Donnchadh Murphy is a professional 3D modeler from Ireland that worked on many of Rare’s best games. His body of work with the studio includes games like Killer Instinct Gold, Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements of Power, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. In an interview with NotEnoughShaders, he reveals that Rare planned to make Killer Instinct 3, but that Microsoft wouldn’t let them.
“We all wanted to make KI3, but Microsoft [was] more interested in broadening their demographic than making another fighting game. So it never got made, I doubt it ever will.
Murphy explains that everything at Rare changed after the company was put up for sale, with many unsure of the future of the company. Adding that there were mixed feelings when they found out that Microsoft had bought them.
“When they announced Microsoft was buying, a lot of people were unsure if it was a good or bad thing,” he said. “For one, MS had deep pockets so financial security seemed assured, but on the other hand they were relatively new to the games market, and complete infants in the console market. Personally I don’t think it was a great mix.”
He reveals that Microsoft’s plan for the studio hurt the studio creatively, limiting what they were capable of.
“At first it seemed that they wouldn’t interfere much, but it was soon clear that they were more interested in using Rare to help aim at a younger market. This stifled a lot of creativity, Rare was renowned for their diverse portfolio, so to not be involved in making Mature games was a real blow.”
Murphy admits that it was hard to take having so many incredibly people at the studio with so much experience, and yet Microsoft seemed to have no faith in their abilities.
“There [were] numerous projects that were put forward that I believe would have been huge hits, but MS rejected them one after the other. I remember seeing a couple of prototypes that Chris Seavor had designed and was working on, that looked amazing, but alas they got shelved.
It seemed that MS didn’t want to take the risk in Rare doing anything outside the younger demographic, they quickly forgot the company’s heritage. We started to lose a lot of great talent then, people were losing job satisfaction, so they just left.”
He concludes by stating that Rare’s success with Kinect Sports will hopefully show Microsoft that the studio is more than capable of handling bigger, more diverse projects. Even so it is very sad to hear that a sequel to one of my favorite fighting game franchises could of been made, but instead Microsoft had Rare work on Kinect games. Hopefully one day Microsoft will finally give them the chance to redeem themselves and bring back the ULTRA COMBO…