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Rare Game Boy Advance Tepid Seat

Q1: The Game Boy Advance team seems like it's in a very unique situation, to me. Microsoft owns Rare, but Rare can make GBA games via THQ. My question is, what properties and franchises can you use in a Game Boy game? Obviously, you can make games with your own characters, but could you take a Microsoft property like Crimson Skies or a THQ property like Worms and make a GBA game based on them? (QBert)
A: Not really sure on this, I think we could possibly use Microsoft IP if we wanted to. We haven't really looked into it as we have a great back catalogue of games to draw from. I'm sure you wouldn't dream of suggesting otherwise. As for using THQ IP, that's very unlikely.

Q2: Initially, when Grunty's Revenge was announced, the storyline was going to be that of an alternate reality, where Grunty's sisters never came. What made you decide to instead slot it snugly in-between Kazooie and Tooie's story line? And on another Banjo-related note, could you inform us of one of the secret playable characters in Banjo-Pilot? It's Roysten, isn't it. I can't wait to fly around with him, bowl carefully perched inside the World War II bi-plane he owns. Or perhaps he has a flying barbecue. (Aussie Ben)
A: The story was changed to make the game a cleaner fit within the Banjo universe. As for secret characters in Banjo Pilot, you'll just have to buy the game when it comes out later this year. Although the twisted version in your head sounds quite good as well.

Q3: Is Blubba related to the Brother Bears of DKC3? I first thought Sabreman said "Rubbish" when he grabs the Rareware logo in the very beginning, but my friend thinks it sounds like "Luggey". Which one of us is right? Good job on Sabre Wulf, I'm 3 hours in and it's been a blast! (Randy & Judy)
A: Blubba must be related to the Bears in some way as he is, you know, a bear. No-one here had ever really thought about this before you mentioned it, though. When Sabreman runs on screen carrying the Rare logo he says "LEGGIT!".

Q4: When it comes to developing stuff like the Donkey Kong Country ports or Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, how much input do the Rare members who did work on the original SNES versions of DKC or the N64 Banjo games get to put in it? I'd imagine that they'd have some influence or job, even if they are busy working elsewhere at Rare. (Dogadon)
A: There's not that much input given from the original teams. They've all moved on to different projects, and as we have a lot of experience creating games for the GBA, we're more or less left to get on with it.

Q5: In Cranky's Cabin, is the mounted head on the wall Sabrewulf, or another arse-biting 'Wulf? Also in Cranky's is one of those delightful pictures you fellows make with several highly rendered characters posing as a group in front of a white background. As it is WAY too small to make out, who is in that picture? Kongs? Kremlings? Banjo characters? (Zenek)
A: It is indeed the blue 'Wulf himself. As for the picture in the background, that's a group shot of all the characters from Sabre Wulf. Seems obvious now, doesn't it?

Q6: Will we see any non-Banjo characters in Banjo Pilot? I mean, with characters like Mr. Pants, Sabrewulf and even Juno and Vela making appearances in Banjo-Tooie, it only seems fair to let them show up again. (Afgncaap5)
A: Sorry, all the characters in Banjo Pilot are from the Banjo games. If we had all these other characters in as well we would have had to call the game Banjo-Gemini Pilot Pants.

Q7: I've got a question about the new Sabre Wulf for GBA. It has been a while since it was released here in Europe, but I still can't find it in any shop here in Belgium. Why can't I find it? Even the local gameshop doesn't have it, or has a release date of the game. Oh yeah, another question about Banjo Pilot: how many tracks and characters are there in the game? (Including secret tracks and secret characters.) I would like to see Jamjars race in his craft 🙂 (Anton)
A: Blame Jean-Claude Van Damme. You could always order it online from a normal country, one with shops. Banjo Pilot is currently planned to have 32 tracks and many unlockable characters.

Q8: OK... 'ere's a questio' I b' diein' t' ask y' scallywags. Why is BK:GR so short? Were there some parts that had to get cut out? One time, I saw a screen shot of Banjo/Kazooie flying above some kind of Rusty Bucket Bay level. What in the bloody hell was that?!? Please answer. (Zach "I like the BK series" Glanz)
A: If the game was longer you'd all moan that it took too long to complete. The flying was in early versions, but it was taken out soon after that because it caused too many problems and didn't actually add much to the overall game.

