It's the stupid Rare letters page! Send us your mail! And take your foot off that blasted samoflange!

FEBRUARY 9, 2006

Hello there, Scribes.
     I must say, your final version of Kameo looks most promising, though I am kinda upset about the lack of any wind or lightning monsters. I am aware you needed to cut this particular element of the game to release it, but I am a large fan of these particular elements. I was wondering if you had any intention of introducing downloadable Warriors, based off deleted monsters such as the lightning-blasting cloud warrior, in addition to other monsters of existing elements. If not, could you do so? I, along with all the other little fans out there, would appreciate it.
     ShadowSliph890
     
P.S. Nice touch including Kameo's old costume in the game. I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

Rare Reply: It's good to see someone not ashamed to take the stage and come right out with their preferred element, you crazy knife-edge devil. I know what it's like to be a maverick - sometimes I too just pull out all the stops and decide that yes, dammit, Digestive biscuits really are superior to Rich Tea, but then I have to calm myself down before things get out of hand. Let's hand over to Kameo designer George before the adrenaline gets too much and I start using cuss words! !
     "Currently, there's no plan to have new downloadable Warriors. We had to drop the Wind Element for a whole heap of reasons, but rest assured some of the best moves were 'borrowed' by other Warriors. Flex gained the electricity attack, for instance, and Thermite gained the Cloud Warrior's back blast move."


Hello Sribes!
     I wanted you put a question about project Dream, on the hero. You said that one moment of the project has, the hero was a rabbit. Is this the rabbit of Grunty industries??? I also noticed that its "voice" is A can close the same one as that of Banjo.
     Thank you To answer!

     Daivy Merlijs
     PS : excuse me not to speak correctly English, I come from Belgium .

Rare Reply: That's no excuse, my Flemish is exquisite.
     The B-K boys respond: "Yes, we did have a rabbit in Dream, but it was not the one used in Banjo-Tooie. It’s quite likely that the voices were similar, as back in the days before professionally recorded voices and soundtracks we just used to threaten team members until someone volunteered to do it. Some people were less useless than others, so they got the job every time.
     "Now that you’ve mentioned Dream, I bet you didn’t know this game started on the SNES and was using the next generation of DKC-style graphics. You probably don’t even care, but someone might.
"


Dearest Loveday,
     Four hours in the bitter cold getting hit on by a modder who hasn't stopped calling me since. The payoff? A 360, Perfect Dark Zero, and Kameo. Worth it? Abso-friggin'-lutely.
     I was impressed by PDZ's texturing and smooth gameplay, but I'm not a huge shooter fan. A huge Rare fan, and a huge co-op online gameplay fan, but I'm not a girl who will spend hours speed-running various FPS levels. It was the first FPS I've completed in ages, however. I approve.
     Kameo, however... I absolutely ADORED. Aside from some iffy voice-acting in parts, and the looped animation for characters speaking (I swear to God, Kameo has headlice and ADD), I have no quarrels with this game whatsoever. It recaptured a certain magic that I haven't felt from one of your games since the N64 era. It felt grand and epic, I couldn't wait to explore. I spent a good hour just fluttering around Kameo's kingdom. All my Live friends are going to harass me for this, but playing it made me feel like a little girl again, like I could believe in fairy tales and magic again. I felt like I was playing through a fable. Kameo was an amazing experience, even for the cynical, surly, Live-hardened gamers like me.
     Your 360 launch lineup was incredibly impressive. I can't wait to see what's next.Quite possible everyone's favourite bit of the game
     Emailing this in hopes that maybe somehow, someday, you'll update Scribes, and maybe the goddamn Tepid Seat while you're at it.
     Enn

Rare Reply: All those kind words and then you go and reveal your true motives at the end. Well, we updated Scribes and the 'goddamn' Tepid Seat just before Xmas. I hope you're happy. I hope you feel good about the hollow grief that festers inside us like some kind of capering, scab-faced plague gnome, spawned into its bilious semblance of life by your casual duplicity. And I hope that modder is still calling you. Hang on, you gave him your number?
     Seriously though, you know, cheers. Makes it all worthwhile. A couple of weeks of clingy modder stalking should be more than enough punishment for the brief outburst of WANTON DISRESPECT.


Dear Scribes,
     I hope you had a good holiday! I was going to ask the same question about which artist did which song for DKC1. I updated my MP3s with the proper artists, and it's nice to be able to confirm certain trends and styles that I was perceiving in the music. Knowing that Robin said he would like all of the musicians to get proper credit, could the same be done for all of the Rare soundtracks? If not all, could this be done for whichever games would be the easiest to figure out?
     Paul Gasca

Rare Reply: That's something that's been on the old To Do list for a while. All the MP3s on the site should now be credited to the appropriate composer. I've done it all in a blanket 'one composer per game' style, so I'll have to double-check to make sure there weren't any sneaky contributions by other musicians that slipped under the radar. And hey, maybe we'll even get those original PD tunes up there at some point! Maybe.


Dear Scribes,
     OK, I just beat the story from Conker: L&R and it was perhaps the greatest single player game I've ever played. The night I got it I didn't sleep at all. Just all night playin'. I haven't done that with a game since I was a youngin jumpin' in barrels and collectin' bananas in one of your other great games. I only have one question:
     Are you guys plannin' on continuing the story with a sequel? You don't have to tell me much, but just knowing that something is in the works (or at least in the mind of one of your developers) would give me peace of mind and something to look foward to in this war-torn world of ours. Plus it would help me sleep at night. After the credits it looked like he was about to wake up the next morning in the midst of another so called "bad fur day." Please tell there is truth to my fantasies.
     Peace Out and keep up the good work.
     Vile

Rare Reply: Rather than cack all over the fantasies you so feverishly cling to, I think I'd better shoot this one out to the team. And they say:
     "We never say never! There are designs in existence for another outing of everybody’s favourite rodent. I think the next game is scheduled for release shortly after KI3 hits the shelves!"

