Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye developer Rare was at the centre of an intense bidding war back in 2002, when Microsoft saw off competition from Activision to acquire the beloved studio.
That’s according to Xbox Co-Creator Ed Fries, who revealed that Activision had initially outbid Microsoft and appeared to be on the verge of closing the deal. However, at the eleventh hour, the latter company upped their offer to ultimately acquire Rare and its assets.
Per IGN: “We put in a bid and then Activision outbid us, and it looked like we were going to lose the deal. And then at the very last minute, Robbie increased our bid and we won the deal. And that was it. Who knows what could have happened with Rare.”
That was in 2002 and since then, Rare has hatched two Xbox 360 launch titles in the form of Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero, before going on to oversee the creation of Xbox Live avatars. Had Activision acquired the studio, it’s very possible that the studio would have doubled down on its 007 output given it holds the license for James Bond video games.
Alas, history tells us that Microsoft now holds ownership of Rare, and the studio currently has maritime adventure game Sea of Thieves in development for Xbox One.