Q9: Rumors are running rampant that Microsoft and In-Fusio games have inked a deal that would provide Microsoft Game Studios projects (including your entire GBA lineup sans the Donkey Kong Countrys) to mobile phone users. Is there any truth to this madness? Rare on my cell-phone!?! Also, I want It's Mr. Pants. Please get it on store shelves before 2008. Give us a release date or I will feed you to the Sabrewulf. That is all. Thank you and good day. (BENE)
A: It is true, but they are currently only doing Sabre Wulf, Mr. Pants and Banjo. I don't think Nintendo would be too happy if they were doing DKC. Mr. Pants will hit the shops before December 2007, so I hope that makes you happy.

Q10: I have quite a few questions really but the only one that I really want answered is what is it like being a concept artist working for Rare? I hear that it's mostly being locked in a small room with a bunch of reference material. I was wondering how much of that is true. You guys make such great games for us I decided to draw you a fish as a present. (Robin Shade)
A: Okay... thanks. Being a designer I'm not sure what it's actually like being a concept artist, but I do know what they get up to. Basically, the job of concept artist involves working very closely with the game designers and bringing their ideas to life. These drawings then get passed on to other artists who model and animate them. So you're mostly right.

Q11: I've been following you since the good old NES days. By the way, Battletoads and Battletoads in Battlemaniacs are two of my favorite games! Please, bring them or a new Battletoads game to the Game Boy Advance as the Battletoads gameplay would fit perfectly a portable system. Please! Say that there is a Battletoads game in development for the GBA! (Paulo)
A: A Battletoads game would be really cool on the GBA - there's nothing to confirm at the moment, but hopefully we can do one in the future.

Q12: Just for the sake of curiosity, I would like to ask if there have been some troubles between Rare and Microsoft's relationship due to the GBA games. Have they noticed that you guys have released more games for the GBA over the past year than on the Xbox? While it is obvious that GBA games take less time, I just wanted to know of Microsoft's opinion regarding Rare's continued support for the GBA. Good luck on your endeavors. (Some Guy)
A: Microsoft have been very supportive of the GBA team, as you can see from the glut of GBA releases since the takeover took place. Of course many of those were already completed or close to it by that point, which is why they've outnumbered the Xbox releases to date. I feel that as long as Microsoft don't have their own handheld machine, they'll be more than happy with a small team releasing GBA games as they don't directly compete with the Xbox market.

Q13: Will you guys be making any NEW Donkey Kong games for the GBA, sure I love the old ones but I'd like to see something new as well. (George North)
A: We would be more than happy to make any new game featuring the old ape, but of course the final decision is all Nintendo's.

Q14: I'd like to compliment the GBA team on a wonderful job so far, especially with Sabre Wulf. Also, I'd like to specifically compliment Mr. Beanland on Sabre Wulf. The soundtrack of that game is nothing shorter than amazing. Seeing as that is my favorite of Rare's GBA line-up thus far, my main question pertains to that game: what on earth inspired the name "Dr. Doolittle Goode"? I mean, it's brilliant, nay, INGENIOUS! It even blows K. Rool out of the water when it comes to villain names with plays-on-words. Good luck with any future games. (Tucker Beard)
A: Thank you for that, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I agree with you on the sound, it was excellent, and all down to Mr. Beanland. As for Dr. Doolittle-Goode - straight from the tried and tested Rare book of stupid character names.

Q15: What takes longer? Making a game for the Xbox or a game for the GBA? Xbox is 3D of course, but has lots of power to play around with. To make a game for a modern audience on a tiny GBA with tiny power would be very hard I would imagine, to get everything right. Small screen, low CPU, and low memory for example... And will there ever be any more GBA games, other than those announced, to come? Also, will you ever release any of your older SNES games (that you owned) like Killer Instinct on the GBA, perhaps with multiplayer? Recent GBA games have been very welcome, but there are others too! (Matthew)
A: Obviously GBA games are much quicker to develop, but it can be very tricky getting the GBA to do the things you actually want it to do. Most of the GBA games that we created changed in development from the original design ideas. We find it's just not possible to do everything we want: for example Sabre Wulf originally had a picture-in-picture mode, allowing you to see the 'Wulf chasing you. We had this working but found that it reduced the amount of other things we could have in the game, so it was eventually removed. All games go through these changes at some stage in their development. Hopefully there will be more GBA games to come - KI & KI2 would be ideal for the GBA.

