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 Back on Nintendo’s side, the company recently had Retro Studios revive Donkey Kong Country, a game originally made by Rare.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.
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.
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.