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Happy Holidays from All of Us at Rare

We’re all off to enjoy some mince pies, mulled wine and festive fun before we come back rested in the new year to bring you all Kinect Sports Rivals. We hope you have a wonderful holiday break.Christmas_1_sm

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20
Dec
2013

Kinect Sports Rivals Peaks in Paris

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Last week saw Kinect Sports Rivals get a little continental with a trip to Paris Games Week. Attendees had the chance to trial Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason, which goes live alongside the Xbox One launch later in November. Producers and EG Expo veterans Mike and Adam were once again our men on the scene, and once again Mike brought us back some lovely words…

At the very end of October, the Kinect Sports Rivals promotional bandwagon rolled into Paris with Rare’s very own Ant and Dec (supposedly I’m Ant) sent over to entertain the crowds and give away five more opportunities to become a Champion at launch.

We arrived on Tuesday. With VIPs and press getting early access to the pre-Paris Games Week party, we set up two kits with the just-announced Preseason build ready for an evening of games and responsible drinking. The constant queue kept us busy until midnight.

Wednesday at 9am, the doors to Paris Games Week literally swung open. With a total of four kits to keep the masses entertained, we needed help. In stepped the boundless enthusiasm of our Xbox demo crew who handled all the non-English speaking gamers, which turned out to be the vast majority of attendees.

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08
Nov
2013

Halloween at Rare HQ

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We’re a hive of games dev worker bees here at Rare at the moment, buzzing madly around Kinect Sports Rivals. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t afford a little bit of time to unleash our creative sides and celebrate Halloween!

Last week we saw some of the most creatively carved pumpkins ever seen and some impressive fancy dress to boot. The scariest part of the Rare Halloween celebrations? The art team skulking around wearing identical masks. Sinister!

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We hope that you all had a suitably spooky Halloween, and that you’re not suffering too much of a sugar hangover from a weekend of Halloween sweets and (for the Brits) Bonfire Night toffee apples. Click the images below to see them in full!

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05
Nov
2013

Kinect Sports Rivals Enters EG Expo

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As the UK’s biggest public gaming event, it would have been rude to neglect the 2013 Eurogamer Expo as we came off the back of Gamescom, PAX and the Tokyo Game Show. More than that, we wanted to make an impression on our home turf. This called for some Rare representatives with serious star power to weave a magnetic spectacle as they demonstrated KSR to eager crowds. As it turned out, only producers Mike and Adam were available. Zing! But how did they do? Over to Mike…

Attending public gaming events is always an interesting experience. The people you meet, the games you play and the feedback you receive all combine to create an event that’s every bit as exciting as it is tiring. With the Eurogamer Expo completed for another year, here’s a whistle-stop summary for those of you not lucky enough to attend.

Myself, Adam and studio head Craig manned the three demo pods, alongside Claire and Dan from the Xbox demo team, with engineers Jafar and Pete offering much-needed cover over the weekend. It was also up to me and Adam to entertain the crowds every couple of hours by demoing live on the Xbox stage. With everything prepped on Wednesday, all that was left was four days of continuous demos to over 70,000 attendees.

The doors opened at 10am on Thursday.

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14
Oct
2013

Kinect Sports Rivals Takes Tokyo

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In the latter half of September, Producer Harry Robinson and Software Director Andy Dennison from the Rare fun club headed over to Japan to showcase Kinect Sports Rivals at the Tokyo Game Show. Now that he’s recovered, Harry gives us a rundown of how it all went. Read on for the skinny and some photos of the booth, TGS antics and Tokyo sightseeing. Jealous? Us? Not at all… (maybe a bit).

After a few long days speaking with people and demoing the game, I’m delighted to say that Kinect Sports Rivals had an incredibly good showing at Tokyo Game Show.

During the two press days, all four booths were in constant use, with members of the media playing, filming and conducting interviews to find out more about the game and the next version of Kinect. The Japanese teams handled all Japanese speakers and I covered all English speakers, including some TV stations in Canada, Australia and Thailand as well as a bunch of websites.

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From what I could tell, all feedback was positive, with many people surprised at how much they enjoyed the experience. Wake Racing and Climbing were both on show, and I can’t count the number of times I saw the light click on in people’s heads when they started playing Wake Racing as intended (like a bike) and really got a sense of how the game is meant to feel when played properly.

The stage demos were a big hit too, with the build perfectly producing an immaculate ‘Harry-san’ Champion twice a day that blew people away. It was a perfect accompaniment to the Kinect evolution demo that preceded it, connecting so many of the technology threads into one mighty showcase. As well as being visible from the stage itself, this was also broadcast live to a huge screen above the giant Titanfall mech (accompanied by booth girls) that was a consistently busy spot throughout the day.

