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Microsoft thought they owned Donkey Kong

Promotional image for Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Promotional image for Donkey Kong Country Returns. Donkey Kong Wiki

According to former Rare employee and “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” director, Chris Seavor, Microsoft mistakenly thought they owned the "Donkey Kong" franchise after they bought Rare.

Spurred by a question on Twitter asking where the Xbox One’s version of “Knack” was, Seavor shared an early story from Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare.

The current generation of 'enablers' won't even know they own the IP... Here's a true story.. When Rare was first bought by MS a group of execs came on a tour.. One of them noticed the Donkey Kong. ..Posters everywhere and said.. 'Hey that's great.. We own Donkey Kong right??' ........./massivesigh

Seavor then ended the conversation with “Christ, whatever happened to Starfox? MS aren't the only ones sitting on prime real estate and wondering why their arse is sore.”

It was recently that another former Rare employee, Phil Tossell, talked about the "severe cultural clash" between Microsoft and Rare after the pricey acquisition. While Tossell discussed how Rare became more Microsoft-controlled over time, he noted the Twycross, England developer is currently undergoing a “rebirth” with new exciting titles on the horizon.

Given the heavy promotion Microsoft is putting on the Xbox One’s “Killer Instinct” remake, a game they've declined Rare to make in the past, it seems they’re better utilizing Rare’s intellectual properties now. Although eyebrows were raised when the new “Killer Instinct” game was revealed to be made outside of Rare, Seavor mentioned in his “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” commentaries that getting the original “Killer Instinct” team back is like asking for Pink Floyd to reunite.

As for Donkey Kong, he’s still at home at Nintendo and once again in the hands of Retro Studios for “Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.” While the lack of Kremlings as baddies in the recent Donkey Kong games may look as if their rights were lost to Microsoft, they’re still owned by Nintendo too.

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