Viva Piñata is a video game franchise by Microsoft Studios and Rare. The series' first game, Viva Piñata (2006), was conceived as a mobile gardening game before Rare was acquired by Microsoft. It was then developed for the Xbox and ultimately the Xbox 360. It launched alongside an animated series produced by 4Kids. The game received two console sequels: Party Animals (2007) and Trouble in Paradise (2008), as well as a handheld release, Pocket Paradise (2008), for the Nintendo DS.
Rare co-founder Tim Stamper conceptualized a gardening game for the handheld Pocket PC platform around 2002. A small (three-person) team began work on a simple prototype while the Rare was still affiliated with Nintendo, prior to its Microsoft acquisition. The game's development transferred to the original Xbox and, ultimately, to the Xbox 360 for its graphics capabilities. Rare wanted its animals to have a unified style, which was how the game's concept artist arrived at the piñata concept. The idea was exciting to Rare, as piñatas were not commonplace in England. The connection between piñatas and candy-filled insides led to new gameplay directions.