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Rare is a British video game developer located in Twycross, England. The company was established in 1985 by brothers Tim and Chris Stamper, who previously founded Ultimate Play the Game. While Ultimate Play the Game focused on the creation of computer video games for systems such as ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64, their new entity “Rare” would focus on the home console market.

Tim and Chris Stamper formed a relationship with Nintendo very early in the life of Rare securing an unlimited budget from Nintendo, primarily to concentrate on the development of Nintendo Entertainment System games. Over the course of Rare’s first several years developing for the Nintendo Entertainment System they created many successful games such as Wizards & Warriors, R.C. Pro-Am and Battletoads.

The success of Rare proved to be very beneficial to Nintendo and it did not go unnoticed. Nintendo continued to invest in Rare and in 1994 bought a 25% stake in Rare making them a partial owner of the company. Nintendo gradually increased their stake in Rare to 49% essentially making Rare a prominent second-party developer for Nintendo. During this period, Rare started selling their games under the trademark name “Rareware”.

The company was considered one of Nintendo’s key developers and had enough recognition that Nintendo offered Rare the Nintendo catalogue of characters to create a 3D CGI game. The Stamper brothers asked for Donkey Kong, resulting in the creation of Donkey Kong Country. Donkey Kong Country was developed by a total of 20 people over an 18-month development cycle. The game was a critical success, with critics praising the game’s highly advanced visuals and art style. Donkey Kong Country sold over eight million copies worldwide, making it the third best-selling game in the Super Nintendo library.

Rare became synonymous for high quality games pumping out hit after hit throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s. Rare received international recognition and critical acclaim for games such as the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, Killer Instinct, GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day.

Rare LogoRare's Office

TypeSubsidiary
Parent CompanyXbox Game Studios
(2002-Present)
LocationTwycross, England
DeveloperRare Limited
Founded1985
PredecessorUltimate Play the Game
Number of EmployeesApproximately 200
FoundersTim Stamper
Chris Stamper
Studio HeadCraig Duncan
Websiterare.co.uk

During the end of the Nintendo 64 lifecycle Rare started to lose core talent and with the transition to the GameCube development cost gradually increased and Nintendo did not provide Rare with more capital nor did they purchase the company’s remaining stake. Rare continue to lose core talent during the early stages of development for the GameCube and the Stamper brothers started looking for potential buyer. Activision and Microsoft showed interest in the company making multiple visits to their offices in England with purchase offers.

In 2002, Microsoft acquired Rare for $375 million in a deal which retained the original brand, logo and most intellectual properties. Rare became a first party developer for Microsoft under their Xbox Game Studios division. Character trademarks from games developed by Rare for Nintendo consoles, such as Conker of Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo of the Banjo-Kazooie series, were retained by Rare; intellectual property created by Nintendo, such as Donkey Kong and Star Fox, were retained by Nintendo.

Since Microsoft was not part of the handheld video-game console market, Rare continued to develop games for Nintendo handheld consoles after the acquisition. In August 2003 Rare and Microsoft entered a two-year agreement with THQ for Rare to publish games for the Game Boy Advance. Rare has since focused on developing games exclusively for Microsoft’s video game consoles, including Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Kameo: Elements of Power, Perfect Dark Zero, and Viva Piñata. In 2007, the Stampers left Rare to pursue other opportunities and, in 2010, the company’s focus shifted to the Xbox Live Avatar and Kinect, releasing three Kinect Sports games. In 2015, Rare developed Rare Replay, an Xbox One-exclusive compilation containing 30 of its games to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Rare’s most recent game, Sea of Thieves, was released in 2018.

