The news was confirmed by Microsoft – which acquired Rare in 2002 for some $377m – yesterday evening to a number of US websites, including Next Generation, 1Up.com and Gamespot.
As the notoriously media-shy Stampers leave the company after 20 years, studio director Mark Betteridge will now be heading up the firm as studio director, with fellow Rare veteran Greg Mayles becoming creative director.
“Chris and Tim [Stamper] have helped shape Rare into the world-renowned development studio that it is today and their impact on the video game industry as a whole is well known,” Microsoft revealed to 1Up.com. “They are simply leaving to pursue other opportunities and we wish them luck in their future endeavours.”
Rare was founded in the early 1980s and was then known as Ultimate: Play The Game. Before being acquired by Microsoft, the studio was best known for creating the likes of Donkey Kong Country (SNES) and Goldeneye 007 (N64) for Nintendo. Since becoming part of the Microsoft group, Rare has released Conker: Live & Reloaded and Grabbed By The Ghoulies for the original Xbox format plus Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero for the 360 launch.
More recently, it has just shipped Viva Pinata, while a new Banjo Kazooie title is currently in production. Meanwhile, rumours abound that the company is also working on Killer Instinct 3 (a strong franchise that made its debut during the SNES era), although nothing has yet been confirmed.