《Party!Party!Party!》。
《Viva Pinata》的程序员Goatley不久前在工作室Okidokico名下发行了游戏《Super Boost Monkey》，并且这也是在前Rare编曲家Steve Burke的帮助下完成的。
Makin曾致力于《Perfect Dark Zero》和《Kame》。现在他正运营着自己和妻子一起创建的工作室Makin Games。他计划在明年发行经典的横向卷轴游戏《Raging Justice》。现在他的合作伙伴正是前Rare开发者Steve Burke（编曲家）和Jay Howse（美术家）。
作为《Perfect Dark》的环境美术家，他在1月份创建了Binary Panda Games。他的第一款游戏是面向Android和苹果的《Gravity Hero》，这是一款基于任务且以重力为核心的太空射击游戏。
Rare: Doing new things is in the culture of the studio
By Christopher Dring
Reports of Rare’s death appear to have been greatly exaggerated as the studio scored its first No.1 hit in 17 years. But why did so many believe they were dying in the first place?
‘Who killed Rare?’ That was the headline to a consumer article written three years ago, and it’s hard to imagine how the team at Rare felt about it – particularly when you consider they weren’t actually dead.
The angle of the feature was that Rare, a ‘90s icon of UK games development, had faded into obscurity under the corporate gaze of its new owners Microsoft. It was a viewpoint backed up by the fansite MundoRarein 2010, which closed down with a scathing open letter to the studio it once idolised.
Yet the mood has changed. In August, Rare topped the UK charts for the first time since 1998’s Banjo-Kazooie – 17 years ago – with Rare Replay, a compilation designed to celebrate 30 years of the studio. What’s more, this was a collection put together with the care, depth and, most importantly, irreverent humour that the studio had become famous for.
It makes you wonder that perhaps Rare was actually alive all this time.
“The idea Rare isn’t what it was a few years ago… to me, I grew up as someone who played Rare games,” explains Adam Park, lead producer at the Twycross studio.
“I grew up near Rare. It was like Willy Wonka’s factory. I didn’t quite believe that this place that made all these things that I loved was local to me. Now I work at Rare, and there are people here that have been here since the Ultimate Play The Game times.
“Yes the industry has changed. Games are bigger, budgets are obviously a lot bigger and games take longer to develop. But Rare still has that sense of being a small group of people free to work independently. It still feels like I imagine it did back in the Ultimate Play The Game days, only on a greater scale.
“As with any studio, people come and go. Rare is in a fortunate position, particularly with being 30 years old now, we still have people who were there from the start. When you are working with people like Greg Mayles, who created Banjo and Battletoads, on Sea of Thieves, it helps maintain that sense of what Rare is.”
Of course, Rare has changed. Back in 2000 and 2001, it released three of its most iconic games – Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day – within ten months of each other. Such an output is impossible in triple-A games development today – not unless they expand exponentially, which would risk that ‘small group’ ethos that Park says is important to Rare’s culture.
Another change is in how the studio works together. Back in the 1990s, Rare’s multiple teams were each hidden away in different barns, with access only granted to those within the same team. It created fierce internal competition.
One such rivalry was between the Conker and Banjo teams, and when we discussed that with former Banjo developer Ed Bryan, he responded with: “I best be careful what I say, I don’t want to get beaten up.”
This ‘friendly’ conflict between teams was a key aspect of Rare’s culture, but with team sizes growing and the need to share tech, art and ideas becoming increasingly important, these former rivals have merged.
Yet although this has impacted the quantity of Rare games – out of its 120 game catalogue, just 16 of them have launched in the last ten years – according to critics, Rare’s games still hit the right quality bar on the whole.
However, certain fans were still not happy. Rare may be making good games, but they weren’t building a new Conker or Perfect Dark. Instead, the iconic UK studio decided to make Kinect Sports.
“The whole Kinect Sports-era is something we look back on very fondly,” says Park. “Everyone is very proud of that. They were hugely innovative, massively exciting games.
“And we still kept these games uniquely Rare. With our last game [Kinect Sports Rivals], we had a lot of nods to previous Rare IP in there. We had things like Battletoads, Kameo and Perfect Dark, all featured in there. With Kinect Sports: Season Two, if you did well you got celebratory licensed music, and if you did badly you would get dejected licensed music – you could even be Rick Rolled. So we tried to keep that sense of fun Rare is known for.”