     ...which is, in effect, cacking all over the fantasies you so
feverishly cling to. Ah well, at least I'm off the hook.


To the right honourable gentleman wearing the orange day-glo hotpants,
     I am first going to start off with a bit of a boring question, but one which fans of your establishment (but not the hotpants) may want to be enlightened from, and that is; Are you still Rareware? Or has the 'ware' been dropped from your company's title in order to make it monosyllabic so those who don't know what monosyllabic means can read and recognise it?
     Secondly, I would like to comment on the brilliant Perfect Dark Zero. Brilliant game, well worth sitting through three ice ages for it to be finally completed. My only beef is that it is easy to beat the last mission on Perfect Agent mode once you have completed it on Agent... why? Because you can start with the sword. I do miss the challenges that were in the original Perfect Dark - that lengthened the gameplay greatly. Any chance of Perfect Dark 'Live & Reloaded' like you did with Conker?
     Thirdly, Kameo. I'm still playing that one and admit I haven't got very far... yet. A great looking game and I'm now glad it wasn't rushed out for GameCube (like Star Fox - though hardly your fault that Nintendo decided to sell their share of Rareware). What I find is a bit of a downer with Kameo is that the introductory level seems much more fun to play than the next stage. I expect it gets better as I play along, so I will stick with the slowness for now.
     Can't wait to see what future plans you have for 360 - and hope I don't have to wait too long. Maybe a Banjo-Kazooie Mega Collection, all beefed up for the Xbox 360? And am looking forward to some handheld delights in the future. Just please don't wait until the next Xbox console's release before delighting us with more quality gaming. No half-bummed attempts like Grabbed by the Ghoulies please.
     A loyal (but not completely brainwashed) fan,
     Edgy

     P.S. Don't your feathery bits itch in those hotpants?

Rare Reply: Are we still Rareware? Technically, we probably could be if we wanted to, but for now we've consciously dropped the name from the logo to concentrate on good old straightforward Rare.
     In answer to your PD Zero question, I lazily forwarded the entire email to Duncan, who responded: "In answer to what I think the only question there for me was: No. None whatsoever." Honestly, his sentence structure needs some work. I don't think I'll be asking him to answer any more questions. No, wait, he's one of only four or five people who ever do answer these questions.
     As for Kameo, maybe I'm a bit simple, but my initial impressions were on the other end of the scale to yours - mild bewilderment during the Thorn's Castle prologue, followed by something like relief when it all calmed down and the exploration and tutorial stuff kicked in. And yes, the action does pick up again in fairly short order. It's not all about giving torches the evil eye and taking out your frustrations on pumpkins.


To Whom it may Concern,
     It seems an exciting time for Rareware and the stale generation that was, is no more.
     Now I know certain 'powers that be' would have you producing and reproducing your big name games (Banjo, Perfect Dark) in an endless downward spiral of insanity and corruption. And you should probably do what they say, for a time, or until an adequate resistance movement can be organised.
     However on your more lowbrow console, the DS, hire a bunch of neo-realistic-post-modern-left-wing-zealots (all one word) just out of University with no job prospects and a PhD in philosophy to design your next inspired games. Disregard your falling profit margin, and your starving children you leave at home every day. Ignore also your screaming fans simultaneously committing suicide and writing hate letters to you, the editor.
     Then timed to maximum effect announce Jet Blast Banjo Country Instincts III and your fans will be screaming for new blood transfusions to play this ultra-realistic puzzle FPS sport racing action adventure. Delay it a couple of times, then only release one cartridge and send it to Mongolia.
     Thank you for your time,
     Mongolian Minister of Tourism

Rare Reply: Sounds like a laugh. Although it'll probably have to be Jet Blast Banjo Conker Instincts III if it's to comply with the licences we currently hold.
     By the way, I feel obliged to point out that nobody's forcing us to make any particular game. Granted, I'm not privy to extensive details on each and every project underway here at the moment, but what I do know is quite surprising even to me. Let's just say that there's not a whole lot of 'producing and reproducing' going on.
     Now then, how many gaming news sites do you think will try to make a headline story out of that?
     One more thing: from the Official Mongolia Tourism Website I learn that "One of Mongolia’s most popular rock groups 'Khar-Chono' has teamed up with praised composer S. Tara to bring Mongolia’s first rock opera, 'Chinggis Khaan' to audiences in Ulaanbaatar." No doubt it'll 'rock a fat one', as the cool kids say.



D
ear Scribes,
     I was just wondering if you guys over at Rare have thought about doing an arcade port of Battletoads for Xbox Live Arcade, it shouldn’t be too hard to have online multiplayer and if it only cost five bucks to buy thousands of copies would be bought over Xbox Live, but people would still buy it for 10 or more, well please at least throw the idea around to some of the higher-ups because instead of having to put all the focus into whatever unannounced game for next gen we might get some of the classics in all their glory without all the current gen development woes, well here’s to hoping I get to pay you guys for some more childhood memories.
     Josh Jenkins

Rare Reply: Hell of a sentence, Josh.
     "If porting games to Xbox Live Arcade was just a simple case of pressing a button, then we’d have ported the lot in a couple of hours and waited for the cash to roll in," points out the prolific (and some may say sadistic) designer of Battletoads, Ghoulies and Banjo. "Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that, and many old games as they stand would not be suitable for Live Arcade. Battletoads is probably one, as it featured an almost inhuman difficulty level that many of today’s players would not appreciate, let alone handle. Rather than it being seen as a way of dumping old games onto a new audience, I’d like to see Live Arcade used as a new innovative medium where players can experience games that are written specifically to take advantage of what it offers. At Rare we always look back fondly, but if you look back too much you stagnate."



