Development pipeline at much-loved Microsoft-owned British studio under review with possible job losses

Rare restructures

Microsoft has confirmed to Develop that its UK studio Rare is currently undergoing a ‘review’ that could lead to job losses.

Coming as part of the organisational refocus already announced by Microsoft Game Studios in January, the move will see the world-renowned studio focus on three new areas, a statement said.

These are: "1) Expand the Xbox 360 customer base by delivering experiences that allow our customers to interact with our content in new and innovative ways", "2) Better support efforts to extend the appeal of Xbox LIVE as a social entertainment network to drive greater adoption across the Xbox 360 customer base" and "3) Continue delivering AAA gaming experiences that excite both our current and future customers".

The studio had already helped out not just on developing titles such as Banjo Kazooie for the 360, but also designed the new Avatar system for Xbox Live.

The Microsoft statement adds: "As we restructure to successfully execute against our shared strategy within this framework, we will be implementing a new approach to current projects in the pipeline that could serve as an industry-wide model for how to achieve a more efficient and scalable development process. In order to achieve these goals, the company is reviewing the current composition of its development teams and there is the possibility that a small number of current positions could be lost as a result of these changes."

Studio manager Mark Betteridge added: “As the entire industry struggles to address the increasing scale and cost of development, we too have felt a need to restructure our current approach so we can speed development and better manage the scale required to create high quality games. With four projects recently underway, now is the right time to make this change.

"Throughout its history, Rare has demonstrated a willingness to embrace new approaches and commitment to delivering game-changing experiences to our customers. This announcement is no different and builds on that tradition as we work with MGS to make interactive entertainment as culturally relevant in people’s lives as books, movies and television are today.”

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