Rare Ltd. is a British video game development studio based in Twycross, England. Rare was a second-party developer for Nintendo platforms since its incorporation in 1994 until it was acquired in full by Microsoft in 2002. They are mainly known for games on Nintendo systems such as the Donkey Kong Country series and Star Fox Adventures, in addition to GoldenEye 007 and the Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark series. In 2015, the company celebrated their 30th anniversary as a game development studio with Rare Replay, a compilation of thirty titles across the company’s history within their license.
Rare reimagined the character of Donkey Kong for virtually all of his future video game appearances and were the original creators of three fighters that appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series: Diddy Kong, King K. Rool, and Banjo & Kazooie. They lost the rights to the Donkey Kong franchise on September 24th, 2002 due to being entirely acquired by Microsoft. All music sourced or rearranged in Smash that Rare originally composed credit them for their compositions, even after the Microsoft buyout.
Donkey Kong, who saw a resurgence in popularity upon the release of Rare's Donkey Kong Country, appears in the original Super Smash Bros., taking his design from said game. Congo Jungle, a stage based on various levels in Donkey Kong Country, appears as Donkey Kong's home stage. Additionally, the Motion-Sensor Bomb, an explosive device from the pivotal 1997 shooter game, GoldenEye 007, also developed by Rare, appears in Smash 64.
Donkey Kong returns in Melee, representing his universe alongside numerous content originating from Rare games. Congo Jungle reappears as a Past Stage, while Kongo Jungle and Jungle Japes are two new stages from Rare's Donkey Kong Country. King K. Rool, the main antagonist of the Donkey Kong Country series, appears as a trophy in Melee. The Barrel Cannon, which debuted in Donkey Kong Country, appears as an item and stage element. The Motion-Sensor Bomb returns, keeping its GoldenEye 007 appearance in international releases of Melee, while resembling the design of and being called the Proximity Mine from Rare's Perfect Dark in the Japanese version of the game. The Cloaking Device from Perfect Dark serves as another new item. Members of Rare's staff acted as voice actors for the Star Fox Smash Taunt in Melee, later reprising their roles in Star Fox Adventures. These voice clips would return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Donkey Kong makes his third appearance in the Smash Bros. series, being joined by Diddy Kong, who first appeared in Donkey Kong Country. Their respective Final Smashes are based on abilities from Rare's Donkey Kong 64. Jungle Japes returns as a Melee Stage. Numerous trophies of characters from Rare's Donkey Kong games cameo as collectible trophies in Brawl, including King K. Rool, Dixie Kong, Funky Kong, and Lanky Kong. Many of these characters have Stickers as well. Trophies and stickers representing characters from Star Fox Adventures, a Star Fox game developed by Rare, appear as well.
Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are both veterans in Smash 4. Familiar stages from Rare's Donkey Kong Country return, with Congo Jungle and Jungle Japes appearing on the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game, respectively. Aside from the trophies of characters from the Donkey Kong and Star Fox universes originating from Rare-developed games returning from Brawl, King K. Rool appears as a DLC costume for the Mii Brawler.
Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong both return as veterans with King K. Rool appearing as a newcomer. Klaptrap appears as the Donkey Kong universe's first Assist Trophy. Kongo Jungle (now known as Kongo Falls), Jungle Japes and Kongo Jungle 64 all return as famliar stages. Additionally, Krystal - appearing as she does in the Rare-developed Star Fox Adventures - debuts as an Assist Trophy. Multiple Rare-created Donkey Kong and Star Fox characters also appear as Spirits. Banjo & Kazooie also make their debut as playable fighters in the Fighters Pass, along with an accompanying Spiral Mountain stage and multiple Banjo-Kazooie-themed Spirits. Notably, they are the first character created for an original series by Rare to appear in Smash (as opposed to created for an existing Nintendo series), as well as the first form of original Rare content altogether to appear in Smash since the Microsoft buyout. Rare's logo makes an appearance on Banjo's backpack when it is opened.