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2007: The Year in Headlines

Article: 12 months in a nutshell

2007 has easily been one of the most unexpected and surprising years for gaming in a long time. It was always going to be big with the launch of PS3 and (or not) GTA IV but publishers and game execs constantly kept us on our toes with their buyouts and resignations throughout the year.

It's been a memorable one, and here are the absolute top picks of news headlines from the last 12 months. Can 2008 possibly top this lot?

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Rare founders in quit shocker
When: January 3

Chris and Tim Stamper, the two founders of Rare Ltd (of Goldeneye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie fame) left the company earlier this year after 25 years at the helm. The news came just four years after Microsoft acquired the UK dev studio for $375m.

19-year company veteran Mark Betteridge and Gregg Mayles succeeded the Stampers as studio director and creative director respectively, and Microsoft said that the brothers' departure would not affect the developer. Even so, we didn't see a single game from the developer in 2007, and it still has no announced titles aside from the elusive Banjo-Kazooie 3.

Despite speculation to contrary, Microsoft also said that disappointing sales for the studio's last Xbox 360 title Viva Piņata had "absolutely" nothing to do with the Stampers' departure. One thing's for sure though; Rare will be a truly different company from now on, as Microsoft figures out how to the dev fits in with its on-going campaign to grab family gamers.

Ken Kutaragi "retires"
When: April 26

The Father of PlayStation, Ken Kutaragi, who invented and launched both the original PlayStation and the PS2, retired on June 19 this year. Kutaragi's influence on the games industry cannot be denied - he is after all the creator of all things PlayStation, even if he is a bit erm, full-on these days.

According to Sony, after launching the PlayStation 3 worldwide Kutaragi decided to "pursue his dreams beyond PlayStation and to accelerate his network vision," and now takes up the roll of as honorary chairman of SCEI. Kazuo Hirai, former president and Group COO at SCEI was promoted to president and Group CEO.

Rumour and speculation has suggested big Ken was pressured out of the company, after a series of infamous rants making bold and un-modest claims about the PS3's power and price point.

Kutaragi's departure was the most symbolised action in SCE's ever shifting focus to the West. All of the PlayStation 3's top games this year have been from outside Japan (Uncharted, Warhawk, Heavenly Sword...) and without Ken maybe non-Japanese will get a say on future Sony hardware as well. We'll always miss his rants.

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Manhunt 2 denied UK release
When: June 19

If you didn't see it the first time around, you'll definitely know all about Manhunt 2's notorious BBFC ban by now.

According to the BBFC, the decision to refuse the game a rating was taken by the Director and the Presidential Team of Sir Quentin Thomas, Lord Taylor of Warwick and Janet Lewis-Jones.

"The Board's carefully considered view is that to issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform, would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors," the board said.

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