I Stand On My Soapbox: What Nintendo Kept After Rare Left

I Stand On My Soapbox is a series of editorials that cover more specific topics in the games industry and community. These articles are a little more extreme than normal editorials published here, and could just degenerate to outright ranting. Have fun and enjoy the show!

Time to stand on this box again, I got another rant coming up. If you’ve been living under rock for the past life time, don’t worry you still have another life time ahead of you. But many-a-gamer remembers the rather public exchange of hands between Nintendo, Microsoft, and the company Rare. Rare started off as third party, became a second party company under Nintendo during the 90s, and then in 2002 became a first party company for Microsoft. Today they make Avatars for the Xbox 360 and Kinect Games. Back on Nintendo’s side, the company recently had Retro Studios revive Donkey Kong Country, a game originally made by Rare. However the game, Donkey Kong Country Returns, would be done without the Kremlings. Despite Retro stating that the omission of the Kremlings was simply a matter of choice, gamers went ahead and assumed otherwise.

Who would’ve thought these guys would create such a misunderstanding.

And so the new enemies in Donkey Kong Country Returns were the Tikis. No Kremlings to be found in this game at all. So gamers were saddened to see the crocs go. Some, including me, welcomed the change. But quite a few gamers wanted to place blame on Microsoft buying out Rare as the reason the Kremlings were not in the game. “Damn Microsoft!” “Ugh, why did Mircosoft have to buy Rare!?” “If it weren’t for that buyout, we’d have the Kremlings in this game!” “ASDTGHDYHGSREGZTDYCFAAAAAAH I FUCKING HAD IT WITH MICROSFT!” And so on and so forth the rhetoric goes. But in the end this wasn’t the case at all. At. All.

As I said before, Retro Studios chose to not use the Kremlings. They were not forced to leave them out. So what did Nintendo keep after rare left?

Any new character made in a currently established Nintendo property would be kept by Nintendo. This includes Krystal and others in Star Fox Dinosaur Planet, the Kong family, Animal Buddies, and the Baddies in Donkey Kong Country and 64, and of course the Kremlings.

Any character or property that were not directly related to Nintendo properties were kept by Rare. This meant games like Blast Corps, Killer Instinct, Perfect Dark, Jet Force Gemini, Banjo-Kazooie, Conker, and others were retained by Rare.

The one grey area that’s kinda hard to explain is Conker and Banjo and Kazooie as they first appeared in Diddy Kong Racing. Conker, well, kinda obvious why Rare kept him. Banjo stayed with Rare as well. As for the rest, I’m not sure about. I never played Diddy Kong Racing nor its DS counterpart.

Krystal first appeared in Star Fox: Dinosaur Planet. While she, along with the rest of the game, was made by Rare, Nintendo retained the rights to her character. She went on to appear in Star Fox Assault and Star Fox Command

In a 2003 interview with Video Games Daily, Chris Stamper stated that Nintendo pretty much kept the characters associated with Donkey Kong and Star Fox. Everything else stayed with Rare. When asked how he felt about letting go so many IPs, Stamper clarified,  “Well, the two properties that go back to Nintendo are Donkey Kong and Star Fox. The rest of the IP actually comes back to Rare. We have a very good relationship with Nintendo it all worked out in the end.”

Want more proof Nintendo still owns the Kremlings?

“But that’s in Melee! Rare was still with Nintendo then!” Oh, too early for ya? How about a more recent one?

This is the K. Rool Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. “But… They’re trophies. They’re not really part of the game.” Oh, so you want to see a more active role from a Kremling in a Nintendo game. Okay.

Guess who’s the (terrible) goalie in the Mario Strikers games? Yep, it’s Kritter, the Goombas of the Kremlings.

So there you have it. It’s all laid out who owns what between Nintendo and Rare. From the release of Mario Strikers Charged to DKCR to today, nothing has changed. No more rights have gone back to Rare and has been that way since 2002. If you see someone falsely claim that Rare owns the Kremlings and can’t be used by Nintendo, point them to this article and silence them for good! You’ll be doing a great service to your gaming brethren.

13 thoughts on “I Stand On My Soapbox: What Nintendo Kept After Rare Left

  1. Pingback: Rumor: Nintendo Negotiating With Microsoft On Rare Properties (And Maybe Even Rare Itself) | The Wired Fish

  2. Pingback: Original Donkey Kong Country Trilogy Games To Be Removed From Virtual Console After Thanksgiving | The Wired Fish

  3. The Syndrouome

    Don’t forget Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii! DK’s team, DK Wilds, had K.Rool and four Kritters in four colors (brown, red, blue, and green).

  4. DkSuicune

    They’ll likely appear in the next smash in some format like sticker or trophy, DKC characters appear in PAON(sp?) game, i.e dk:jungle climber and like some one mention dk:barrel blast.

    Only thing i’m worried about is Diddy Kong racing characters, and especially even more worried about tiptup (he appeared as cameo in banjo kaoozie). Hope they appear in next donkey kong games. Hmm this could be a good question for nintendo in future if dkr chracter would come back in some format in future.

    Some day maybe I can create a good donkey kong country game in the future. lol

      1. DkSuicune

        Yert he appeared in banjo kazooie and banjo tooie as well, even the xbox360 game port included him. So i’m worriedabout him, probably someone should ask this nintendo representive, about dkr character esp. tiptup.

        1. Steven T. Post author

          Alright so let’s compare notes here then.

          DKR: http://firsthour.net/screenshots/diddy-kong-racing/diddy-kong-racing-character-select-conker.jpg
          DKR DS: http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/pqVj-qDU7eU/hqdefault.jpg

          From the looks of it, every character except Banjo and Conker returned for the DS version. If things happened differently, Nintendo probably would’ve tried keeping Conker on their side. But with Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Nintendo’s image (or the fact that Conker actually HAS his own game, thus putting him in the same position as Banjo), they most likely said “No thanks” and let him stay with Rare.

          That brings us to TipTup, the character you and Jbot mentioned (I should probably make this an article). As DKSuicune above and Jbot stated below, he’s appeared in both Diddy Kong Racing DS and the XBLA versions of the Banjo-Kazooie games. I have a feeling that the only way TipTup can even be on anything Nintendo related is if Rare is involved, which they did with Diddy Kong Racing DS. As a matter of fact, Microsoft’s been rather okay with trying things on the DS early on, as evidenced by their Mechassault game appearing on it. http://image.gamespotcdn.net/gamespot/images/box/9/0/0/931900_73428_back.jpg

          So from the looks of it, the only TipTup (and maybe some others, except Krunch since he’s a Kremling and thus Nintendo’s) can even be in DKR is if both Nintendo and Rare are involved. This was around the beginning of the DS’ life, so who knows if Microsoft would still allow their dev studios or IPs to appear on a competitor handheld like the #ds and Vita, especially since they’ve been taking steps to enter the mobile market with Windows Phone.

          Alrighty, whaddaya guys think?

          1. DkSuicune

            Sure you can make this into article, Yeah it looks good. I just noticed nintendo only published there only donkey kong port made my rare and other games rare owned games thq published it instead of mircosoft.

            Honestly I really wish rare didn’t rushed starfox adventures, give it some time to make a good game and same with diddy kong pilot as a finish game both would of been better. I hope you guys seen diddy kong pilot 2003 build, music looks great.

  5. Jbot

    I’ve noticed something strange. Since Microsoft bought Rare, Tiptup the turtle has appeared in both Nintendo (Diddy Kong Racing DS) and Microsoft (Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie XBLA) games.


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