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03
Oct
2013

Scoring for SpecialEffect

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Those of you who keep up to date with Rare’s goings-on will know that we’ve been doing some fundraising work for SpecialEffect, a great charity set up to help people with physical impairments enjoy video games, adapting equipment to suit their specific needs. This month, SpecialEffect held a football tournament at (well, near) Wembley where games industry teams battled it out for honour and victory. Rare’s team captain James Thomas gives us a full match report!

Rare doesn’t have the best track record in football tournaments. I think through my 11 years wearing the R on my chest, we’ve turned up many times enthused and optimistic but sadly can only claim to have left having given it our best rather than with any trophy.

That was then, though. With a broadly new squad unaware of our previous demons, we set off on September 5th to Wembley to play in SpecialEffect’s charity football tournament, in the shadow of the great stadium itself. Also there were the likes of Konami, Codemasters, Creative Assembly, and a host of other industry names. The day doubled as a cheerful reunion for many of us as we caught up with old workmates who we hadn’t seen for years.

The tournament itself took a Champions’ League format whereby the group stages would lead on to a series of knock-out games before the final. In our group Rare were drawn against Creative Assembly, Splash Damage, and Freestyle Games, some of whom we knew a little about due to moles who are now working in our own Barns. Kicking our campaign off against Splash Damage, the fast feet of Joe and Amrit proved devastating as we eased past the boys in orange 10-1. Similar success followed against a similarly tangerine-styled Freestyle Games and the boys filled their boots again with a 6-2 victory. Compared to the 2-0s and 3-1s we’d heard emanating from the other pitches, we were in buoyant mood.

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17
Sep
2013

Pinteresting Times

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Pinterest! It’s a funny thing. When Emma came on board to help us out with web & community duties, we leveraged her social media experience to help determine whether Rare should expand into other areas. After a bit of experimentation, and factoring in the sheer amount of visual stuff we’ve produced across three gaming decades, Pinterest came up as one that seemed like a good fit.

When used halfheartedly we appreciate that Pinterest, like any other social media tool, can be duller than an 850-page academic textbook on dishwater. So in launching Rare’s own Pinterest profile this week, we’ve tried to find a healthy balance: the expected pack shots and screenshots mingle freely with photography, archived artwork, rare merchandise, some of the internet’s finest hand-drawn tributes and other fan-made creations from cosplay and cakes to papercraft and action figures.

If you have links to any other quality additions, creations of your own that deserve a pin or general suggestions for content you’d like to see added to the mix, just fire up your email.

Everyone else – jump in and have a rummage. If you’ve never tried Pinterest, rest assured it’s a cinch to use (no requirement to sign up, so its most basic use involves just looking, and perhaps scrolling). We’ve got boards for everything from Kinect Sports Rivals at Gamescom all the way back to Ultimate Play The Game box art via Jo Dark cosplay and Battletoads magazine covers, and we’ll keep on adding good stuff as we find it. As a quick taster, here’s a grab bag of images we’ve already pinned and repinned to our smorgasbord of… boards. Let us know what you think!

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04
Sep
2013

Gamescom 2013 KSR Reaction Rundown

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Now that internet coverage of Gamescom 2013 has drawn to a close, and the Rare reps have packed up their Kinect Sports Rivals builds and lurched exhaustedly back to the airport, allow us to present… the best bits. (Disclaimer: best bits are entirely subjective.)

KSR was at the show with playable versions of two events – Wake Racing and Climbing – along with the opportunity for attendees to be scanned by the Kinect sensor and transformed into in-game Champions. As Microsoft kicked things off a day early for the press, a whole host of journalists, bloggers and enthusiasts stepped up to get to grips with our latest game, IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey among them as he tackled both Wake Racing and Climbing and left us with this very fetching image of himself alongside his dapper Champion printed on a T-shirt.

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Ryan was far from the only one: the press of people itching to see themselves as a Kinect Sports Rivals Champion didn’t let up all week, with Xbox rep Major Nelson quick to jump in while Aoife of the OXM UK team and Marte from Norwegian outfit NRK captured the results of their own transformations on video.

Official material released to accompany KSR’s presence included the very first screenshots which you can see on our Kinect Sports Rivals page, an in-depth From Science to Experience trailer giving a great insight into the game and the tech that powers it, and a Rivals Q&A with executive producer Danny on Xbox Wire. This fine shot of a head-to-head Climbing contest also appeared on the official Gamescom Flickr stream as the show rolled on.

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27
Aug
2013