Chris and Tim Stamper, the founders of famed UK developer Rare (Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye, Viva Pinata
) have left the company they started in 1982, according to a statement from current Rare owner Microsoft.
Speaking to consumer website 1UP
, an unnamed Microsoft spokesperson indicated that the duo have already left the company, adding: “"Chris and Tim have helped shape Rare into the world-renowned development studio that is it today and their impact on the videogame industry as a whole is well known. They are simply leaving to pursue other opportunities and we wish them luck in their future endeavors."
The brothers, together with Joel Hochberg, began publishing games as Ultimate Play The Game in 1983 on 8-bit computer formats such as the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64. During this period the company published classics such as Jetpac
, Sabre Wulf
and Knight Lore
, before selling the Ultimate name to U.S. Gold in 1985. From this period onwards they began developing primarily for Nintendo console formats, before officially becoming a second party developer following a non-controlling share investment from Nintendo.
Rare produced over 60 games for the NES, Game Boy, SNES and Nintendo 64 – including classics such as RC Pro-Am
, Donkey Kong Country
, GoldenEye 007
. The company produced only one title for the GameCube – the troubled Star Fox Adventures
– before being acquired by Microsoft in 2002 for $375 million.
The company’s famously media-shy nature, which was evident even in the Ultimate Play The Games era, has made it difficult to ascertain the exact influence that the Stampers have had on game development, although even the concept for the company’s most recent title, Viva Pinata
, was reputed have originated from them.
The developer’s secretive nature has also made repeated earlier stories of staff changes difficult to verify, although the 1UP article indicates that nineteen year company veteran Mark Betteridge will become the company’s new studio director, and Viva Pinata lead designer Gregg Mayles the new creative director.