Q16: This has to do with DKC2 on GBA, is it just Nintendo working on the port, or are you guys helping too? It's not listed in your game list, and I'm kind of confused because you and Nintendo are no longer together... (camelk333)
A: We did the conversions of both DKC & DKC2, Nintendo published them. We don't have full game pages for the DKC titles any more because they're Nintendo properties, but we do list them in the Timeline.

Q17: I must say, wow. Banjo Pilot looks to be almost 64 quality, that's amazing. But what about the framerate? I mean sure you're going to work on it, but is it hard to get it as smooth as you want it? Because something like this has yet to be done on the GBA (that's one of the reasons I love you guys, you're the best at music, graphics, gameplay... everything) so I was just wondering about that. Also what can we expect in terms of gameplay, options, etc.? (Link53)
A: The frame rate on BP has always been top priority. We aim to keep it as smooth as possible. As for gameplay, you will get Grand Prix modes, Jiggy Challenge, Time Trial, plus all the multiplayer modes. Unless of course it all changes (everybody loves a disclaimer).

Q18: The new Nintendo DS is coming out late this year. What are you guys' plans on porting any of your immensely popular N64 titles to the DS? *cough, oh god, I think I got strep throat! *cough cough* PERFECT DARK ON DS!! *cough*. After all, the DS will be Wi-Fi enabled. Imagine... playing Perfect Dark... online. Yum. (Brian)
A: Sounds cool, but we're not doing any DS games, are we? Or are we? Or... are we?

Q19: What are the odds that you guys could work in conjunction with a company that still makes games for the GameCube and create something that links the two? You could use an existing game license like Donkey Kong (I still can't believe someone besides Rare is going to make a DK game - I'm scared), Dr. Muto or Ty the Tasmanian Tiger (they should pay you royalties for that one) or create something new. I'm not even sure if anything like this is possible, but it would be a cool way to see what you guys would do with the concept. Is it even possible or should I give up the dream? (Shawn)
A: I think the odds are about as likely as the England team actually winning anything in a football (soccer for you Americans) tournament… NONE.

Q20: I just want to ask one question: is Banjo Pilot going to have an adventure mode like in Diddy Kong Racing? (Nick)
A: No, we just wanted to create a quick pick-up-and-play racing game.

Q21: Hi! I really liked Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge, but I thought the sound was kind of bad, I mean, the characters' voices were three sounds and the last two sounds were played over and over again until the character stopped talking. Why wasn’t the Banjo theme song used?! Anyway, when I played the game I just laughed at the voices and played it anyway. Great game though! (Nathan)
A: I thought the sound on Banjo was good - the problem you refer to is all down to cartridge space. The more samples each character has, the more space is used up on the cartridge, so you have to make compromises somewhere.

Q22: You guys have got to make GbtG on GBA. The reason the first one sold like a lead balloon is because Xbox is an older person's system, and Nintendo makes games for a younger audience. If you put GbtG on GBA it would sell good I bet. Anyway I thought of some good names. Grabbed by the Ghoulies Advance, Grabbed by the Ghoulies Return of the Baron, or because the game is in story book form you could call it Grabbed by the Ghoulies Vol. 2. (PenneyWurtz)
A: Anything's possible, and I agree, I think Ghoulies would make a great GBA game. Especially if we added a multiplayer option to it, allowing two or more players to smash up the mansion together.

Q23: One question which I would like a response to is if you would create a Battletoads Classic NES Series game? I would like a response. Thanks. (Zack)
A: It's unlikely but you never know. I think there's more chance of an actual GBA update.

Q24: Rare, you guys make some killer games. Not just your old ones, but your newer GBA ones too. I was wondering if you ever had plans to take games like Sabre Wulf or revive Banjo or DK and put them on the Xbox. I know you say you won't answer detailed future plans, but I didn't think this counted as all that detailed. So I figured I would ask. Keep up the good work. (Devoted 14 year old Rare junkie)
A: I'm sure that all the Rare characters will return, if not on the Xbox and GBA then they'll definitely return on future consoles - it'd be pointless to build up that kind of IP then leave it all behind. As for DK, he's not our character, so that one's in the hands of Uncle Nintendo.

