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If you grew up in the era where the name “Rare” meant something, you might be excited about this bit of news. If you grew up in the era where “Rare” meant Kinect games and cheap cash-ins, you're probably a little less excited about the news. Nevertheless, Microsoft has plans to bring back Battletoads, Banjoe-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Viva Pinata and Blast Corps.
Gamespot caught some key quotes from an Inner Circle podcast, where Microsoft Studios creative director Ken Lobb expressed – on behalf of the company – Microsoft's stance and where they are with the aforementioned IPs.
The company recently renewed the IP for Battletoads, but Lobb makes it known that gamers shouldn't hold their breath for anything too soon starring the mutant toads, saying...
"So we renewed the trademark. Does that mean it's coming this year? No. Does that mean it'll never come? Absolutely not. We have a lot of passion internally for each of the games. And we have surprises in store in the near and long future."
One of Microsoft's biggest drawbacks at the moment is their lack of individual, exclusive intellectual properties. Nintendo has been ramping up lately with many hard-hitting first-party releases, and Sony has focused on acquiring as many third-party exclusive deals as possible. That leaves Microsoft with fewer indies and mid-budget exclusives than Sony, and yet also fewer first-party exclusives when compared to Nintendo.
The company is in a software vice grip.
Microsoft managed to squeeze by throughout November and December thanks to a brief price cut on the Xbox One down to $350, but they'll need to rely on more than just a few discount gimmicks if they want to stay relevant throughout the eighth generation of home gaming.
Well, Lobb actually has an answer for the above conundrum. He states...
"Understand that what it's really about is we want to build this suite of IP that we can add to a list of, 'Let's build some new things, let's build some recent sequels, and let's do some crazy stuff like dig back into our portfolio of IP and build some games that people love,'"
I think that's an invitation to say that some of these titles are pretty far off from release. In fact, don't expect to see anything soon from Perfect Dark. Following on the abysmal failure that was Perfect Dark Zero on the Xbox 360, Microsoft has been reluctant and cautious to ever go near that name again.
According to Lobb, Perfect Dark doesn't have to be a first-person shooter. He mentions that the brand could live on, mostly focusing on the story of Joanna Dark instead of relying solely on the action. Lobb throws around the idea of a third-person stealth title... I don't think it's a bad idea, but then I'm quickly reminded of poor knockoffs like Velvet Assassin or Remember Me, where they wanted to focus on the characters but didn't have interesting characters to focus on.
Anyway, while we're unlikely to see a Battletoads or Perfect Dark game anytime soon, maybe there's still hope for Blast Corps and Viva Pinata? … Maybe?