Since Microsoft's 2002 acquisition, many older fans of the UK studio's work have expressed disappointment with its output. The studio that brought us Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, Battletoads and Killer Instinct across the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 eras had a very muted start on Xbox, but more recently found success with the Kinect Sports series of motion controlled mini-games.
Acknowledging the studio's decorated past, Xbox head Phil Spencer sought to defuse concerns that Rare might have settled into a rut as the platform's casual Kinect game developer during a recent interview with CVG
The Xbox head conceded that from the outside it could seem like Rare - which has now worked on three Kinect games in a row - had been "pushed" into spaces by the platform holder, but insisted the UK studio was actually chasing innovation.
"Right now with Rare we're at a point where I don't want the Rare brand to mean Kinect Sports. The Rare brand can be more valuable to them, to us and to gamers than that.
"I think it's about them thinking about the next game that's going to be the next 'Rare game' and really stand for what they are. I know they've got some great ideas. I've not been up to Twycross for maybe six months, but I'm planning on getting up there this fall and seeing bits for the new game. But I know they're hard at work and Phil Harrison has been up talking to them.
"So they've got some new ideas, they're excited about them and I think Rare should, can and will be an important part of our game future."
Rare's most recent title, Kinect Sports Rivals launched last week exclusively on Xbox One.