Q25: I am a very big Rare Fan from Germany since DKC arrived the SNES. Since this time Rare is for me, with Shigeru Miyamoto, my favorite developer. Ok, here are my questions (and forgive me my bad English...): 1. Sabre Wulf was an fantastic, innovative Game, but also a little short, like Grabbed by the Goulies. Will the next GBA Games, like Banjo Pilot, more extensiverly?
2. We'll see DKC 3 on the GBA too, right? I mean, in the other case, we will never have the complete saga on our GBA.
3. Up to now I did not played yet DKC 2 on the GBA, but in some rerviews, I have heard that the grafic from the GBA version is somewhat more colorless. Is it true and when, why is it so?
4. How big is the GBA Team and is there any exchange with the Xbox teams?
5. Are there members in your team who a be fans of Monty Phyton, like me? (Alexander Sautner)
A: 1. I found the game was long enough and you've got the Challenge Mode for replay value. We could have added more levels and tasks etc. but this would have just thinned out the overall game experience.
2. Most likely.
3. I think the problem is they review the games on a GBA Player and not the GBA itself. When we create games we make the colours work on the GBA, as this is where the majority of players see them. As you know, the GBA screen is not the brightest, so all the darker colours need lightening to allow the player to see anything - obviously when displayed on a big TV it can look a little strange compared to the SNES game. We had the original DKC running with all the original colours from the SNES game, it looked great on TV but virtually black on the GBA. Not good for a handheld game.
4. The GBA team has less than ten members - to be honest there's not really that much exchange between teams as we've being working on separate projects from them.
5. I think everyone enjoys the Python films and TV shows, but no-one's really that obsessed about them...

Q26: While I love your (as in the team) work on the GBA, and I understand you're working on a fancy DKC2 port and Banjo Pilot, I have to ask the question: is there any more magic in your team? A portable Kameo, perchance? An original game? An update to a classic, a la Sabre Wulf? On a completely (COMPLETELY) unrelated note, a portable Blast Corps would rock-out. Thanks in advance if you ever get to read this submission. (Ryan "ArsonWinter" Painter)
A: DKC2 is complete and released in Europe and Japan, but not out until November in the USA. The team really enjoyed working on updating Sabre Wulf so we would be more than happy to do the same with some of the other classics, it all depends on what the big bosses want us to do next. As for Blast Corps, I completely agree, personally I think this is the best Rare game to date and fully deserving of a sequel or an update...

Q27: NINTENDO'S NEW DK GAMES ARE HATED BY ALL THE OLD FANS, NINTENDO IS RUNNING THE FRANCHISE INTO THE SEWERS, AND RARE HAS TAKEN AWAY ALL HOPE OF THEM EVER COMING BACK TO NINTENDO AND SAVING DK FROM THE JAWS OF DEATH. HOWCOME NONE OF YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT HOW THE FANS FEEL ABOUT THIS AND THE DEATH OF AN ENTIRE FRANCHISE CAUSED ALL BY YOU. I HOPE YOURE SATISFIED THAT DK IS GOING TO DIE IN THE GRAVE YOU DUG FO HIM. ps. this message is not directed directly at you gba team. ITs directed at the entire company. I tried sending it to scribes, but i got no answers. (Tommie Johnson)
A: DK is doing fine, what's wrong with Donkey Konga? It looks well smart. And that new GBA title King of Swing looks very interesting too. Nintendo know what they're doing, and will do all they can to protect the DK franchise. (Honestly, I send you this one so that you can swear and call him a mentalist, and you get all tactful on me. - Ed)

Q28: I picked up Sabre Wulf and I was surprised how great it was and was worth the long wait. I'd like to ask what the hell is happening to It's Mr. Pants considering it never was shown at E3 and the problems with THQ. Besides that, what motivated you to choose Jolly as a character in Banjo Pilot? (Tim - MrPantsII)
A: Mr. Pants is still on its way. As for Jolly Roger, why not? He's a big camp pirate. All games should have one.

Categories: Game Boy Advance, Interviews, Rare

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