Dear Scribes,
     I've been playing Perfect Dark Zero since its launch in Europe 2.12.2005. The game is absolutely great and it's a lot more than I ever expected, but there is some minor flaws. So, I was just wondering when we'll be getting an update for it? I'm sure you know about the bugs the game has, and I'm sure they'll be fixed, but I'm hoping for some new stuff too.
     Guys, this game is THE most skill-based game I have ever played, but it lacks one thing: A gametype that fits for clanmatches. I mean, DeathMatch gametypes are kinda noobish, so DarkOps is the only way. Obviously Infection and Onslaught are not fitted for competitive gaming, but Eradication and Sabotage have SOME potential. Too bad both of those gametypes favor way too much camping, which at least in my opinion is not the point of this game.
     Shooting in this game takes really much skill, and I'm so far unbeatable by the people I've encountered via Live. This is the first game I'm good at, so I really hope we'll be getting a new gametype, which doesn't favor camping. I mean, when I play it daily with my friends there's almost no camping at all, but it all changes in clanmatches, of course.
     My apologizes for my horrible English, but my excuse is that I live in Finland. Thank you.
     Teini Jussi-Pekka

Rare Reply: Everyone's got excuses today. Still, your 'horrible English' has got Daivy from Belgium's merely 'incorrect English' beat. Daivy! Sort it out!
     Our scampering PDZ multiplayer designer pet remarks: "It's good he's having fun, even if he is horribly wrong. If you camp on either offense or defense during Sabotage you'll get schooled. Infection is designed to be won by the most tactically and strategically aware player, and if you're watching the seconds tick away as you try to assault what appears to be a team of limpets holding out in their base in Onslaught without feeling competitive then you're clinically dead.
     "We're making more levels for multiplayer, and we'll be doing a title update to fix some of the annoying issues players have with the game. More news on when exactly that's going to happen will come later on down the line. Clan functionality was supposed to be available from the MGS side, but it didn't make it in for launch."


Dear Rare Legends,
     Just a quick mention about the staircase next to your office you showed us all in the previous Scribes update. I didn't think they were too "Xtreme" as you put it, until I tried to work out if you stood at the bottom of the staircase to take the photo or at the top. It was at this point I started to freak out. So tell us (or at least me) which of the two is it?
     Luke (a.k.a. Cobra)

     P.S. I still think Mr Pants has been replaced by an impostor.

Rare Reply: Really now, enough of your shenanigans. That was quite clearly not a view from the foot of the stairs. Would we seriously put carpet on the walls? What kind of aesthetically challenged freaks do you think we are? This is the view from the bottom of the staircase. Do you see?
     PS He'd have to be a pretty desperate impostor.



Dear EXTRAS / scribes,
     I'd just like to say that I appreciate your informative response from the last edition of Scribes concerning the composers for the Donkey Kong Country soundtrack track-by-track. That was an issue I had been wondering about myself for many years, but didn't think I would ever get a response had I written in and asked. I was very glad Mr. Goulet did, though, and was very pleased to see your response. I'd also like to let Ms. Fischer know that I think she's underappreciated for her work on the soundtrack. Even I didn't realize how much of a contribution she had made to the game's music. Ice Cave Chant, Forest Frenzy, and Treetop Rock especially are all wonderful tracks---tracks that I have enjoyed for over a decade now.
     My next question is similar to Goulet's, but since you've already been kind enough to answer his, I won't be overly disappointed if you don't have time for mine. If you do, however, here it is: Which composer was responsible for which tracks in Donkey Kong Country 3 - Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (the credits list both Dave Wise and Eveline Fischer, I believe)? If you can't provide a full list, could you at least answer this question in regard to the Rockface Rumble track? Either way, thanks for the games, and the fantastic music.
     Stephen A. Barrow

Rare Reply: Eveline (now Novakovic - you missed your chance, Stevey-boy) says: "I’m assuming this is referring to the old SNES version of DKC3, and not the current GBA title which was completely re-scored by David Wise. Anyway, I have the soundtrack to the SNES version here and the list goes..." Well, it goes on for some time, but the summary is as follows: everything is by Eveline except for Dixie Beat, Crazy Calypso, Wrinkly's Save Cave, Get Fit A-Go-Go, Wrinkly 64, Brothers Bear and Bonus Time (along with Bonus Win and Bonus Lose), which were by Dave. That clear it up for you? Eveline also adds: "P.S. Am really delighted Stephen enjoys the work I’ve done =0)".


Dear Mr. Lettersday,
     I couldn't help but notice that in the last edition of Scribes, your It's Mr. Pants programmer Paul challenged a dedicated fan to count each appearance of pants in the game It's Mr. Pants (well, obviously). The specific quote starts out: "Now, for a magical secret prize: just how many different pairs of Pants are shown throughout the entire game? Answers on a postcard to...". You cut him off before he could finish, of course (you tricky devil), but this is Scribes. Can you really expect anyone not to take everything utterly and completely seriously? So, of course, I set out to count all of the pairs of pants in the game. Now, I haven't unlocked everything in the game yet. So I enlisted the help of an even greater fan of the game, called Mark (he's written in quite a fair bit as 'darkmark8').
     So, we set to work. Mark took care of the Gallery, while I took care of menus, intros, and transitions.
     Note: I'm only accounting for each individual appearance of items. Meaning, the pairs in paintings aren't counted each time they appear in the game, since he specifically said different pairs.
     For the introduction and the menus, there are a total of 70 pairs of pants. In each puzzle, although I'm only accounting for one appearance, there is a side bar with 35 pairs of pants on it. This adds up to 105 pairs of pants. In the credits, there are precisely 11 pairs of pants visible. In the gallery, the total pairs of pants for all of the paintings is 121. In addition to this, there are two pairs of pants that are attached to the left and right arrows in the Gallery screen.
     As I'm sure you'll find, 105 + 11 + 121 + 2 = 239. There are exactly 239 pairs of individual pants in this game. Attached is a detailed report of what specifically we counted, so you can determine for yourself whether it's accurate or not.
     If you can find it in your hearts to find something to send to a few fans who truly appreciate the effort put into the game, in addition to the fact that it was made, here's some contact information.
     Thank you very much for your time,
     Tucker Beard and Mark Mazzei

