Chris and Tim Stamper, the two founders of Rare Ltd (of Goldeneye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie fame) have left the company as it enters its 25th year, Microsoft has confirmed.
Reported on 1UP, the news comes just four years after Microsoft acquired the UK dev studio for $375m, and released five games for Microsoft Game Studios - Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo, Conker: Live & Reloaded and Grabbed by the Ghoulies.
"Chris and Tim have helped shape Rare into the world-renowned development studio that is it today and their impact on the videogame industry as a whole is well known," Microsoft said in a statement. "[The Stampers] are simply leaving to pursue other opportunities and we wish them luck in their future endeavours."
The departure will undoubtedly come as a blow to Microsoft, as the brothers' 'hands-on' experience and influence over studio workings have been significant.
Despite speculation to contrary, Microsoft says that disappointing sales for the studio's latest Xbox 360 title Viva Pinata have "absolutely" nothing to do with the departure.
Following the shake up, 19-year company veteran Mark Betteridge and Gregg Mayles will succeed the Stampers as studio director and creative director respectively.