Voice of Banjo-Kazooie laid off in studio job cuts

The voice of Banjo-Kazooie is among the nearly-20 employees who have been laid off from Rare this week, as Microsoft makes substantial changes to the UK studio.

Banjo-Kazooie

Banjo-Kazooie

Chris Sutherland was at the studio for 20 years, and has worked as a programmer on Battletoads, three Donkey Kong Country games and behind-the-scenes on the Banjo-Kazooie series, which was also graced by his voice.

Gavin Price was also laid off, after 15 years at the studio, working on an assortment of ultimately cancelled projects as well as Viva PiƱata, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and Grabbed by the Ghoulies.

A public statement from Microsoft explains:

At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences. As part of Rare’s commitment to this goal, we have made a decision to change our development process and methodology at Rare to best support our future projects, this has led to us reviewing the skills and the makeup of our development teams in our business. Rare continues to invest in our people and future projects.

In recent years, Rare has focussed on motion-sensing games, most recently the Xbox One exclusive Kinect Sports Rivals. The game, designed to showcase the Kinect 2.0, was originally planned to launch alongside the new console/technology late last year, but was pushed back and finally released this April.

It is not known what the studio is currently working on, but the recent decision to launch an Xbox One without Kinect casts a cloud over the future of first-party projects using the device.

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