What do you think Retro is working on? I wonder if we’ll see their secret project at E3 this year!
Those are the kinds of things you commonly hear about this time of year. The Electronic Entertainment Expo looms ahead, hype rises, and with it come the skyrocketing hopes and expectations of Nintendo fans around the globe.
I’d prefer to burst your bubble now, rather than wait until the press conferences and live streams have died down and another convention happens without a miraculous reveal from the Austin, TX based developers.
Retro Studios isn’t special anymore.
It’s been years since the 2nd party put anything truly meaningful out onto the market. Yes, the trilogy of Metroid Prime games was epic. But since? They helped on some courses for Mario Kart 7. And they’ve made a pair of Donkey Kong platformers.
I’m not here to besmirch the latest Donkey Kong Country games, but you’ve got to admit—they’re a tame affair compared to the hype that surrounded the Metroid series’ simultaneous revival and leap into the third dimension.
Platformers are run-of-the-mill Nintendo fodder. What with the New Super Mario Bros. series, Kirby games, and other shoe-horned franchises like Chibi-Robo and Pikmin, we’re not hurting for 2D side-scrollers by any means. Yet, this is what Nintendo charges their once-lauded team of USA developers with.
Haven’t you grown tired of asking (year after year) what Retro is up to? Crossing your fingers, hoping the time will finally come for the reveal that will blow the wrist straps right off your Joy-Con?
Sorry. It’s in the past. The era has ended.
Designer Mark Pacini left Retro in 2008.
Art director Todd Keller departed in the same year.
Principal technology engineer Jack Mathews went with them.
They formed Armature Studios and created an Arkham game. Coincidentally, have you heard that series has Metroid Prime-like progression?
More recently, senior designer Kynan Pearson exited the company to join 343 Industries, where other former-Retro personnel joined the development of Halo 4.
Senior designer Mike Wikan quit Retro and was hired at id Software.
Kensuke Tanabe, Producer of the Metroid Prime trilogy and modern Donkey Kong Country games, lost touch with the studio and is now acting as Producer for Metroid Prime 4, a title being developed outside of Retro Studios.
Why do you think Nintendo turned to another developer for Prime 4?
It’s because Retro is not what it used to be. You might have an image in your mind’s eye of all the people who made Prime 1-3, huddled around their desks, secretively working away at the Next Big Thing.
Sadly, that’s not reality. There’s been so much turnover in the decade between today and Samus’ last title on Wii. Those developers are spread out across the industry, making games for other consoles.
If you enjoy being disappointed, keep holding out hope for Reggie to say “before we let you go, we’ve got one more trailer to show you that we think you will really enjoy!”
But if you’d rather not board the emotional rollercoaster, learn to be content with two simple things: Karts and Kongs.