Known For:

Inside Look of Rare's Headquarters and full history of Rare

Memorabilia, Awards & More Inside the Rare Studio Xbox On
The History of Rare (Full)
  • Games Developed by Retro Studios
  • Retro Studios Staff

YearBoxTitlePlatformPublisherGenre
1986vs SlalumVs. SlalomArcadeNintendoSports
1987Slalom BoxSlalomNintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoSports
1987Wizards and Warriors BoxWizards & WarriorsNintendo Entertainment SystemAcclaim EntertainmentPlatformer
1988RC Pro AM BoxR.C. Pro-AmNintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoRacing
1988Jeopardy BoxJeopardy!Nintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1988Wheel of Fortune BoxWheel of FortuneNintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1988Anticipation BoxAnticipationNintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoGame show
1989Sesame Street 123 BoxSesame Street: 123Nintendo Entertainment SystemHi Tech ExpressionsEducational
1989WWF Wrestlemania BoxWWF WrestleManiaNintendo Entertainment SystemAcclaim EntertainmentFighting
1989John Elway's Quarterback BoxJohn Elway's QuarterbackNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestSports
1989Marble Madness BoxMarble MadnessNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleyPlatformer/Racing
1989World GamesWorld GamesNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleySports
1989Taboo The Sixth Sense BoxTaboo: The Sixth SenseNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestSimulation
1989California Games BoxCalifornia GamesNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleySports
1989Cobra Triangle BoxCobra TriangleNintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoAction
1989Jordan vs Bird BoxJordan vs. Bird: One on OneNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleySports
1989Hollywood Squares BoxHollywood SquaresNintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1989Sesame Street ABC BoxSesame Street: ABCNintendo Entertainment SystemHi Tech ExpressionsEducational
1989Who Framed Roger Rabbit BoxWho Framed Roger RabbitNintendo Entertainment SystemLJNAdventure
1989Jeopardy Junior Edition BoxJeopardy! Junior EditionNintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1989Wheel of Fortune Junior Edition BoxWheel of Fortune: Junior EditionNintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1989Ironsword Wizards and Warriors II BoxIronsword: Wizards & Warriors IINintendo Entertainment SystemAcclaim EntertainmentPlatformer
1989Silent Service BoxSilent ServiceNintendo Entertainment SystemUltra GamesSimulation
1990Wizards and Warriors X Fortress of Fear BoxWizards & Warriors X: The Fortress of FearGame BoyAcclaim EntertainmentPlatformer
1990Wheel of Fortune Family Edition BoxWheel of Fortune: Family EditionNintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1990Double Dare BoxDouble DareNintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1990Pin Bot BoxPinbotNintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoPinball
1990Ivan Ironman Stewart's Super Off Road BoxIvan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off RoadNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestRacing
1990Jeopardy 25th Anniversary Edition BoxJeopardy! 25th Anniversary EditionNintendo Entertainment SystemGameTekGame show
1990Cabal BoxCabalNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleyAction
1990Captain Skyhawk BoxCaptain SkyhawkNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleyShooter
1990The Amazing Spider-man BoxThe Amazing Spider-ManGame BoyLJN (NA)
Nintendo (EU)
Beat 'em up
1990Snake Rattle n Roll BoxSnake Rattle 'n' RollNintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoAction
1990NARC BoxNarcNintendo Entertainment SystemAcclaim EntertainmentShooter
1990Time Lord BoxTime LordNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleyAction
1990Solar Jetman Hunt for the Golden Warpship BoxSolar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden WarpshipNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestAction
