In 2002 Activision almost bought Rare according to Xbox co-creator Ed Fries. Rare, the developer of classics such as Golden Eye and Banjo-Kazooie almost fell into the hands of Activision 14 years ago but luckily Microsoft was able to seal the deal and acquire the Viva Pinata developer in the nick of time.
“Who knows what could have happened with Rare.” Fries says in an interview with IGN as he discusses the possible future of the studio had it been acquired by Activision and not Microsoft. “So we put in a bid and then Activision outbid us, and it looked like we were going to lose the deal,” Fries continues. “And then at the very last minute Robbie [Bach] increased our bid and we won the deal. And that was it.”
The last minute bid by the former head of Xbox was by no means a small amount of money, costing the company a whopping $375 million, which at the time was the most expensive acquisition the games industry had ever seen, only being topped in 2005.
According to a Eurogamer story in 2012, EA, Disney, and Nintendo were all interested in bringing Rare under their respective roofs and at one time Nintendo may have been the perfect match.
Rare is well known for developing some of the Nintendo’s biggest games including GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie. There even was a time when Nintendo owned a significant chunk of the British developer, at its peak, it controlled 49% of the company.
In 2002 Fries said this of the purchase: “The last time I was this excited was the first time I picked up a controller and played a game from Rare.” But it was almost not to be for Microsoft as Rare was all but committed to joining Activision in order to have the ability to release their games on all platforms instead of being forced onto just one, however, Activision pulled out of the deal and the rest is history.
Rare are currently hard at work newest title Sea of Thieves which is due out on Xbox One and PC in 2017. Take a look below at the trailer they debuted at E3 and let us know what you think in the comments section!