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Meet the KSR Cast: William Hope (Coach)

While casting and recording for Kinect Sports Rivals throughout 2013, we got the chance to work with some highly talented, extremely versatile and occasionally hilarious acting talent. And it wasn’t confined to the voiceover booth: for KSR‘s team and training cutscenes we decided that full performance capture was the only way to go.

So we hauled our actors down to Shepperton Studios, stuck them in bodysuits and headcams, and let the magic happen. Then we got them to answer a few quick questions so that we could introduce you to the fine people behind the characters (in the English-language version, at least).

Up first: your new daddy, Coach. Or more accurately, Mr. William Hope. Yes, he was also in Aliens. Yes, we were ridiculously excited. Legend.

WilliamHope_smQ&A: William Hope

Rare: Can you give us some background on yourself?

William Hope: Have been a professional actor in all media for 35 years and am best known as Lieutenant Gorman in James Cameron’s Aliens. Done over 30 feature films, over 50 TV productions, recorded hundreds of plays in radio drama, documentary and commercial v/o, over 65 audio books, many video game characters and contribute many regular characters to the global kids’ cartoon series Thomas and Friends. Regularly heard on BBC Radio 3, 4, 7 & World Service.

Rare: How did you get into videogame acting?

WH: A friend was directing a big techno political thriller and cast me as the leading bad guy contracted for 70 hours perf capture. I completed around 15 hours and the production was then cancelled by the new publishers. It may still be resurrected.

Rare: Was this your first experience of performance capture? If so, how was it? If not, are you worried that you’re starting to like the suit?

WH: All any actor really wants to do is get a crack at good writing, expand and deepen your skills and pay the bills!

Working in a suit is fine and gives the opportunity to explore new territory. The ultimate goal is to perform superb work like Andy Serkis’s Gollum!

Rare: Where are gamers and non-gamers most likely to have seen (or heard) your work before?

WH: Movies like Aliens, Dark Shadows, Sherlock Holmes, Captain America: The First Avenger, xXx, Dark Floors, The Detonator. TV like Spooks, Episodes.

Also voiced many characters in video games like Aliens: Colonial Marines, Driver: San Francisco, Constantine, Aliens vs Predator and many more.


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KSR Preseason: International Champions

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International Champions has arrived on the Kinect Sports Rivals Hub. This global tournament pits nation against nation for glory, honour and exclusive prizes!

So leap onto your wake racer and log your best time to represent your country. We’ve introduced new national and global leaderboards so you can see how your time stacks up against other players from your home nation and out there in the wider world of KSR Preseason.

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The player who logs the fastest race time in the world by the end of  the month will be rewarded with an exclusive gold wake racer! The top player in each nation will receive a silver wake racer.

But that’s not all: we’ll be monitoring the average times for each country throughout the International Champions campaign, and the top-ranked country at close of play will win the tournament. Every single player who logged a time during the month will win a wake racer branded with their country’s flag. Not bad!

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There will – of course – be the standard daily challenges allowing you to earn points towards February’s prizes. On offer this month are the International Champion title, wake racer and matching wetsuit. Very stylish. With all this up for grabs, what are you waiting for?

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UPDATE March 3rd: International Champions has now ended and we’re delighted to announce that New Zealand was the winning nation! France came in second, and Italy in third. To see who was the top player in the world, and in your nation, check the ‘Final Results’ story on the Preseason Hub.


KSR Preseason: New Year Friends

UPDATE: BONUS POINTS WEEKEND! From Friday 24th January to Monday 27th January, you can earn five times the usual number of points by completing daily challenges. That means that for those of you who haven’t yet won January’s exclusive prizes, they can be yours in no time! Bronze challenges are now worth 125 points, Silver are 250 points and Gold a whopping 500 points! Get racing, get earning. See you on the waves!


ORIGINAL STORY: Happy 2014 everyone! We hope you’ve all had a suitably festive holiday season and are ready to get back on the waves with Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason. We’re in full celebration in the Kinect Sports Rivals Hub with a permanent fireworks display! To mark the new year, we’ve got a whole new set of challenges and prizes for you in the New Year Friends campaign.

