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Layoffs hit Rare following Kinect Sports Rivals flop

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#1 Audioboxer

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 14:24

Microsoft-owned developer Rare has suffered layoffs after the release of Xbox One exclusive Kinect Sports Rivals failed to set tills alight, Eurogamer can reveal.
 
Multiple, separate sources indicated to Eurogamer that the studio, which has focused on the Kinect Sports series in recent years, had recently suffered layoffs.
 
A Microsoft spokesperson issued Eurogamer the following statement this afternoon:
 
"At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences. As part of Rare's commitment to this goal, we have made a decision to change our development process and methodology at Rare to best support our future projects, this has led to us reviewing the skills and the makeup of our development teams in our business.
 
"Rare continues to invest in our people and future projects."
 
While Microsoft did not confirm how many people had been let go, Eurogamer understands the number is around 16, a figure one source said was made up of some software staff, but mainly design and project managers. Kinect Sports Rivals was a 150 person project.
 
Microsoft also declined to explain why the changes were made, but the sales performance of the recently-released Kinect Sports Rivals may have played a part. It had been intended as an Xbox One launch title, but was delayed to April. When it did release, it entered the UK all-formats chart in 14th place. One source indicated to Eurogamer Rare suffered a significant loss on the project.

 

Update: Sources close to the Microsoft-owned studio indicated that just under 20 employees are set to depart, including veteran programmer Chris Sutherland, who has worked on Rare games for more than 20-years.
 
During his distinguished career Sutherland acted as lead programmer on Battletoads, as well as all three Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie games. He's also known as the 'voice' of the latter's bear and bird protagonists.
 
CVG sources indicate that designer Gavin Price will also leave Rare, after a 15-year career which saw him work on Viva Pinata, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and a number of unannounced, cancelled projects.

 

Source: http://www.eurogamer...rts-rivals-flop

 

Sadly going to happen after how it sold, RARE just can't catch a break. Maybe their next title should be Viva Pinata 2  :shiftyninja:




#2 Lord Method Man

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 14:36

Think this game may have contributed to Kinect being unbundled? Maybe its sales failure alerted MS to the fact that motion controlled gaming isn't exactly the bees' knees anymore.



#3 Andrew

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 14:45

Reducing Rare to a kinect factory was never going to end well.

 

Sadly, I don't think they have many days left. The devs who worked on the flagship titles left years ago and it's a shadow if it's former self. Shame :(



#4 The Teej

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 14:45

Think this game may have contributed to Kinect being unbundled? Maybe its sales failure alerted MS to the fact that motion controlled gaming isn't exactly the bees' knees anymore.

 

The thing is Kinect is a lot more than just motion controlled gaming, although that is a big subset of its features. Quite frankly, I'm more interested in the combination of voice control and motion control combined - even though things like hand gestures.

 

While I'm not a massive COD player, I really hope COD AW takes good advantage of Kinect 2. Like wise, the new RTS game that's rumoured should hopefully take advantage of it too.

 

Kinect Sports 2 simply isn't a big pull, regardless of Kinect integration. The Wii sports fad passed ages ago - unless it's a serious sports/fitness sim, it's got no chance of survival.



#5 OP Audioboxer

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 14:47

The thing is Kinect is a lot more than just motion controlled gaming, although that is a big subset of its features. Quite frankly, I'm more interested in the combination of voice control and motion control combined - even though things like hand gestures.

 

While I'm not a massive COD player, I really hope COD AW takes good advantage of Kinect 2. Like wise, the new RTS game that's rumoured should hopefully take advantage of it too.

 

Kinect Sports 2 simply isn't a big pull, regardless of Kinect integration. The Wii sports fad passed ages ago - unless it's a serious sports/fitness sim, it's got no chance of survival.

 

COD is always going to be ruled by lightning fast reflexes/button pushes, not voice commands. That's the problem with motion gaming, it never sticks. Always tried and once the initial fun wears off people revert.



#6 Houtei

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 14:59

Yeah but no one ever has said you have to do away with the controller to add kinect motion or voice commands ontop of it.  For instance in COD you can say things like RELOAD to reload instead of hitting the button or in the single player levels with the dog riley you can say like riley attack! or several other commands to him which is a hell of a lot better than have to stop what your doing with your own guy to open up some menu to command him.

 

On battlefield you can lean slightlly to make you character lean around corners

 

And more on topic kinect sports sucked. A few of the games are fun for a bit but yeah.  As big of a fan as i am of kinect i do not like kinect only games that much but adding kinect abilities ontop of a controller is awesome.



#7 OP Audioboxer

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 15:02

Yeah but no one ever has said you have to do away with the controller to add kinect motion or voice commands ontop of it.  For instance in COD you can say things like RELOAD to reload instead of hitting the button or in the single player levels with the dog riley you can say like riley attack! or several other commands to him which is a hell of a lot better than have to stop what your doing with your own guy to open up some menu to command him.

 

On battlefield you can lean slightlly to make you character lean around corners

 

I know you could do these things, but lets look at the long term implications of reload? How often do you think you reload during 1 match? Lots. I mean each to their own but anyone who could put up with saying reload every time they need to for 6 months straight is in a different class from me  :rofl:



#8 PGHammer

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 15:07

COD is always going to be ruled by lightning fast reflexes/button pushes, not voice commands. That's the problem with motion gaming, it never sticks. Always tried and once the initial fun wears off people revert.

It's more that people revert for the same reason that touch is a niche use - it's too different.

 

In fact, look at voice-command in computing (and specifically Windows) - has ANYONE realized that Windows has been capable of it (via either third-party software or natively) for as long as there has been a Start menu?  At the very least, Dragon Naturally Speaking has been around that long, as it dates back to - don't faint! - Windows 3.x.  If anything, it has gotten easier to use, AND it has also gotten easier to add (in terms of hardware AND software support) - in fact, it's part of the operating-system core in Windows 8.x today.  Yet how much is it used, despite the utter ubiquity?  (Hyper-V, if not virtualization in general, is talked up more in terms of Windows 8+'s feature set - and that has HIGHER requirements than voice-command - and virtualization itself in general, and Hyper-V in particular, is known to be an outlier feature.)

 

Users may SAY they want more features (in terms of consoles, Windows, computring in general, etc) - however, how many of us actually USE them when it gets down to brass tacks?

 

Staying put in general is easier than learning a new way of doing something.



#9 Houtei

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 15:07

lol yeah im def not saying it everytime but every once in a while ive done it in certain situations but yeah you cant be yelling that for everytime.  Not to mention how stupid you sound to people in your house yelling RELOAD! every 5 seconds



#10 trooper11

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 15:26

Kinect is old news, time to move on :laugh:

just enjoy what you have at this point.

Rare is definitely feeling the hit from MS' choice and poor sales of Rivals. Unbundling Kinect was just the last straw.

My guess is that MS will reform Rare into a standard game development team and hire in new talent like they did for 343i. That could take a couple years though. Also, at least some people at Rare also help the UI team, so maybe those people will just be moved around.