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Rare opens new Natal testing office

It's in Fazeley, Birmingham. Are you?

Rare's opening a new office in Birmingham to help bring Project Natal up to scratch for an autumn 2010 release.

Rare's rural Twycross studio will remain the "creative hub", but this urban Fazeley location will provide crucial extra testing space and flexible access to top creative talent and a variety of testers.

"First of all, because of the nature of Natal - and it would have been exactly the same with the Wii - to test it properly you need a larger physical space than you had before," Rare boss Mark Betteridge explained to

"But also with Natal, we believe test is extremely important to get the balance and the content of the game right - because a lot of the people that Microsoft will be appealing to with this technology won't be traditional games players, and we need to test with a wide range of people, different ages, demographics, and so on.

"I don't mean testing in the sense of does the game crash, or is the artwork correct," he added, "I mean proper user testing. Also with Natal there'll be a huge variety in the set-ups that people will have in their homes, so it's very important that we optimise any title to work in any of them."

If you live around the Fazeley area, look out for a call to arms; Betteridge says the studio will probably ask people to come in for a couple of hours at a time.

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