1990A Nightmare on Elm Street BoxA Nightmare on Elm StreetNintendo Entertainment SystemLJNPlatformer
1990Super Glove Ball BoxSuper Glove BallNintendo Entertainment SystemMattelAction
1990Arch Rivals BoxArch Rivals: A Basket Brawl!Nintendo Entertainment SystemAcclaim EntertainmentSports
1990WWF Wrestlemania Challenge BoxWWF WrestleMania ChallengeNintendo Entertainment SystemLJNFighting
1990Digger T Rock Legend of the Lost City BoxDigger T. Rock: The Legend of the Lost CityNintendo Entertainment SystemMilton BradleyPlatformer
1991WWF Superstars BoxWWF SuperstarsGame BoyLJNFighting
1991Beetlejuice BoxBeetlejuiceNintendo Entertainment SystemLJNPlatformer
1991Sneaky Snakes BoxSneaky SnakesGame BoyTradewestAction
1991Battletoads NES BoxBattletoadsNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestBeat 'em up
1991High Speed BoxHigh SpeedNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestPinball
1991Sid Meier's Pirates! BoxPirates!Nintendo Entertainment SystemUltra GamesAdventure
1991Super R.C. Pro-Am BoxSuper R.C. Pro-AmGame BoyNintendoRacing
1991Sesame Street ABC 123 BoxSesame Street: ABC/123Nintendo Entertainment SystemHi Tech ExpressionsEducational
1991Battletoads GB BoxBattletoadsGame BoyTradewestBeat 'em up
1992Beetlejuice GB BoxBeetlejuiceGame BoyLJNPlatformer
1992Wizards and Warriors III Kuros Visions of Power BoxWizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions of PowerNintendo Entertainment SystemAcclaim EntertainmentPlatformer
1992Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat BoxDanny Sullivan's Indy HeatNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestRacing
1992RC Pro AM 2 BoxR.C. Pro-Am IINintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestRacing
1992Championship Pro-Am BoxChampionship Pro-AmMega DriveTradewestRacing
1992Battletoads AmigaBattletoadsAmigaMindscapeBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads MD BoxBattletoadsMega DriveTradewest / SegaBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads Double Dragon NES BoxBattletoads & Double DragonNintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads in Battlemaniacs BoxBattletoads in BattlemaniacsSuper Nintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads in Ragnarok's World BoxBattletoads in Ragnarok's WorldGame BoyTradewestBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads Double Dragon BoxBattletoads / Double DragonMega DriveTradewestBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads Double Dragon SNES BoxBattletoads & Double DragonSuper Nintendo Entertainment SystemTradewestBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads Double Dragon GB BoxBattletoads / Double DragonGame BoyTradewestBeat 'em up
1993Battletoads GG BoxBattletoadsSega Game GearTradewest / SegaBeat 'em up
1993X The Ball Arcade CabinetX The BallArcadeCapcomSports
1993Snake Rattle n Roll BoxSnake Rattle 'n' RollMega DriveSegaAction
1994Battletoads Arcade CabinetBattletoadsArcadeElectronic ArtsBeat 'em up
1994Battletoads Amiga CD32 BoxBattletoadsAmiga CD32MindscapeBeat 'em up
1994Battletoads in Battlemaniacs SMS BoxBattletoads in BattlemaniacsSega Master SystemVirgin / TectoyBeat 'em up
1994Donkey Kong Country BoxDonkey Kong CountrySuper Nintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoPlatformer
1994Killer Instinct Arcade CabinetKiller InstinctArcadeMidwayFighting
1995Monster Max BoxMonster MaxGame BoyTitus SoftwarePlatformer
1995Donkey Kong Land BoxDonkey Kong LandGame BoyNintendoPlatformer
1995Killer Instinct SNES BoxKiller InstinctSuper Nintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoFighting
1995Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy's Kong Quest BoxDonkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong QuestSuper Nintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoPlatformer
1995Killer Instinct GB BoxKiller InstinctGame BoyNintendoFighting
1995Killer Instinct 2 Arcade CabinetKiller Instinct 2ArcadeMidwayFighting