This month it’s all about getting social. You’ll earn points during your races and these points will be multiplied by the number of Preseason friends you have. So if you win 100 points and have three friends who’ve played the game, you’ll bank 300 points to spend on the fabulous new January prizes. So get your friends playing, challenge them for the best time and reap the benefit with piles of points!


This month’s prizes up for grabs are the People’s Champion title, wetsuit and wake racer. Add them to the prizes you’ve already accumulated to transfer through to the full game in Spring 2014.

We love hearing about how you’re getting on with your race times on Twitter and Facebook, so keep up the commentary. Get practising too as we’ll be pitting you against members of the Kinect Sports Rivals team!

Experience New Year Friends in Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason this January on Xbox One.



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



Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason: New Features!


We hope you’ve all been enjoying the KSR Preseason Holiday Heroes campaign. The festivities have truly taken over in the Kinect Sports Rivals Hub where it’s now snowing! In the spirit of the holiday season we’ve added even more ways to get competitive and take on your rivals. Our present to you is the new leaderboards feature. See how your race time ranks against your friends… and the world!

In order to get yourself into the new Wake Racing rankings you’ll need to set a new Personal Best, as your current time won’t count towards this new leaderboard competition.

(N.B. We know there is currently a problem displaying the times of the topped rank users. We’re currently working to fix it and will let you know as soon as we’ve done so. This doesn’t affect your placing on the leaderboards so please go ahead and try to register a race time!)

That’s not all. We’ve seen you getting competitive on Twitter and Facebook with your best race times. So we’ll be soon issuing time challenges from members of the Kinect Sports Rivals team for you to beat! We’ll post video challenges through the Kinect Sports Rivals Hub, on our Twitter account, Facebook page and brand spanking new Vine channel. So you definitely won’t miss your chance to take on one of the team.


Remember: those shiny Holiday Heroes prizes are only available through December. Get a family competition going over the holiday break! Take on your sister, your brother, your parents, why not give granny a go? Rivalry knows no age limits.

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Kinect Sports Rivals Peaks in Paris


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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Halloween at Rare HQ


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!


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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Top 5 Pre-Kinect Sports Rare Sports (Part 2)

The first instalment of Rare’s historical sports retrospective a few months ago took us from Slalom through to WWF Wrestlemania, eventually coming to rest in the high-tech space year 1989. We pick up the thread here with another brace of realistic sports, unrealistic sports and things roughly resembling sports all vying for attention in Rare’s athletic past. This time with anecdotes! Go!

6. World Games (1989)
After Summer and Winter Games but before narrowing their focus on California Games, Epyx went broad for World Games which allowed the inclusion of sumo wrestling, caber tossing, skiing, log rolling, um, cliff diving and… barrel jumping. Ever professional, Rare simply nodded and cracked out another solid NES conversion (if a bit belated, World Games having arrived on C64 in 1986).

Box blurb: “Get ready – get set – get psyched! The World Games are here!”

Review quote: “While whimsical in tone, it retains the same style and head-to-head quality of its wildly popular predecessors.” – The Video Game Critic

7. Arch Rivals (1990)
A port of Midway’s 1989 arcade game and the second of two NES basketball titles from Rare. Its pun-tastic tagline seeded the possibility that the two-on-two basketball action would be liberally sprinkled with elements of comedy violence. Yes. Yes it was. Just as well it didn’t also have Dunky Dino from Kinect Sports: Season Two Basketball or the carnage would have been monumental.

Box blurb:Arch Rivals isn’t just basketball… it’s a basketbrawl!”

Review quote: “A fun fast-paced contest that’s easy to play and get into, as well as fun to watch. Plus it’s just fun to knock your opponents around with out having to put up with fouls.” NES Times

Bonus anecdote: “Punch (head of testing) Huw’s player on screen and he took it almost like being punched in real life. Game done by Dave and Bob Thomas, Welsh third-party devs who also did the hilariously censored NES conversion of Narc.” – Gregg Mayles, designer (tester at the time)


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