Grabbed by the future
Kinect Sports and its sequels were a misstep in the eyes of fans. These were gamers that didn’t want to jump around in front of their TVs with their parents. These weren’t the games they expected from the teams behind GoldenEye and Donkey Kong Country.
Nevertheless, the Kinect Sports series was more in-line with Rare’s heritage than some give it credit. The Rare Replay collection highlights how frequently Rare tries new things. Battletoads, Killer Instinct, Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Viva Pinata… this is a developer with a reputation of retiring franchises and even entire genres in favour of doing something new.
“Doing new things is in the culture of the studio,” continues Park.
“Rare always looks to the future to innovate. That is why we always embrace new things, like Kinect. We always try to look for the next thing and move onto something new. Rare Replay is testament to that. A lot of studios can end up focusing on one type of game or franchise. But if you look at the Xbox 360 era: on one end of the spectrum you have a first-person shooter and at the other end you have a garden simulator, with aesthetics that are so different and gameplay that is so different. We don’t like to stay looking at the same thing for too long.”
He adds: “It is so gratifying that people care enough that they are asking for these sequels. But equally, although people may want another Conker or another Banjo or Perfect Dark… we would never have made those games in the first place if we had just been making sequels to Cobra Triangle.”
The good news for fans is that despite Rare’s love for creating new IP, its iconic franchises are now expanding beyond the borders of its purpose-built studio.
Killer Instinct returned in 2013 with development passing to new studios. Conker has made his way into the recent Xbox One game Project Spark. Battletoads has appeared in hit platformer Shovel Knight. Nintendo is still making Donkey Kong Country titles, this time under the stewardship of US dev Retro Studios. Meanwhile, an outfit set-up by former Rare employees is creating Yooka-Laylee – the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie.
“Oh we love all that,” says Park. “We worked so closely with the Project Spark team and the Killer Instinct guys, we collaborated on these things. We didn’t just push these franchises away. So it doesn’t feel like we are losing a baby in any sense. We are there together with them.
“And things like Yooka-Laylee… those guys are great friends of ours and they have worked at Rare for many, many years, and we can’t wait to see what they do.”
Any negativity that hovered around Rare in the past appears to have abated with the launch of Rare Replay. In 2010, MundoRare closed, but in 2015, new fansites have emerged.
“It has been wonderful, Rare Replay has been everything we hoped for but we would never have assumed,” enthuses Park.
“We met so many fans at E3, we had the fan fests and we met some of our most dedicated fans. The studio is buzzing with the reception we have been getting.”
The company is now turning its attention to creating pirate-themed action adventure game Sea of Thieves, which is another new IP and another new direction for Rare. And one that has a lot to live up to.
“If in another 30 years we are doing a second Rare Replay for the 60th anniversary, we want to make sure Sea of Thieves is in there,” concludes Park. “And to make that happen, we need to live up to our past.”
The critics were right about one thing when it comes to Rare. The studio has changed. But then it always did.
Rare are they now?
The Rare co-founder has since set-up another studio called FortuneFish, a mobile games company. Its latest game, Cat Logic, is out now on smartphones. He has also promised even more from his next project.
Gavin Price, Chris Sutherland, Steve Mayles, Kev Bayliss, Dave Wise, Steven Hurst
The names behind Viva Pinata, Banjo Kazooie, Killer Instinct, Grabbed by the Ghoulies and more launched Playtonic. Its first game will be Yooka-Laylee, the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. It raised more than ￡2m on Kickstarter, breaking UK records.
The Conker’s Bad Fur Day creator and the voice actor is now working at his own studio Gory Detail, building the unusual platformer The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup. He also created the mobile game Parashoot Stan.
After leaving Rare post-Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Currington’s career led him to Rockstar before setting up a US studio for Jagex. He has now set up an indie studio called DoodleooGames.com, and his first title Party!Party!Party! has just launched.
Viva Pinata programmer Goatley has just launched Super Boost Monkey under the studio name Okidokico, with the help of former Rare composer Steve Burke.
Makin worked on Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo. He now operates Makin Games, a studio he set up with his wife. He plans to launch classic side-scrolling brawler Raging Justice next year. He works alongside former Rare devs Steve Burke (composer) and Jay Howse (art).
Perfect Dark environment artist set up Binary Panda Games in January. His first game is Gravity Hero for Android and Apple – a mission-based gravity-centric space shooter.（source：develop-online）