Rare Reply: I didn't cut Paul off before he could finish, he just didn't finish because he didn't mean it, as you well know, you borderline stalkers. Nevertheless, he felt pressured to check out your results (to be fair this was during the last few days before Xmas, there wasn't much else to do) and came to the shocking conclusion that you'd MISSED SOME PANTS. Or maybe it was just one pair of pants. I forget. Anyway, you need to go back and re-evaluate your findings if it's gratuitous handouts you're after. Don't worry, a few more hours of painstaking, eye-straining labour will only reaffirm your love for the game! Trust me.


Hi,
     Being a huge fan of all things Rare for more years than I care to remember, (Jetpac on the Spectrum, Sabre Wulf, Atic Atac etc. etc.), I just wondered if you had any plans to ever bring out a Donkey Kong Country game on the Nintendo GameCube?
     I have bought the bongo games - but they are not the same as the SNES classic - hours of misspent youth!!
     I also am aware that they are available on the Game Boy, but whilst half of my reason to purchase a GameCube was Mario - the hope of Donkey Kong Country was the other!
     Oh well, nostalgia over- back to work!
     Chris

Rare Reply: That'll be the old 'MS subsidiary' issue again, I'm afraid. As things stand at the moment, we're free to produce GBA and DS titles as Microsoft have no competing hardware in the handheld console arena; the same doesn't apply to home consoles. And of course the DKC licence doesn't belong to us anyway. Too many variables, Christopher, too many variables. So as far as the 'Cube is concerned, you'll just have to be content with a combination of Star Fox Adventures and the monkey percussion shenanigans of our friend Mr. Namco.

Reconstructed by hand from the manky boxart!
Hey, Mr. El Scribey... Scribbles... Oh, f**k the stupid greeting.
     So. I'll get straight to the point. Why on Earth haven't there been any more Snake Rattle 'n' Roll games? So far, I believe we've had two, if you include Sneaky Snakes. That Sega Mega Drive port doesn't count, as it was more or less the same game with a not-as-catchy soundtrack (although I'm in love with the soundtrack to the NES original, and the Game Boy pseudo-sequel).
     I think if KI deserves the sequel everyone's been yammering about since the dawn of time, Rattle and Roll deserve one ten times more. Perhaps even a port with better graphics, like Conker? Anyway, I think it certainly deserves more mention that it's gotten. I mean, come on - it wasn't even referenced in Grabbed by the Ghoulies! God knows everything else did. Why not give some props to everyone's favorite reptilian duo? Are they not furry enough for you sick b*stards? Eh? EH? EH?!
     OK, I've calmed down a tad. But they still deserve a sequel more than anything else, including bloody Killer Instinct.
     Anyway, peace out,
     Enter the Kiwi
     
P.S. Just remember, at least I didn't ask for it to be on GameCube.

Rare Reply: Let's ask the Ghoulies designer about it - and not just because of your gratuitous GbtG mention, I'm sure he was actually around during the whole Snakes 'phenomenon' way back in the mists of time (when you probably WEREN'T EVEN BORN, rendering your demands little more than some UNHINGED CRUSADE OF ANGUINE ZEALOTRY).
     "Wow, a Nibbly-Pibbly fan! Many, many years ago when I first started at Rare in the testing department I was fortunate enough to test Snakes, it was like a breath of fresh air amongst the ‘less desirable’ Wheel of (mis)Fortune and Jeopardy. Trust me - testing quiz games with American questions when you know all the answers is not fun. Snakes was what you might call a ‘gamer’s game’ in that it required a fair amount of skill and was very unforgiving. This style of gameplay seems to be largely out of fashion at the moment, but you never know - after all, it did say at the end of the game that they would be back in Snakes in Space."



Hey Guys,
     I'm a 17 year old Australian young male and I simply have a question, a statement and something which a million people have already pointed out. Firstly I was wondering if there is any such site or you guys keep record of the fastest completion times of particular games such as DK, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye, you get the idea. Today I SMASHED my best ever completion time of Banjo-Kazooie, finishing it in 5 hours, 18 minutes, 26 seconds including everything from Jiggies to Cheato books and of course beating the witch, everything except the three secrets, you know the eggs and ice key. I reckon if there 'is' records of game completions that I'll be a fair bit off but I'd certainly like to compare them. Secondly, thirdly I should say because that was my statement and my question. Thirdly I'd like to simply say: Donkey Kong? More like Ape Kong or Monkey Kong wouldn't ya say? He'd be a pretty useless as a Donkey...
    
Gibbatizer from Australia

Rare Reply: He'd be outright disturbing if he was voiced by Eddie Murphy.
     We don't really keep that kind of 'speed run' record, largely because it'd be self-defeating to encourage our testers to run through the game at breakneck speed, missing all the bugs along the way. But there are plenty of sites that do. This one, for example. Under three hours? Blimey, looks like you've got your work cut out for you there cobber, fair dinkum etc. (no, I'm not better than that).