1996Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run BoxKen Griffey Jr.'s Winning RunSuper Nintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoSports
1996Donkey Kong Land 2 BoxDonkey Kong Land 2Game BoyNintendoPlatformer
1996Donkey Kong Country 3 Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! BoxDonkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!Super Nintendo Entertainment SystemNintendoPlatformer
1996Killer Instinct Gold BoxKiller Instinct GoldNintendo 64NintendoFighting
1997Blast Corps BoxBlast CorpsNintendo 64NintendoAction
1997GoldenEye 007 BoxGoldenEye 007Nintendo 64NintendoFirst-person shooter
1997Donkey Kong Land III BoxDonkey Kong Land IIIGame BoyNintendoPlatformer
1997Diddy Kong Racing BoxDiddy Kong RacingNintendo 64RareRacing
1998Banjo-Kazooie BoxBanjo-KazooieNintendo 64NintendoPlatformer
1999Conker's Pocket Tales BoxConker's Pocket TalesGame Boy ColorRarePlatformer
1999Jet Force Gemini BoxJet Force GeminiNintendo 64RareThird-person shooter
1999Donkey Kong 64 BoxDonkey Kong 64Nintendo 64NintendoPlatformer
1999Mickey's Racing Adventure BoxMickey's Racing AdventureGame Boy ColorNintendoRacing
2000Donkey Kong GB - Dinky Kong Dixie KongDonkey Kong GB: Dinky Kong & Dixie KongGame Boy ColorNintendoPlatformer
2000Perfect Dark BoxPerfect DarkNintendo 64RareFirst-person shooter
2000Perfect Dark GBC BoxPerfect DarkGame Boy ColorRareAction
2000Donkey Kong Country GBC BoxDonkey Kong CountryGame Boy ColorNintendoPlatformer
2000Mickey's Speedway USA BoxMickey's Speedway USANintendo 64NintendoRacing
2000Banjo-Tooie BoxBanjo-TooieNintendo 64NintendoPlatformer
2001Conker's Bad Fur Day BoxConker's Bad Fur DayNintendo 64Rare
THQ
Platformer
2001Mickey's Speedway USA GBC BoxMickey's Speedway USAGame Boy ColorNintendoRacing
2002Star Fox Adventures BoxStar Fox AdventuresNintendo GameCubeNintendoAction-adventure
2003Donkey Kong Country GBA BoxDonkey Kong CountryGame Boy AdvanceNintendoPlatformer
2003Banjo-Kazooie Grunty's Revenge BoxBanjo-Kazooie: Grunty's RevengeGame Boy AdvanceTHQPlatformer
2003Grabbed by the Ghoulies BoxGrabbed by the GhouliesXboxMicrosoft Game StudiosBeat 'em up
2004Sabre Wulf BoxSabre WulfGame Boy AdvanceTHQPlatformer
2004Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy's Kong Quest GBA BoxDonkey Kong Country 2Game Boy AdvanceNintendoPlatformer
2005Banjo Pilot BoxBanjo-PilotGame Boy AdvanceTHQRacing
2005It's Mr Pants BoxIt's Mr PantsGame Boy AdvanceTHQPuzzle
2005Conker Live and Reloaded BoxConker: Live & ReloadedXboxMicrosoft Game StudiosPlatformer
2005Donkey Kong Country 3 GBA BoxDonkey Kong Country 3Game Boy AdvanceNintendoPlatformer
2005Kameo Elements of Power BoxKameo: Elements of PowerXbox 360Microsoft Game StudiosAction-adventure
2005Perfect Dark Zero BoxPerfect Dark ZeroXbox 360Microsoft Game StudiosFirst-person shooter
2006Viva Piñata BoxViva PiñataXbox 360
PC
Microsoft Game StudiosLife simulation
2007Diddy Kong Racing DS BoxDiddy Kong Racing DSNintendo DSNintendoRacing
2007Jetpac Refuelled BoxJetpac RefuelledXbox 360Microsoft Game StudiosShooter
2008Viva Piñata Trouble in Paradise BoxViva Piñata: Trouble in ParadiseXbox 360Microsoft Game StudiosLife simulation
2008Viva Piñata Pocket Paradise BoxViva Piñata: Pocket ParadiseNintendo DSTHQLife simulation
2008Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts BoxBanjo-Kazooie: Nuts & BoltsXbox 360Microsoft Game StudiosVehicle Construction
2010Kinect Sports BoxKinect SportsXbox 360Microsoft Game StudiosSports
2011Kinect Sports Season Two BoxKinect Sports: Season TwoXbox 360Microsoft StudiosSports
2013Killer Instinct Definitive Edition BoxKiller InstinctXbox One
PC
Microsoft StudiosFighting
2014Kinect Sports Rivals BoxKinect Sports RivalsXbox OneMicrosoft StudiosSports
2015Rare Replay BoxRare ReplayXbox OneMicrosoft StudiosCompilation
2018Sea of Thieves BoxSea of ThievesXbox One
PC
Microsoft StudiosAdventure
2019Battletoads Xbox One BoxBattletoadsXbox One
PC
Xbox Game StudiosBeat 'em up

