When Nintendo sold its stake in Rare back in 2002, fans were shocked. The second-party developer played a pivotal role throughout the Nintendo 64 era, providing a number of strong titles during the dry spells between Nintendo’s own first-party releases. Not only would Rare no longer create games for Nintendo consoles, the studio would now exclusively develop them for the company’s latest rival, Microsoft. Things very nearly went a different way, however!
According to Xbox co-creator Ed Fries, Nintendo’s stake in Rare almost went to Activision, instead. The publisher outbid Microsoft’s initial bid for Rare, but Microsoft decided to bid higher at the last minute. The sale to Activision would have made a lot of sense; the developer and publisher seem like a good fit. At the very least, this likely would have resulted in Rare properties such as Banjo-Kazooie continuing to appear on Nintendo consoles! The bird-bear duo would certainly have fit alongside Spyro the Dragon, Donkey Kong, and Crash Bandicoot in Activision’s Skylanders franchise!
The video game industry has had a number of close calls that could have irrevocably changed gaming. Nintendo and Sony nearly once collaborated before the release of the original PlayStation! It’s interesting to see what might have been, but fans might not have a game like the upcoming Yooka-Laylee, had things occurred differently.
Source: Nintendo Everything