No, not Rare – Microsoft is likely to never give them up after the massive investment that purchased the studio back in 2002. The developer of the new Killer Instinct title released on Microsoft’s Xbox One Double Helix has been acquired by Amazon and is a part of their push to “build innovative games for customers.”
The acquisition, unsurprisingly, does not affect Microsoft’s Killer Instinct property which remains theirs; the software giant has also announced that their internal KI team is unaffected and remains dedicated to supporting the game. Microsoft will be working with a new partner going forward to support the Xbox One launch title and any additional entries in the franchise. As a dedicated KI fan, this is the good news. While I was thoroughly pleased with the latest entry in the franchise and commended Double Helix for resurrecting it, I have faith that Microsoft will do well by the fans in curating this fan favorite franchise.
Amazon’s move to acquire a game developer is not terribly surprising given rumors that the online retailer is working on a game console of their own. At this point, it’s unclear if Double Helix will work on more major releases or “full” games or will be restructured to focus on casual games for Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablets.
Killer Instinct will be released as a launch title for Microsoft’s Xbox One. The game is being developed by Double Helix and Rare. The developers in question are the subject of much speculation as to whether they can really pull off a new title in the KI franchise. Rare, despite being the original creator of the franchise, has done little more than produce Kinect-centric games and Avatar stuff over the past few years and much of the talent behind some of their greatest classics have long since left the studio. I don’t really think the studio is as bad off as a lot of people suggest since Microsoft’s acquisition (I think the Viva Pinata games are quite fantastic, honestly, and Nuts and Bolts wasn’t a traditional platformer, but it was fun and unique), but it is disappointing to see what the studio has become.
Killer Instinct will have a “demo version” available at launch for players looking to try out the game. The demo will include one playable character and will allow the individual purchase of fighters or users can purchase the entire game with the complete fighting roster. The game feature’s Xbox One’s dynamic match making and is constantly looking for a new match, even when you’re fighting one. This will allow gamers to enjoy more time fighting and less time in the lobby–a welcome update to a fighting game’s short matches.