Banjo-Kazooie creator Rare is defending its relevance by sticking to its own style despite claims that the studio is a has-been by former boss Peter Moore.
Peter Moore, the openly opinionated former Microsoft games division executive and current EA Sports boss, recently remarked in a lenghty interview with The Guardian that Rare, a development studio for his former employer, had been “passed by” the industry, despite attempts to “recreate the glory years.”
“Great people. But their skillsets were from a different time and a different place and were not applicable in today’s market,” explained Moore. Moore might be right; the studio’s Viva Pinata for the Xbox 360 was a critical success but wasn’t the mainstream blockbuster Microsoft wanted.
Banjo-Kazooie developer Gregg Mayles waved off Moore’s comments in an interview with MTV Multiplayer.
“I don’t take much notice about what people say about our games I work on, whether positive or negative,” he said. “I think you just have to get it clear in your mind what you want to do and try and let that vision come to life. Obviously, when it’s finished, you can look back and say ‘yeah, that was really successful’ or ‘no, that wasn’t quite so successful,’ but at least I can sit back and say ‘yeah, that’s the game I wanted it to be.'”
Rare, whose heyday was during the Nintendo 64 era when the company released a string of successes such as Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie, has stuck to its unique design philosophy while the rest of gaming has grown through sequels and more mature titles.
“We’ve always been seen as a bit, I don’t know, willing to take a chance on doing something different and trying to come up with new experience. Or, if it’s a game in an established genre, what we can do to add to that genre, rather than just tag it on and we can do a game in that genre,” said Mayles. “We never really sat down and thought ‘alright, this is our mission, we’re gonna do X and we’re gonna do Y.’ It’s more of an organic thing where we look at the games we think people might want to play or try to think of new experiences that people might enjoy.”
Pulling from the past doesn’t mean the new Banjo is hypocritical compared the Rare’s development philosophy. “I think for ‘Banjo’ it was the right thing to do. For some of the other IP, the right thing to do probably is not look at them again. Maybe the right thing to do in the future for some of them is to look at them again,” he said.
Does the revival of Banjo-Kazooie keep hopes for another Killer Instinct alive?
Mayles doubtfully added, “If someone came up with some revolutionary idea for a new fighting game, yeah, we might think of resurrecting ‘Killer Instinct.’ But what we’re not gonna do is just say ‘okay, there’s this kind of vocal, fairly small vocal minority of real die-hard fans out there that want to see KI, so therefore, we should be doing KI.’ That’s not how we’d approach it.”