It seems most of the original team at Rare have moved on to greener pastures. Here are a couple names which I managed to track down:
– The Stamper Brothers left in 2007 after Viva Pinata and although they still work at the old Rare HQ, which belongs to them, it is yet undetermined what they are up to. Some have claimed they are working in land development.
– David Doak, Steve Ellis, Karl Hilton, Graeme Norgate and Lee Ray all left Rare in 1999 to form Free Radical Design, where they worked together on the TimeSplitters series, which is the true spiritual successor to FPS classics of the old Rare. (Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark) In 2009, the company was swallowed up by Crytek and became known as Crytek UK where they work on the Crysis series.
– Steve Malpass left in 2009 to work at Shutterfox as a photographer, although he currently is working with Microsoft again in a different capacity.
– Chris Peil was an artist for 20 years at Rare (!) but finally left the company in 2009.
– David Buttress left the company to make his own studio, Don’t Step On the Cracks, where he has worked on a few smaller indie titles, such as On the Wind.
– David Wise, the famous composer, left in 2009 and formed the “David Wise Sound Studio”.
– Grant Kirkhope, who worked alongside David Wise on some of the most iconic Rare tunes, left in 2008 and joined Big Huge Games. There he composed the audio for Kingdoms of Amalur. He also composed for Zynga.
– Steven Hurst, an artist for Rare, left in 2008.
The reason the last two are significant to this story is because they are part of an ex-Rare group represented on Twitter, who are looking to create the spiritual successor to Banjo-Tooie. The Twitter profile is called MingyJongo and their purpose is to bring together some of the core team of Banjo games and make the sequel that we’ve been waiting for. One mystery behind all the excitement is who is running the Twitter profile. The other two members are treating him/her as one of the original Banjo team members but we have no clue as to the identity of this anonymous member who just goes by MingyJongo.
Some of the significant tweets so far:
– Unity will probably be perfect for our spiritual successor. I’m thinking keeping level of detail and googly eyes close to the original .
– …maybe Kickstarter is the way to go for our game??
– Don’t you just love the little easter eggs and references we put into our games! We’ll do more of the same …
– So, what is this twitter [account] all about? Right. Firstly, it is to test the waters really, about whether anyone would even think making a game that shares that same kind of humour, silly characters, fun game play, great tunes and all that stuff that we enjoy making.
– It wouldn’t be to try and recreate Banjo. It would be something new.
– And remember we’re not talking about making Banjo. We want to make something new but (hopefully) with that same magic.