Nintendo's stake purchase allowed Rare to expand significantly. The number of staff members increased from 84 to 250, and Rare moved out from their headquarters at the Manor Farmhouse. Rare also developed a CGI arcade fighting game, Killer Instinct, on their own custom-built arcade machine. Killer Instinct was set to be released for Nintendo's own 64-bit system, the Nintendo 64 in 1995, but was forced to release the game for the 16-bit SNES system, and had to downgrade the game's graphics. Killer Instinct sold 3.2 million copies, and was followed by a sequel, Killer Instinct 2. Killer Instinct Gold, the console version of Killer Instinct 2, suffered from a graphical downgrade due to the compression technology used to fit the arcade version onto the smaller Nintendo 64 cartridge.
Rare then developed Blast Corps for the Nintendo 64. The game sold one million copies, which was considered disappointing by Rare. At that time, Rare was split into several teams, working on different projects. A large-scaled platformer was set to be released afterwards but was delayed. As a result, Rare changed their schedule and released their smaller projects first. The first project was GoldenEye 007, a game based on the titular film. The project was led by Martin Hollis and development was conducted by an inexperienced team. Inspired by Sega's Virtua Cop, Goldeneye 007 had originally been an on-rail shooter before the team decided to expand the gameplay and turn it into a free-roaming first-person shooter. New elements, such as stealth, headshot mechanics and reloading, were introduced. A split-screen multiplayer was added to the game by the end of its development. GoldenEye 007 was the first console first-person shooter developed by Rare and it was released two years after the release of the film. The game received critical praise and received numerous awards. Goldeneye 007 remained as one of the best-selling games for two years, and sold more than eight million units worldwide.
Rare then developed Diddy Kong Racing, their first self-published game. Originally intended as a real-time strategy game involving cavemen, the game was re-imagined into a racing game prior to its release in 1997. It was one of the fastest selling games at the time, as recorded by The Guinness Book of Records. Diddy Kong Racing also features protagonists from some future Rare games, including Banjo and Conker. At the time, Rare was still working on the large-scale platform game. Originally codenamed Dream: Land of Giants, it was a game featuring a young boy named Edison and pirates. The protagonist was then replaced by a bear known as Banjo, and Rare expanded the role of Kazooie the bird. The two characters were inspired by characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios films and Rare hoped that they could appeal to a younger audience. Banjo-Kazooie was released in June 1998 to critical acclaim. A sequel, Banjo Tooie, was released in 2000.It was a critical success and it outsold the first game, selling 3 million copies.
Upon the completion of Banjo-Kazooie's development, Hollis immediately began another project. Originally set to be a tie-in for Tomorrow Never Dies, Rare was significantly outbid by another publisher, forcing Rare to develop a new concept with new characters. With a major emphasis on lighting, the game was named Perfect Dark. Hollis left Rare for Nintendo 14 months after the start of Perfect Dark's development. Around the same time, numerous employees left the company and formed new studios. With major project leads departing, a new team took over its development and diminished the role of lighting in the game, making it a more straightforward first-person shooter. Despite the game's troubled development, it did not affect the progress of Rare's other teams. When Perfect Dark was still in development, Rare released two other titles, Jet Force Gemini and Donkey Kong 64. In 1999, Nintendo signed an agreement with Disney, and assigned Rare to develop several racing and adventure games featuring Mickey Mouse. The project later became Mickey's Speedway USA and Mickey Racing Adventure. Perfect Dark eventually resurfaced and it was released in 2000 to critical acclaim. The game sold approximately 2 million copies.
Conker the Squirrel also had its own game. Originally named Conker's Quest, the title was renamed to Twelve Tales: Conker 64. However, the new title was criticised for being too family-friendly and too similar to Banjo-Kazooie. As a result, the team renamed the game to Conker's Bad Fur Day and was re-revealed again in 2000. Conker's Bad Fur Day, unlike Banjo-Kazooie, was intended for a mature audience, and features violence, profanity and scatological humour. The game received positive reviews from critics, but was a commercial failure as the game was released at the end of the Nintendo 64's life cycle and the game was not actively promoted by Nintendo.
After the completion of Diddy Kong Racing, another team was working on a new game known as Dinosaur Planet for the Nintendo 64. However, Shigeru Miyamoto, a Nintendo executive, suggested the team to recreate the game as a Star Fox title for Nintendo's new console, the GameCube. Unlike previous Star Fox games, Star Fox Adventures focused on ground-based open world exploration. The game received positive reviews upon its launch in 2002. Star Fox Adventures was the only game developed by Rare for GameCube. -Wikipedia
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