Rare Responds to Being Labeled Outdated, Reacts to Ensemble Studio Closure

Last week, former Xbox executive Peter Moore fired some strong criticism at Microsoft subsidiary Rare and its Xbox 360 launch titles Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero.

"I think the industry had passed Rare by," said Moore, who later retracted the statement. "It's a strong statement, but what they were good at, new consumers didn't care about anymore.. their skillsets were from a different time and a different place and were not applicable in today's market."

Yesterday I had a chance to speak with Rare creative director Gregg Mayles, a company veteran who served as lead designer on the original Donkey Kong Country.

I queried Mayles' for a reaction to Moore's comments, as well as whether he feels nervous following the shutdown of fellow Microsoft-owned developer Ensemble Studios (Age of Empires, Halo Wars).

Shack: I wonder if you saw Peter Moore's recent comments?

Gregg Mayles: Yes, I did.

Shack: What was your reaction to that?

Gregg Mayles: Amusement, really. I personally don't tend to read a lot of internet comments, rumor and gossip, or even reviews of the games I've worked on, whether positive or negative. They kind of influence your thinking, and steer your down certain roads that if you hadn't read it, you probably wouldn't have gone down.

A lot of things are said, and they can be taken the wrong way. I'm certainly not offended by it, and as I say, just found it kind of amusing. I mean we've always said play the games, and if you enjoy them that's great. If not, we'll try harder next time.

Shack: What was your reaction to [Age of Empires and Halo Wars developer] Ensemble Studios being shut down by Microsoft?

Gregg Mayles: Surprise like everybody else. I mean we kind of don't know the exact details. There must have been a good reason behind it.

Shack: Does it give you pause? Are you concerned at all about Rare, or are you fairly comfortable at Microsoft?

Gregg Mayles: Eh, I think if you feel too secure that's kind of a--that's a bad thing, because you get into kind of a comfy mode. We're always trying to push what's possible and think of new ways of doing things, and kind of look at ourselves and the games we do. Whether people want to play them is ultimately how we'll be judged, and how people will look back on us in years to come.

I think if you worry about things too much it kind of changes your vision of what you should be looking at. All we can do is make the best games we possibly can, and try and entertain players. And that's what we do, and that's what we'll continue to do for as long as possible.

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 25, 2008 11:13 AM

    I really hate it when execs publicly denounce other studios. Just makes them look terrible and reflects poorly on the company.

    • reply
      September 25, 2008 12:19 PM

      They usually only do it when the studio in question is so irrelevant that they are safe to make negative comments about. And if Rare doesn't read comments about them or their games it is even safer to make comments about them.