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Ex-Rare dev discusses Killer Instinct 3, Kinect's 'Savannah' prototype and Microsoft acquisition

Alexander Sliwinski
Alexander Sliwinski|@Sliwinski|August 22, 2012 8:00 PM
A former artist at Rare has given us a peek behind the curtain at the studio's "Savannah" project and the eventual elimination of Killer Instinct. Speaking with NotEnoughShaders, Donnchadh Murphy, who was a 3D modeler at Rare but now works at an animation studio, revealed the developer was working on a project called "Savannah" for Kinect.

Savannah (models pictured) was going to be a Kinect title where players raised a lion cub from birth, teaching the animal survival skills. The game was only ever a prototype and was never greenlit.

Meanwhile, Murphy said, the company was always interested in revisiting the Killer Instinct franchise in HD, as is often requested by ardent Rare fans. "We all wanted to make KI3, but Microsoft [was] more interested in broadening their demographic than making another fighting game," he said. "So it never got made, I doubt it ever will."

"When they announced Microsoft was buying, a lot of people were unsure if it was a good or bad thing. For one, MS had deep pockets so financial security seemed assured, but on the other hand they were relatively new to the games market, and complete infants in the console market," Murphy said. "Personally I don't think it was a great mix. At first it seemed that they wouldn't interfere much, but it was soon clear that they were more interested in using Rare to help aim at a younger market. This stifled a lot of creativity, Rare was renowned for their diverse portfolio, so to not be involved in making Mature games was a real blow."

There's much more about the history, politics and people of Rare in the interview.
Ex-Rare dev discusses Killer Instinct 3, Kinect's 'Savannah' prototype and Microsoft acquisition