ProfileNameRoleTenure
Andrew BurtAndrew BurtLead Animator2003-Present
Andy BettsAndy BettsPrincipal Environment Artist1996-Present
Ben CullumBen CullumComposer2000-2005
Bryan SmythBryan SmythPrincipal Artist1997-2015
Carl TilleyCarl Tilley3D Environment Artist1993-2003
Profile PlaceholderChris AllcockQuality Assurance
Designer
2003-2017
Chris DaviesChris DaviesSenior Designer2012-Present
Chris MarlowChris MarlowSoftware Engineer1996-Present
Chris SeavorChris SeavorGame Designer1994-2011
Chris StamperChris StamperFounder
Technical Director
1985-2007
Chris SutherlandChris SutherlandProgrammer
Software Engineer
1989-2014
Chris TilstonChris TilstonGame Designer1993-2009
Craig DuncanCraig DuncanStudio Head2011-Present
David ClynickDavid ClynickComposer1999-2011
David DoakDavid DoakGame Designer1995-1998
David WiseDavid WiseComposer1985-2009
Profile PlaceholderDon MurphyArtist1995-2002
Profile PlaceholderDuncan BotwoodDesigner1995-2009
Ed BryanEd BryanDesigner1995-2011
Ellen ParkesEllen ParkesPrincipal Animator2005-Present
Emma BridleEmma BridleSocial Media Manager
Engagement Manager
2013-Present
Eveline NovakovicEveline NovakovicComposer1993-2007
Gary RichardsGary RichardsDesigner1992-2012
Gavin PriceGavin PriceGame Designer1999-2014
George AndreasGeorge AndreasQuality Assurance
Designer
1997-2013
Graeme NorgateGraeme NorgateAudio Director1994-1999
Gregg MaylesGregg MaylesCreative Director1989-Present
James ThomasJames ThomasGameplay Engineer2002-Present
Jamie HughesJamie HughesMusician
Composer
Sound Designer
2002-Present
Jason CrossJason CrossSoftware Test Engineer
Producer
2015-Present
Jennifer SchneidereitJennifer SchneidereitGame Designer2009-2010
Jens RestemeierJens RestemeierProgrammer1994-2007
Jessica BakerJessica BakerGameplay Programmer2017-Present
Joachim CoppensJoachim CoppensSenior Level Artist2015-Present
Joel HochbergJoel HochbergPresident1985-2007
John NashJohn NashArtist1994-1999
Profile PlaceholderJohn SilkeSound Designer1999-2003
Justin CookJustin CookPrincipal Designer1999-2017
Lee SchunemanLee SchunemanDirector
Producer
1996-2008
Mark BetteridgeMark BetteridgeStudio Director
Programmer
1985-2010
Mark EdmondsMark EdmondsSenior Software Engineer1995-2008
Mark StevensonMark StevensonTechnical Art Director1994-2014
Martin HollisMartin HollisProducer
Director
1993-1998
Profile PlaceholderMartin PennySenior Audio Technician1995-Present
Martin WakeleyMartin WakeleyGame Designer1994-2002
Ofri DarOfri DarBusiness Intelligence Manager2013-Present
Paul MachacekPaul MachacekSoftware Engineer
Test Manager
1988-Present
Profile PlaceholderPaul MountainSoftware Engineer1996-2015
Paul RahmePaul RahmeProgrammer2001-2006
Profile PlaceholderPhilip DunneArtist1995-2008
Profile PlaceholderPhil TossellSoftware Engineer1996-2010
Rob WareRob WareProgrammer2002-2009
Robin BeanlandinRobin BeanlandComposer
Music Director
1994-Present
Ross BuryRoss BurySenior Environment Artist1997-2009
Profile PlaceholderRyan StevensonArtist Director2001-Present
Sam ChesterSam ChesterLead Character Artist2013-Present
Shawn PileShawn PileSenior Software Engineer1996-2012
Susan RussellSusan RussellHR Manager2015-Present
Stephen McFarlaneStephen McFarlaneGraphic Designer1998-2013
Steve BurkeSteve BurkeComposer2001-2009
Steve EllisSteve EllisProgrammer1996-1999
Steve MalpassSteve MalpassGame Designer1997-2009
Steve MaylesSteve MaylesCharacter Art Director1992-2014
Steven HurstSteven HurstEnvironment Art Director1995-2011
Tim StamperTim StamperFounder
Creative Director
1985-2007
Topher WinwardTopher WinwardSoftware Development Engineer2014-Present
Tony WongTony WongProgrammer1995-2001
Valentine KozinValentine KozinPrincipal Technical Artist2012-Present
Victoria HallVictoria HallSenior Concept Artist2015-Present