Four years after Microsoft acquired Rare from Nintendo for the princely sum of $375-million, Chris and Tim Stamper ? two of the original three founders (the third being company president Joel Hochberg) ? have left the studio ?to pursue other opportunities?.
Microsoft has strongly denied rumours that the Stampers' departure is related to disappointing sales of Viva Piņata ? which has been enjoying unanimous praise and high review scores.
A Microsoft rep told 1UP that, "Chris and Tim have helped shape Rare into the world-renowned development studio that is it today and their impact on the videogame industry as a whole is well known. They are simply leaving to pursue other opportunities and we wish them luck in their future endeavours."
Despite Piņata?s good press, it?s generally accepted that since the Microsoft Game Studios take-over games such as: Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero on Xbox 360 and Conker: Live & Reloaded and Grabbed By the Ghoulies on the original Xbox, have not been as critically well received as the ?glory days? of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on N64.
What the Stampers are to do next is yet to be revealed, and SPOnG will be sure to let you know as soon as we find out. Mark Betteridge, a Rare employee of 19 years, takes over as studio director, while Gregg Mayles has been named as creative director.
Let?s just hope that the studios next game ? the new Banjo Kazooie for 360 announced at last year?s X06 ? maintains the production and gameplay qualities displayed in Viva Piņata.