The studio, not Microsoft, has to decide to bring them back.
The Xbox One generation has seen Rare successfully redefining itself after some tumultuous years under Microsoft’s leadership, but it’s still a very different developer from what it used to be back in the day. During the N64 era, under Nintendo’s ownership, Rare was constantly developer industry-defining titles such as Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
Of course, Microsoft owns these franchises now, and all of these have been dormant for a long time, which means there’s been more than a few questions about and demands for their revivals. If reports are to be believed, we might see Perfect Dark returning to some extent not long from now– but what about the likes of Banjo-Kazooie and Conker? Banjo particular is a franchise that millions of fans have been begging for a revival of.
According to Xbox boss Phil Spencer though, whether or not those franchises will come back isn’t a decision that has to be made by Microsoft, but one that has to be made by Rare. Speaking in a recent interview with Kotaku, Spencer said that those revivals are up to the studio, before adding that Rare liked trying out new things, mentioning Sea of Thieves, the upcoming Everwild, and the recently released Battletoads.
“I leave it up to the studios in terms of the things that they want to go work on,” Spencer said. “I have a lot of respect for Rare and the work that they do. They do like building new things, and they’ve seen success with Sea of Thieves. I think they’re really excited about Everwild. But also the response to Battletoads was nice. And I think [partner studio] Dlala did a good job with the game. And so I think it’s just always a balance. My inbox is full of: ‘Let every studio do new [intellectual property].’ And also: ‘Why have you brought back Crimson Skies and Blinx?
There’s been no shortage of Banjo-Kazooie rumours over the years, of course. Just in the last year or so, Yooka-Laylee developer Playtonic has had to make multiple statements to quash rumours that it was developing a new Banjo game.
Meanwhile, Rare’s Everwild is currently in development for Xbox Series X/S and PC, but has no firm release window. Sea of Thieves will be optimized for the next-gen consoles at launch.