Dear Scribes,
     Hello, no unique introduction, sorry. So what's the formula here... oh yeah, arse-kissing... I've been a Rare fan since Battletoads and DKC. I own every game you've made for the N64 and Xbox (excluding the Disney and Banjo games). getting to the point, I recently had a chance to buy an Xbox 360 (they are very scarce around these here parts) but I passed it up. I've been reading online that the games can get ruined rather easily if the machine is tilted while a game is inside, or (in some cases) the game gets scratched during normal play. My questions would be:
     1) If I buy an Xbox 360 before the big M (or H) decides to make their drives more scratch-resistant, and my copy of Perfect Dark Zero or Kameo gets scratched all to sh*te, would Rare replace my disc?
     +) Since the mechanical problems on the machine itself are the only real reason I have yet to purchase one, can you give me some info on future updates of the current games to entice me to buy one? Will there be any downloadable levels for PD0? Maybe a downloadable hack that makes Kameo have "hot coffee" relations with some of the critters she encounters.
     IX) Could there, or would there, or will there ever be a compilation game in the works involving Rare characters. I had thought about a Super Smash Bros. type game, but I don't see any reason for it...
     A
nyway, sorry about the lengthy letter, but you've never published any of my past letters, so I expect nothing's changed this time. Thanks for reading anyway.
     Brett Armstrong

Rare Reply: 1) Would Rare replace it? No, because we don't have anything to do with the manufacturing process. Would Microsoft? I honestly don't know - you'd have to ask 'em. What I don't understand is why people are so keen to go swinging their machines around from one orientation to the other while they've actually got games running inside. These things strike me as the ACTIONS OF A BUFFOON.
     +) We do have DLC for both Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero on the way, yes. I can't give exact details because nothing's been announced yet, but I believe it's common knowledge that there'll be more multiplayer maps available for PDZ at the very least. Common knowledge because Duncan said so a few letters back. However, I can absolutely not confirm the possibility of Kameo playing hide the sausage with a Shadow Troll.
     IX) No, neither do we. Hence the removal of the other 5000 paragraphs of your letter, Armstrong. Just because you landed on the moon doesn't mean you can ramble on for hours about any subject that takes your fancy. Other people have done it as well since then, you know! It's passé! Move on with your life!


Dear gentlefolks at Rare Ltd.,
     You have produced many entertaining video games over the past years, many featuring cute, cuddly animals such as bears, moles, squirrels, and even beavers. But, after speaking with my colleagues, it has come to my attention that there is yet to be a giraffe in any video games of yours. Ever. This is a very serious problem, as giraffes are very sensitive creatures and could take it very personally. They are also longtime rivals of the llama and can feel very insulted due to the llama in Donkey Kong 64. Giraffes have just as much right to star in a video game as any other mammal/lizard/shark does.
     My first reason is probably the most important one. Giraffe lovers and watchers are over 87% of the Xbox fanbase. I am positive that these citizens, be they American, Canadian, or Bigfoot, would give their grandma to have but one Rare game starring a giraffe. You'd not only be doing a favor for all the giraffes in the world, but for all Xbox owners as well. It'd be a tribute to humanity.
     Giraffes have a wide variety of special skills that would make for great attributes in a video game. They can shoot lasers out of their horns, dodge over 40 bullet rounds a second, and collect everything from jigsaw pieces to squirrel tails. They are also the most professional of all winged creatures on Earth. Not only do they have skills that would make Superman jealous, but they are also the most polite of all mammals. Giraffes help people across the street, put the seat down, and show utmost gratitude towards all kind acts. They can also beat Canary Mary in Cloud Cuckooland in under 13 seconds.
     As you can plainly see from the reasons given above, a giraffe deserves to be in a video game just as much, if not more, than most animals. It'd appeal to the majority of Xbox owners, it'd be a kind act, and they are more than qualified for the job. I appreciate all of you considering this very noble act.
     Dustin Demon

Rare Reply: Just in time to save me from having to think of something funny to say about giraffes, here comes DKC's designer with a giraffe-based mid-90s SNES anecdote. Talk about timing!
     "Funny you should mention giraffes; we actually considered one as an animal that could be ridden in the DKC games. Donkey was going to sit on its back like a horse, but then be able to climb up its neck and stand on its head to reach lofty areas. The reason why the giraffe never got past the drawing board was something to do with the number of sprites it was going to use (basically it would have been too big) and the hits (collision system) would have been a bit rubbish, like the frog."
    
And if that wasn't candid enough for you, he also adds: "No-one can beat Canary Mary in less than 13 seconds (not even a giraffe) as she cheats and adapts her speed to match the player’s skill. If you play too well she always seems to win. We never did fix that one properly…"


Dear Admiral,
     During one of my regular gin-induced waltzes across the Andes I was fortunate enough to mug a shepherd and acquire a copy of the Conker soundtrack. Very nice and all, but where in the name that has gone all holey are the rest of the tracks? No Ugga Buggas? Disgraceful! No Mr Big Cog? Outrageous! This is worse than the time that I ran over that badger and realized it was actually a pipe of Pringles! Sort it, Beanland!
     The Reverend Chuck Norris

     PS. Banjo-Threeie, can I have a singing role? Ta!

Rare Reply: That would explain why I came down for a midnight snack the other week only to find myself in Accident & Emergency getting stitches in my nose.
     I'll get on Beanland's case again, he's been promising to get me some of those Live & Reloaded MP3s for about 29 years now. Honestly, sometimes I think he's doing it on bloody - oh wait, hang on, he's just sent over the very two you requested. He's the best! I won't hear a bad word said about him! Get across to the C:L&R Downloads page quick and snap 'em up.
     PS Past evidence suggests there'd be more call for grunting and honking roles.
By the way, is it true that you were in Street Fighter II and you can win a game of Connect Four in three moves?


