During the E3 Xbox Press Conference, Rare introduced us to the Rare Replay collection, an all-in-one collection of an assortment of RARE classics from the 80s to the noughties. 30 games for $30 or its equivalent, and what a whopper bundle it is. But what benefit is it to Microsoft, putting so many titles on one collection?
This is something I have been pondering over since last night, while enjoying my dinner. The thought just popped into my head. 30 big and small games from the last 30 years of RARE’s history, and although one or two key titles fail to make the list, one of which is the Nintendo 64’s Goldeneye, a truly historic title, what RARE does include in its collection is truly eye-opening. Rare state that Goldeneye wasn’t ‘RARE enough’ to be featured on the list of games for the collection, and say that licensing was a secondary point as to why it was missing, although I imagine licensing had an awful lot to do with it.
Rumours over the past few months suggested a reboot of RARE’s Battletoads, but following E3, it’s clear to see that it is nowhere to be seen, bar the two original titles on the Rare Replay collection. So, was the collection built as a 30 year anniversary package to highlight RARE’s history, or did it also serve another purpose? Below, I’ll explain why I think it may be the latter.
When Microsoft bought RARE in 2002, it was easy to get excited by the prospect of what titles the Xbox console could soon be getting. It started with Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Conker: Live & Reloaded, Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero, and Viva Pinata. Things were going well. After Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, RARE’s development was suddenly transformed into the ‘Kinect studio’, making Kinect Sports titles, and concerns were raised. Half of the original RARE team had already left the studio, so RARE was RARE by name only, to a degree.
At E3 this year, we learned of their brand new IP called Sea of Thieves, an open world online pirate adventure game which looks stunning and colourful. We also learned of the Rare Replay collection. This collection features 30 games from RARE’s back catalogue, including all of the Xbox 360 games listed above, and I believe that the usage and attention each game receives, will decide what game gets a full make-over, or a follow-up title in the future.
If Battletoads is played to death, a new Battletoads game will seem more likely. If Banjo is the most played, of course another Banjo game will be considered, but with Yooka-Laylee on the way by Playtonic Games, a clash of interest might be raised, with that game being developed by many of the developers responsible for creating the Banjo-Kazooie universe. What if Jet Force Gemini is the crown jewel of the collection? Could we see a reboot or a sequel? Why not?
With modern gaming and its heavy reliance on online connectivity, it has been years since developers have started tracking statistics for their games, discovering how the players play their games, what achievements/trophies are unlocked, which indicate how many people complete the games, trail off towards the end, spend most of their gaming time online, and other interesting pieces of information. With each game offering achievements on the Rare Replay collection, of which there are 10,000 points over the 30 games, it would be a wise move for Microsoft and RARE to track the statistics and in a smart way, perform some market research and find out what the audience wants. We’ve often seen games being petitioned for, and desired by fans, but it’s only when the game releases, does it fail to hit the target with sales figures. With this collection, release all the games, and let the numbers talk.
The list of games appearing on the Rare Replay collection:
- Jetpac (1983)
- Atic Atac (1983)
- Lunar Jetman (1983)
- Sabre Wulf (1984)
- Underwurlde (1984)
- Knight Lore (1984)
- Gunfright (1985)
- Slalom (1986)
- R.C. Pro-Am (1987)
- Cobra Triangle (1989)
- Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll (1990)
- Digger T. Rock: The Legend of the Lost City (1990)
- Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship (1990)
- Battletoads (1991)
- R.C. Pro-Am II (1992)
- Battletoads Arcade (1994)
- Killer Instinct Gold (1996)
- Blast Corps (1997)
- Banjo-Kazooie (1998)
- Jet Force Gemini (1999)
- Perfect Dark (2000)
- Banjo-Tooie (2000)
- Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001)
- Grabbed by the Ghoulies (2003)
- Perfect Dark Zero (2005)
- Kameo: Elements of Power (2005)
- Viva Piñata (2006)
- Jetpac Refuelled (2007)
- Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (2008)
- Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise(2008)