Rare Limited, also known as Rareware or simply Rare, is a British video game company founded in 1985. They developed many Donkey Kong series games, including the original Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land trilogies.
Rare was the successor for the defuct video game company called Ultimate Play the Game (1982-1987). Early, Rare developed games for the Family Computer/Nintendo Entertainment System, including Wizards & Warriors, R.C. Pro-Am and Battletoads (1991). After the success of these titles, Rare became a second-party developer for the Nintendo between 1994 and 2002, creating games such as Killer Instinct (1994), GoldenEye 007 (1997), Banjo-Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark and Conker's Bad Fur Day. During the same period, Rare also developed the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land series as sequels for the Nintendo's classic Donkey Kong series. These new series did protagonize Donkey Kong, a new character and the grandson of the former Donkey Kong Sr. (currently known as Cranky Kong), and they did introduce many original characters, including new members of the Kong Family and the Kremlings. Rare received great recognition and critical acclaim for their games.
In 2002, Rare was acquired by Microsoft Game Studios. All rights for the original games and characters, except for the Donkey Kong games, become owned by Microsoft, such as the Banjo-Kazooie and Conker series. Despite this causing the cancellation of some games (see Canceled games section below), later on, Rare did develop remakes of some of their Donkey Kong games for new Nintendo systems.
Under Microsoft's exclusive releases, Rare was responsible for developing many games, including Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Conker: Live & Reloaded, Perfect Dark Zero, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Killer Instinct (2013) and Sea of Thieves. The games Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, former exclusives for the Nintendo 64, were re-released as enhanced ports for the Xbox 360. Both games, alongside Conker's Bad Fur Day and many other original games created by Ultimate Play the Game and Rare, were re-released on a compilation called Rare Replay for the Xbox One in 2015.
List of Donkey Kong games developed by Rare
- Donkey Kong Country for Super Family Computer/Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1994)
- Donkey Kong Land for Game Boy (1995)
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest for SFC/SNES (1995)
- Donkey Kong Land 2 for Game Boy (1996)
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! for SFC/SNES (1996)
- Donkey Kong Land III for Game Boy (1997)
- Diddy Kong Racing for Nintendo 64 (1997)
- Donkey Kong 64 for Nintendo 64 (1999)
- Donkey Kong GB: Dinky Kong & Dixie Kong for Game Boy Color (2000)
- Donkey Kong Country for GBC (2000-2001)
- Donkey Kong Country for Game Boy Advance (2003)
- Donkey Kong Country 2 for GBA (2004)
- Donkey Kong Country 3 for GBA (2005)
- Diddy Kong Racing DS for Nintendo DS (2007)
- Donkey Kong Racing (canceled in 2002)
- Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers (canceled in 2002, and repurposed as the game It's Mr. Pants for GBA (2004-2005))
- Diddy Kong Pilot (canceled in 2002, and repurposed as the game Banjo-Pilot for GBA (2005))
- In the game Donkey Kong 64 for Nintendo 64, if the player is able to collect at least fifteen Banana Medals, they can visit any Cranky's Labs and play the shooting minigame Jetpac. By scoring at least 5,000 points, the player earns the Rareware Coin. Jetpac was the first game developed and published by Ultimate Play the Game (Rare's predecessor) for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore VIC-20 in 1983, and BBC Micro in 1984.
- Except for the remakes of the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy and Diddy Kong Racing, the last Nintendo's first-party title developed by Rare was the game Star Fox Adventures released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. It was repurposed from the canceled game called Dinosaur Planet, also created by Rare, which was set to be released on the Nintendo 64.
- Some games developed by Rare for portable systems, especially the Game Boy Color, contain a hidden easter egg shaped like a cow. Currently, the "Rare Cow" has been found in the titles Conker's Pocket Tales, Mickey's Racing Adventure, Perfect Dark for GBC, Donkey Kong Country for GBC, Mickey's Speedway USA for GBC, Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, Sabre Wulf for GBA, and It's Mr. Pants.
- The Cranky's Cabin in the GBA version of the game Donkey Kong Country was remodeled, taking place inside it. There are also objects in the interior referencing some original games created by Rare, including Sabre Wulf for GBA, Grabbed by the Ghoulies and Banjo-Kazooie.
- Despite the characters Banjo and Conker the Squirrel, including their respective game series, being currently owned by Microsoft Game Studios, their first appearances as playable characters were in the game Diddy Kong Racing for Nintendo 64.
- Because of this, in the game remake, Diddy Kong Racing DS for Nintendo DS, Banjo and Conker were replaced by Tiny and Dixie Kong as playable characters, respectively.
- On September 4, 2019, Banjo & Kazooie were included as a playable fighter duo in the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch.
- The Nintendo 64 version of the game Banjo-Kazooie was re-released on the Nintendo Switch exclusively via the subscription service Nintendo Switch Online on January 20, 2022.
- In 2014, former members of Rare have created a video game company called Playtonic Games. Founder staff includes Steve Mayles, Gavin Price, Mark Stevenson and Chris Sutherland, and later being joined by Kevin Bayliss, Grant Kirkhope and David Wise. Playtonic Games has developed the games Yooka-Laylee and Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair.
- Retro Studios, alongside Monster Games, Inc., was responsible for the development of direct game sequels of the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy. Coincidentally, both Rare and Retro are western game companies which have developed first-party titles for Nintendo. Retro is also a subsidiary of Nintendo, a similar position held by Rare prior to their acquisition by Microsoft.
- Rare's current official website
- Rare's official website between 1998 and 2013 (saved on Wayback Machine)
- Rare on Wikipedia