Rare co-founders out, Microsoft says

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Microsoft has confirmed that the co-founders of the U.K. studio Rare have decided to move on "to pursue other opportunities." After more than 20 years, Chris and Tim Stamper are no longer with the team that brought the gaming world "Donkey Kong Country," "Banjo Kazooie," "Viva Pinata" and more.

 "We thank them for the many years they have contributed to the Rare brand and wish them luck in their future endeavors. From the early beginnings as a company known as Ultimate -- Play the Game and the creation of the first title "Jetpac" in 1983, to the recent release of "Viva Pinata" as the cornerstone of Microsoft Game Studios' broadening strategy, the creative minds at Rare have contributed immensely to the success of the videogame industry as a whole," Microsoft said in a statement.

 Of course, Rare wasn't always a Microsoft-owned entity. It wasn't until 2002 that Microsoft picked up the U.K. studio in order to diversify its gaming library on the original Xbox with games like "Grabbed by the Ghoulies." And on the Xbox 360, Rare played a big role at launch by providing both "Perfect Dark Zero" and "Kameo."

 Aside from the "Donkey Kong Country games," perhaps Rare's greatest moment came with the release of "GoldenEye 007" on the Nintendo 64, which has been hailed as a classic for its fantastic split-screen multiplayer.

 With the Stampers no longer at the helm, Microsoft said that Rare 19-year veteran Mark Betteridge will lead the company as studio director going. As the software director at Rare, Betteridge has helped lead the software development teams to create a number of hit franchises.

 Microsoft also noted that Gregg Mayles, the "creative force" behind games like "Donkey Kong Country," "Viva Pinata" and the upcoming iteration in the "Banjo Kazooie" franchise, will serve as creative director. In this role Mayles will be responsible for overseeing all titles in development and the origination of new IP.

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