Dear PDZ Team,
     Another rant about Perfect Dark Zero, I'm afraid. Why is the aiming reticle so damn small? And why doesn't the game feature any sort of aim-assist or auto-aim? You know, there's a reason why games like Halo 2 and FarCry Instincts feature such large aiming reticles and an insane amount of auto-aiming. And that's because you can't aim for sh*t with a controller! Really, you can't! It's not so bad in single player since guards are usually standing still, or taking cover. You know, not zig-zagging all around the place non-stop and constantly rolling as if their life depended on it, like people actually do online. This makes it almost impossible to accurately hit anyone, or to hit anyone at all! I get so frustrated firing at nothing but air that I usually just run up to them and hit them in the face with a melee attack! That's actually more effective than using guns! Something is clearly wrong here. The game should be fun, not frustrating.
     It's almost as if the game was designed for use with a mouse, but there's no such peripheral on the Xbox 360. And I'm certainly not a crappy player, far from it. Lots of people I spoke with have expressed their dislike for the aiming/controls. I hope this is the kind of balancing issue that you are planning to fix if you ever release an auto-update. I'll go back to Halo 2 for the moment, where it's actually possible to kill adversaries with something other than pure luck!
     Jean-Marc

Rare Reply: Chill your boots, big man. Auto-updates are a distinct possibility, for the permanently stressed amongst us, but you'll have to wait and see whether or not your own personal gripes are 'fixed'. In the meantime, Duncan would like to respond, employing his disconcerting technique of looking over your left shoulder and speaking about you in the third-person: "There is autoaim in the game. There is just no autoaim on people who are rolling. He should pay attention. Before he complains again, I should point out that anyone rolling as if their life depended on it takes more damage from any hit they receive during the roll."


Loveydavey,
     Why on earth do you persist with Scribes? I mean, you're a development house, you can't act surprised when all the mail you get is poorly-typed and perpetually about PD push-button codes and Stop 'N' Swap and when Kameo and Banjo-Kazoothree are released. This is why other developers don't have letters pages.
     Don't get me wrong, of course, Scribes is a ray of sunlight. I just have a cry of lament for you, who has to rummage through that inbox with listlessness. Love Banjo, and just to show I mean well, here's an RPA of both an arse and Mr. Pants. An arse AND Mr. Pants, you say?! Yes! Revel in my amalgamity!
     Adam M.

Rare Reply: Ergh. He looks like he's just had a cartoon anvil drop on his head, and the way you've extended the Y on his pants makes the whole thing look considerably filthier than it actually is. This, I believe, is why other developers don't have letters pages. And why do I persist? I'm waiting for the multi-million pound book and film deal when someone realises the trauma I've been through and declares me some sort of national hero. At this point, though, I'm thinking it might not happen.


Dear Beloved Rare,

     So I have just read that you have no upcoming games!! Here's the evidence: "Okay, this could be slightly awkward: with the release of Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero, two of Rare's biggest and most high-profile titles to date, we currently have no upcoming games in the works that have yet been revealed to the public."
     OK, now I love PDZ and Kameo (kinda the reason I bought the Xbox 360, just for those games), but since those are out already and it seems you are wondering where to go next, how about this: Jet Force Gemini 2! YEAH! How about it? I know I speak for A LOT of people when I say that JFG 2 on the Xbox 360 would be sweet... really sweet. So come on Rare, right now would be the perfect time to make the perfect sequel to the best game ever made, Jet Force Gemini!!
     I dream of the day I read "JFG 2" in the Upcoming Games section... please make that dream a reality!
     Sean O'Connor

Rare Reply: Can't help you there, I'm afraid. We will indeed have something to fill that niggling Upcoming Games void in the near future, but just about the only categorical statement I can make at this stage is that it won't be JFG2. In fact I'm not even sure I'm at liberty to say that much, but I just have, so tough.
     It's not that we've got some bizarre grudge against JFG, you understand. In fact it's just the kind of quirky, reputation-building game that we're glad to have in our back catalogue. But that doesn't mean a sequel would necessarily sell, or broaden the Rare/Xbox fanbase in any way. It was a product of its time, and (at least in terms of team structure and what's best for Rare right now) that time has passed. Who knows, maybe the crazy tank dog will fly again one day... but not today.



Greetings.
     I write to you in the hope that someone at Rareware can illuminate the whereabouts of an environment which has seemingly been cut out of Perfect Dark Zero. I refer of course to a dark level filled with armour-wearing soldiers, as shown in this screenshot.
     Is this level ever going to show up in the form of downloadable content? Or are we doomed never to see it again? WAH HAPPENED?
     Sidzed 2

Rare Reply: No idea. Let's find out, shall we?
     "It’s an early version of the corridor leading from the lifts to the main lab room, so it’s actually in the game already. Only better."
     So there you go. Your plans for cajoling extra downloadable content out of us FOILED, TROUNCED and KNACKED. That's what you get for linking to IGN.


