With the recent news that Microsoft will be breathing new life into a ‘historic’ Rare franchise, a light bulb fired in my head. Could this be Microsoft’s attempt to appeal to the playful/children’s market that Nintendo has been rooted in for so many years?
Microsoft nor Rare have offered any insight to which franchise will be making a return; however, most of Rare’s franchises have been well known within the gaming community since the N64 era. I would even argue that Rare’s cast of characters and franchises are more recognizable and lovable than the majority of Microsoft’s and Sony’s combined.
After the Xbox One reveal, my “one” big take away was that Microsoft’s focus is not specifically the gaming market, but all markets. It’s not to say that people don’t love the Halo, Fable, and Gear of War franchises, but why not capitalize on a children’s market?
After the seemingly disappointing failure of Sony’s Playstation All-Stars and Nintendo’s continually draw of fantastic IP, Microsoft surely recognizes the importance of having a recognizable cast of characters to market to all-players, children through adults. While Nintendo’s consoles may not appeal to many, their franchises surely do. Colorful legends like Mario, Zelda, and Star Fox appeal not only to the child within the adult gamer but also to children and the parents buying their games.
While Killer Instinct is the rumored refresh, it surely would not serve as the greatest marketing strategy; however, the select few of playful characters such as Banzo-Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini, and Battletoads could easily garner notoriety. Tone down a character like Conker and you’ve got another to add to the mix. While Donkey Kong is out of the question, Rare could take a lesson from Nintendo and develop a few more fun loving characters for each genre (Star Fox = dogfighter, Metroid = FPS, Mario = platformer, Zelda = adventure).
With a revival of Rare’s IP, Microsoft could pull the franchise rug out from under Nintendo and make their gaming line-up more recognizable, vast, and nostalgic than Sony’s.
What are your thoughts on the Rare announcement? Do you miss Rare Ltd.? Sound off in the comments!
Notable Rare franchises/games:
- Killer Instinct
- Jet Force Gemini
- Perfect Dark
- Donkey Kong 64
Originally posted on IGN.com