Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rare Founders Leave to ‘Pursue Other Opportunities’

Chris and Tim Stamper, two of Rare Ltd.’s (Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark and Viva Pinata) three founders have left the studio. While the news surfaces in the wake of disappointing sales figures for Rare’s excellent Viva Pinata, Microsoft told 1UP that sluggish Pinata sales had “absolutely” nothing to do with their departure.

“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 endeavors.”

The Stampers’ exodus comes just four years after Microsoft acquired Rare from Nintendo for $375M. Since that acquisition, Rare has published five games for Microsoft Game Studios. In addition to Pinata, the Rare released Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero at the Xbox 360’s launch and shipped Conker: Live & Reloaded and Grabbed By the Ghoulies on the original Xbox. While it seems unlikely that Microsoft has recouped their original investment in Rare, the company maintains that the studio is “the cornerstone of Microsoft Game Studios’ broadening strategy.”

Microsoft told 1UP that Mark Betteridge, a 19-year-veteran of the Rare team, and Gregg Mayles will succeed the Stampers as Studio Director and Creative Director, respectively.

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