Dear Mr. Pants,
     Between building the sets, composing the music, and getting the Oompa-Loompas, Tusken Raiders, and trained Mandrill baboons to sing for the musical presentation planned for the next Pantsboard’s response, I have been considering a possible topic to zing at you. I was very impressed with the job the good folks at Rare did with the downloads on Xbox Live. I picked up Ghoulies Pack 2 already, and I will pick up all of those Ultimate games that you keep hinting at. At first I couldn’t think of anything to ask to improve/add on to Live, but I really want to shovel those points from my account to yours for those Ultimate games! The question you could ask the general public is:
     “What would you like to see Rare do with Live, and its marketplace?”
     I hope you consider this Burning Question, by the way for two reasons:
     1) I was thoughtful enough to wait a while until the peanut gallery shuffled outta the Pantsboard after they swarmed you with crap.
     2) I’m your sanest fan! (Now if only the baboons would stop biting me…)
     I'd like to hear from you if you think my idea holds any promise... or booze for that matter... thanks so much for modeling your artistic talents and your own buff bod* for that wallpaper by the way!
     Zenek

     *Kinda like how that Kingpin guy from the Spider-Man comics seemed out of shape, but could kick the crap outta Spidey any day! Go ahead Mr. P, hack that loogie into Tusk’s cereal and shrew mixture of a breakfast. You can take ‘im!

Rare Reply: You should really bear in mind that me 'hinting' at something in Scribes (usually by saying yes, we're definitely going to do it, in a way that involves GIANT SARCASTIC LETTERS) isn't what you'd call a cast-iron guarantee. Live-enabled Ultimate games may well turn up in the future, and frankly it'd be a crime if they didn't, but I think you're mistaking me for an official company spokesperson again.
     That aside, your question suggestion isn't bad at all - I'll, er, pass it on. Now stop calling me Mr. Pants. Can I just check: do we have to take the Oompa-Loompas and stuff as well, or can we just nick the question? Not that a bunch of simpering Tusken Raider
choirboys could do much damage to the reputation of Star Wars these days, mind.
     Don't forget Kingpin could kick the crap out of Daredevil as well, most notably during that time when he turned black for a few hours.



'E
llo there then Mr Loveday,
     Any chance Rare would be up to making a historical Empire running simulation, based in this particular period of history?
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arses
     It would of course be called Arses of Persia.
     Oh and of course, PDZ is teh ghey, I now thisss becorse I saw some movies of it on teh internets, Rare is teh GheY as well.
     Bobby from your Pants

Rare Reply: Works for me! We need to release something to build anticipation for our flagship 2008 title Jet Blast Banjo Conker Instincts III, and this sounds like just the thing. A stick man with an arse for a face bouncing off walls and braining people with a wavy-line sword, shouldn't take too long, I reckon we could get it done for... September 2007?
     Still, it's sad to learn that "Arses remained little more than a puppet-king during the two years of his reign". And as if that wasn't bad enough, a couple of millennia later, he's only brought up in conversation because his name is a synonym for bumholes. Talk about bad luck.


Heya Rare!
     It's been a while since I last wrote to you (it was back in the old GCN gays [Gays? - Ed]) but I'd just like to congratulate the team behind Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo. I was afraid Rare would lose its touch after moving to Microsoft, since Grabbed by the Ghoulies didn't really grab my attention. Perfect Dark Zero is excellent and high quality, both on and offline. Kameo is just plain awesome! But I must ask a few questions regarding both games, as, though I am enjoying them, I'm just so excited that a few questions have popped into my head!
     1.) Will a Counter-Op mode be released for Perfect Dark Zero, like the good old N64 days? (Don't you mean gays? - Ed)
     2.) Furthermore, are you guys working on any new map packs? If so, are they going to be revivals of the classic maps like Felicity and Complex or brand new ones?
     3.) I've noticed there's an empty space under the "Splitscreen" option in Kameo, after selecting Xbox Live. Could it be an Xbox Live Co-Op Mode is planned? :O
     4.) Do you guys plan to charge for particular downloads, or will some be free, and some not?
     If you can't answer any of the above, can you answer this for me...
     1: Are there plans to release DLC for PD Zero or Kameo in the near future?
     Thanks a lot guys, and keep up the great work. I'ts great to see the Rare I know and love shining through in the next generation of gaming. I've been a huge fan since the Donkey Kong SNES days!
     James

Rare Reply: 1) Duncan! "Maybe. Maybe not. We have other things we need to do before we even look at that."
     2) Duncan! "We’re working on DLC maps now. We’ll see what the response is like to the first pack."
     3) George! "Co-op over Live is currently in the last stages of debugging and should be available very soon. And there are firm plans to release more downloadable content soon after - details of which will be made available soon. Watch this space..."
     4) Duncan! "That decision is not ours to make."
     A full complement of informative responses from relevant people on the appropriate teams. I can't decide whether that means Scribes is finally hitting its stride or totally losing its touch.
A Jiggy we're hiding from that thieving get Will Smith


Dear Scribes,
     Hello, my dearest developers working for my not so dearest company, I am probably the only 13 years old Belgian fan who's got a N64 and a SNES plus all of the Game Boys. I have every game you ever released on SNES (from Battletoads till Killer Instinct) and all of the N64 games. I even ordered a game from America, only later I realised that I had PAL and that clearly was NTSC. My problem is that I can't find ANY of your games for the GBA except Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge. Other than that, I haven't seen any of Sabre Wulf, Mr. Pants and Banjo Pilot. Can you please explain to me why I can't find them in any store?
     Jakob Werbrouck

Rare Reply: Well... er... no, not really. You might want to check that with THQ, who published all four of our non-DKC GBA titles. We don't have a full breakdown of each game's individual launch plan, but it does appear that some titles ended up being more widely available in specific territories than others, so it's not entirely beyond the bounds of credibility that only Grunty's Revenge was ever released in Belgium. That may not be the case, but if it is then it's import-me-do for you, squire (or if you're feeling particularly brave, eBay-me-do). Mercifully the whole importing thing is made easier by the lack of a regional lockout on GBA titles. Not that we're officially endorsing the import trade, because we're probably not supposed to, but hey - if you're stuck, you're stuck.


