The compilation was one of several ideas Rare considered to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Inspired by fans, upcoming Xbox One backwards compatibility features, and the idea to connect Rare's past and future, the company sorted through 120 games to choose titles that best represented its oeuvre. They prioritized games with characters and environments original to the company. Rare incorporated six emulators in the package, and worked with its parent company, Microsoft, to use its unannounced Xbox 360 emulation. Rare Replay was announced at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo and released worldwide as an Xbox One exclusive on August 4, 2015.