Posted Mon May 19, 2014 at 09:31 AM PDT by Brian Hoss
Layoffs reflect a change in "methodology" at the storied studio.
In the wake of 'Kinect Sports: Rivals' and the introduction of a Kinect-less Xbox One, Microsoft has laid off some 20 employees at Rare. The layoffs are part of what Microsoft has referred to as "a change [in] our development process and methodology at Rare" and include several senior staff members.
Chris Sutherland, a 20 year plus veteran of Rare, who worked as lead programmer on 'Battletoads,' the three 'Donkey Kong Country' titles and the Banjo-Kazooie games, (he even voiced the bear and bird), is among the layoffs. Likewise, Gavin Price, who worked as a designer on 'Viva Pinata' and 'Grabbed by the Ghoulies,' has, according to CVG, been let go.
Phil Spencer had already stated last week that Rare's next game was not set, begging the question of whether Rare would continue to be focused on Kinect. Spencer was adamant that the decision was up to Rare. "[Rare has] just come off the successful launch of Kinect Sports Rivals. I think I've heard a few times from people asking about Rare - they're in the process of evaluating what they want to do next, and we're working closely with them to see what their new project will be."
Microsoft's has issued a statement regarding the layoffs, "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."
With Rare's efforts serving as Microsoft's biggest swing at the Xbox One Kinect thus far, the aim of developer's next project should go a long way towards illustrating Microsoft's current Kinect strategy.
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