"According to our sources inside Nintendo, Nintendo has officially sold its share of Rare to Microsoft. Last year, Nintendo had the opportunity to purchase the company, and refused. Rare put up the for sale sign and was looked at by both Microsoft and Activision. Microsoft won the bidding war, and Nintendo cut its ties with Rare. That’s what we do know.
Star Fox Adventures is still due out on September 23rd, but GBA titles like Sabre Wulf, Diddy Kong Pilot, Donkey Kong: Coconut Crackers, and Banjo Kazooie are still an unknown. We are assuming that at least 1 or 2 of these are already finished, and should be released by the end of the year, if not early next year.
This announcement is said to be made official at Microsoft’s X02 Europe event in Seville, Spain on September 24th. Ironically, it's the day after Nintendo ships Rare’s one and only GameCube title.
The following is an offical response from Nintendo of America on the Rare situation:
Although Nintendo doesn't comment on rumors or speculation by the media, we can tell you that Nintendo has made the decision not to request Rare to make any further exclusive games for the Nintendo GameCube. Although we're proud of our joint efforts with Rare over the years and have enjoyed our relationship with them, in fiscal year 2001, Rare accounted for only 9.5% of total Nintendo software revenue worldwide. In fiscal year 2002, that number declined to 1.5%. Therefore, in evaluating our investments in developers, as well as the financial benefits to Nintendo over the years, we've decided it's in Nintendo's best interests to focus on diversifying our portfolio of developers and projects.
Star Fox Adventures, which was jointly developed by Rare and Nintendo, will launch as scheduled on September 23rd and will remain exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube. Nintendo's other great franchise characters such as Donkey Kong also will remain exclusive to Nintendo.
We have no additional details to share on this issue at this time. Be sure to check out our official website (www.nintendo.com) for the latest information as it becomes available.