Veterans of the well-known British developer Rare have created their own studio. Playtonic Games was founded by six artists, programmers and designers from the studio that created games, like Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007. GamesIndustry.biz has confirmed that the six founding members are Gavin Price, Steven Hurst, Chris Sutherland, Jens Restemeier, Steve Mayles and Mark Stevenson. The new studio’s first title will be “Project Ukulele.” It will be the spiritual successor to the “fondly remembered” platformers that these developers worked on in the past. No further information has been made available. However more details are expected tomorrow in the February 12th edition of Edge Magazine.
“Playtonic’s the name, and fun games, unique characters and absolutely-frickin-amazing worlds to explore are our game. Or at least they will be, once we eventually get around to releasing our first project instead of faffing around on WordPress.” – an excerpt from the studio’s official site
Rare is one of the best-known video game developers in the industry. The studio was founded by Tim and Chris Stamper in 1985 as a subdivision of Ashby Computers & Graphics Ltd. These developers were dissatisfied with the ZX Spectrum, a British home computer, and chose to develop games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The latter was more sophisticated, was available worldwide and used cartridges that had no load times and were difficult to pirate.
In 1994 Nintendo bought a 49% stake in Rare and made it a second-party developer. This partnership led to the release of some amazing titles, like Donkey Kong Country and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. However it was not meant to last. In 2002 Microsoft bought the developer for $375 million. The studio became a first-party developer for Microsoft. Rare games continued to receive solid reviews, however sales didn’t match expectations. As a result, the studio was restructured in 2010 with a renewed focus on Kinect titles. That changed in 2014, when Microsoft abandoned the Kinect in order to bring down the Xbox One’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) due to the incredible success of the PlayStation 4 console. The future of one of the most prominent developers in the industry is currently in question.