Hey you sneakers,
     Don't you think it's about time you let us know how Stop and Swop is going to be implemented into your new Banjo-Kazooie platforming game you have in development for the DS? Yes, I know what you're thinking: "Seven years and you haven't got over the damn thing?!" Well, no I have not, thank you. You see, we have been waiting all this time, and we know what you guys are up to (and by we, I mean every Rare fan) so why not let us know? Just a little hint maybe? You do know the DS has a slot for DS games AND GBA games and though I might seem oh so crazy, maybe you could port the original BK game on the GBA, make your new BK platforming game on the DS and use the GBA cartridge to transfer data between both games!! Yes! I am so excited! You could even put this news up in your "Upcoming Games" section! Who would have thought of that?
     Now, you better make that Stop and Swop thing work or else I won't be getting Perfect Dark Zero or Kameo... well, the hell with it, I'll still get them but you better bring back Stop and Swop!
     Well, looks like it's back to daydreaming for me... and don't think I'll forget you!
     Eric Longval

Rare Reply: Aw, that's sweet. We won't forget you either, Eric. Or your address, which we've just looked up during the trip to Homebase to buy a spanner to hit you with.
     Back to the team for another weary reaction, I suppose: "If we told you all about Stop n’ Swap then it would spoil all the wonderful emails and fabricated ‘truths’ we see. So we're not going to say anything. Unless I start my version of Milliondollarhomepage.com where if one million people all give me $1 I will tell you all how Stop n’ Swap works. For that kind of money I may even announce when the next KI is coming out and send you a bonus selection of the hilarious, grammatically abhorrent hate mail we got (and still get) due to us leaving Nintendo. So ‘stop’ asking us this question and ‘swap’ it for another!"
     Right then: new questions. Come on. I'm sick of this one, like I'm sick of KI3 and JFG2 and PD button codes. We've got some new games out now, for God's sake - I want to see some new topics of discussion, and no, 'PDZ button codes' isn't going to be good enough.



H
ello Rare Team,
     i want to ask you something and i hope to get back an email with the answer (pleeeeeeease)
     Ive read the History Line and ive seen that the last Killer Instinct Game is 9 years old, so how long will it take that KI3 will be released? And which Platform will it take?
     And Im hoping that all Danger Moves will be more bloody and violency like Mortal Kombat, more real like an 3D Real Life combat with bones and flesh and all of the incredians a human being will carry inside.
     Please give my regards to the whole Team of yours, thanx for your time.
     Michael Fish

Rare Reply: There's a famous British weatherman called Michael Fish, but that's not the funniest thing about this email. No, that honour goes directly to 'incredians'. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel so jam-packed full of incredians that there's barely any room for the bones and flesh.
     If we'd plucked an estimate for KI3's likely platform and year of arrival out of thin air the first time we were asked this question, we might well have said it'd appear on the N64 within a couple of years, so look how far blind guesswork gets us. There's no point in us announcing KI3 until we're actually developing it. But if it helps to narrow things down, let's say a spring 2006 release is unlikely, and I wouldn't put money on a Gizmondo, Amstrad CPC or Konix Multisystem version.



Snippets

Alright, time to ask the question that's on everyone's mind: Will Rareware (don't you just hate it if people say that?) make a Columbo game? Just imagine... Rareware presents... Columbo.
God

Rare Reply: Do we have a choice, or should we consider this a divine dictate?


dear rareware in starfox adventures krystal's parents somehow died during the beginning of the game you should make a prequel to starfox adventures that tells what happens
JstnRstr

Rare Reply: I beg to differ. Firstly, because we can't; secondly, because nobody cares.


Why is the Conker's Bad Fur Day N64 cartridge heavier than most (if not all) other carts?
Stephen Davey

Rare Reply: It's packed with congealed dung, each cartridge individually filled by a loving team.


I'm requesting info on whether or not a third Banjo-Kazooie game is coming out, primarily because I liked the first two. Pay no mind to the b*stard who requested no jokes.
Boldlambs

Rare Reply: Lots of people request no jokes. Fortunately they don't all bang on about Banjo-Threeie as well.


Guess WHAT?!!!! I got a 12" tall Joanna Dark on my desk! Aren't you jealous? Huh?
Steven Sherber

Rare Reply: I've got a 5' 9 one pouting on my lap, Sherbert - beat that.


What, no wallpaper for Banjo's two GBA games?! I think you should remedy that... Banjo Pilot deserves one. Please?
Zenek

Rare Reply: I'll see if I can dig anything up... no promises though, smelly.


I am constantly in hystericals over the retorts you conjure up, and was wondering if you could reply to a letter writer with the following: 'Sod off you stupid tw*t'. I would get a kick out of it. Say hi to your mother for me.
Rove

Rare Reply: I couldn't possibly. My mother says "alright?" (in a thick Welsh accent).


I'm running around my house with no pants on, what should I do?
Turbo Diddy

Rare Reply: Sod off you stupid tw*t. No, it's no good - punctuation dilutes the purity of swearing.


As I sit here examining the Holo card that came with the Limited Edition of Perfect Dark Zero, I wondered why there was never a Limited Edition of Kameo?
Keith Hammond

Rare Reply: The game's designer says: "You'd have to ask Mr. B. Gates that one, I'm afraid."


Make a new Wizards & Warriors or the penguin will suffer the consequences.
Juan Manuel, from Spain

Rare Reply: Wait, you didn't even Photoshop in a big swinging pendulum axe or anything. That's rubbish.


I hear you Rare guys finally have that lucrative BBC license you've been after ever since the Ultimate days... and are now making the long-awaited sequel to JFG with it! Congrats - I look forward to hearing E3 impressions!
Martin "Alf-Life" Badowsky

Rare Reply: You could have at least put him in a comedy space helmet. Honestly, standards are slipping.