I suggest doing some research before posting because quite a lot of you are factually incorrect.
A few lead developers left during perfect dark, but rare still went on to release star fox adventures and conquers bad fur day.
When Nintendo didn't make any moves to become a majority owner of Rare, and was no longer giving Rare an unlimited development budget to work with, they began looking around for someone to purchase the company. It wasn't until formal discussion between Rare and Activision, and Rare and Microsoft started that made 30 employees jump ship (from a development team of around ~200). Rare wasn't dying before they were purchased, and they still had a tremendous amount of talent still around at the time. But here, have this
Donkey Kong Country 1
Donkey Kong Country 2
Donkey Kong Country 3
Didn't Kong Racing
Conkers Bad Fur Day
Star Fox Adventures
Grabbed By The Ghoulies
Conker: Live & Reloaded (a remake of the original)
Perfect Dark: Zero
Kameo: Elements of Power
Viva Piñata (after this, the founders left.)
Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Kinect Sports: Season 2
Kinect Sports: Rivals (after this, 15 people laid off)
Rare Replay (a compilation of games that were made while NOT under Microsoft lol)
Sea of Thieves
*Lists are not comprehensive and only include at least somewhat notable titles.
It's obvious to me that Rare was doing way better before Microsoft. Under Microsoft, their most successful title has been a Kinect game. With that in mind, how much of a cult following do the games from the first list have vs the latter? Which ones do people post about with fond memories? I see people reminisc on the old Rare games all the time. I don't remember ever seeing anyone talk about how much they miss viva piñata or grabbed by the Ghoulies. On top of the lack of a hit over the past 15 years, they were creatively constrained, marketed poorly and this eventually culminated in being banished to Kinect only titles.
Sea of Thieves will be their first real game in some time. This could mark a comeback, I think the game looks interesting but that's purely speculation for now. It's almost objective that rare was in an all around better spot while they worked with Nintendo. Almost. But opinions are like assholes.
you're way off base with a few of the comments, Rare WAS dying. A huge amount of their most talented designers had left before Microsoft purchased them. Like this has been talked about by the former staff time and time again
I can't emphasize enough how Starfox Adventures is a complete failure and shows that the magic was somewhat gone. Not shocking, when you lose like half of your staff (they went to go form another studio) that's a pretty realistic aftershock
Rare was also bloated towards the end times before being acquired by Microsoft, with possibly too many people on board anyway in terms of staff
Rare was insanely solid from like 1994-2001 but the reality is they were a ghost of their former self even once acquired. THe value in the company was the IPs more than anything else at that point.
based upon that its fairly obvious that Nintendo would have been the better company to acquire them since Microsoft has done jack shit with the Rare IPs (omg that horrid Perfect Dark game they made for the Xbox)