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Metroid Prime

In a new episode of the Kiwi Talkz podcast, former Retro Studios developer Mike Wikan spoke about early crunch at the company, which Nintendo put an end to.

Wikan said that Retro Studios experienced significant crunch during the development of Metroid Prime 1. He even spoke about a instances in which he “was there 48 hours straight with one hour of sleep, and then a couple of 36-hour days.” But despite what may have been previously reported about Metroid Prime 2, there wasn’t much crunch on the game after Nintendo came in and put Michael Kelbaugh – who is currently the president and CEO of Retro – in the main leadership role.

Below is Wikan’s full words:

With Metroid Prime 4 in the works for Switch, many fans have hoped that Nintendo would bring the series’ first three games to the platform. It’s unclear whether or not that will ever happen, but a former developer at Retro Studios has weighed in by sharing his own thoughts.

Michael Wikan spent many years at Retro having played a big role in all three mainline Metroid Prime titles as well as Donkey Kong Country Returns. In fact, he was a senior designer on each one of those projects.

First 4 Figures has revealed a brand new life-size replica statue of Samus’ helmet from Metroid Prime. It comes in standard and “exclusive” versions, and if you opt for the latter, it’ll feature LED functionality for the visor and dots around the base. Also, First 4 Figures says that “the mount on the base where the helmet rests can now be manually rotated a full 360 degrees, giving you the option to display your base in an X-shaped pattern, as opposed to the fixed plus-sign shape of the Standard Edition.”

Here’s the official product description:

Nintendo’s Kensuke Tanabe is working on Luigi’s Mansion 3. That’s not the only important project he’s involved with, however. Tanabe is also one of the key staffers helping to make Metroid Prime 4 happen.

At E3 last week, Eurogamer decided to ask if Tanabe had any sort of update on Metroid Prime 4. He gave a bit of an interesting answer, noting that he wants people to pay attention to Luigi’s Mansion 3 for now.

Shinesparkers has published a new interview with former Retro Studios staffer Jack Mathews. Matthews worked at the company as a former technical lead engineer on the initial Metroid Prime Trilogy.

During the discussion, Matthews had quite a bit to say about revised plans and cut ideas for the series. These include the initial idea to have Metroid Prime 2 be multiplayer focused, a more bounty hunter-like setup for Metroid Prime 3, and more. He also touched on some of the projects that were cancelled at Retro before Metroid Prime released.

You can find some notable excerpts from the interview below. Head on over here. for the full talk.

Metroid Prime has a pretty interesting development history. Before it was a Metroid game, Retro Studios was working on an original first-person shooter that had no ties to anything Nintendo-related. It was only when the big N stepped in and saw a level of the game that the game eventually morphed into Metroid Prime.

Speaking in the latest issue of Switch Player, senior designer Mike Wikan noted:

“When I came on board, the Engine group was significantly behind schedule and there was no way to create gameplay demonstrables in an effective fashion. I was told, quite literally, by leadership that designers would design the game on paper, then hand it off to engineering and art to create it. In my opinion that was insanity.”

“When Nintendo arrived suddenly, wanting to see demonstrables of all the games that the teams were working on, only our FPS had demonstrable real-time scriptable content. Nintendo liked what they saw and proposed we adapt that game and viewpoint, but restart it as a Metroid game.”

“The moral of the story is that if you see a problem, work to solve it; don’t assume someone else will take that responsibility on.”

Game Informer recently spoke with Mark Pacini from Armature Studio. Although some of the discussion touched on Batman: Arkham Origins – Blackgate and his new game ReCore, he also spoke quite a bit about his days at Retro and directing Metroid Prime.

One interesting anedcote was about when Retro was meeting with Shigeru Miyamoto and other folks from Nintendo’s main headquarters in Japan. After the meeting, Pacini’s boss said that they were upset with him. Why? Pacini didn’t have a pencil and paper at the meeting, so Nintendo felt he wasn’t listening. Pacini called it a “very noobie mistake” on his part, and wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen again.

Making Metroid Prime was the toughest project for Pacini from a development standpoint and getting it completed. “I think it was just the amount of stuff we were trying to do in the time we were doing it,” he said.

Mark Pacini acted as director for Nintendo and Retro’s three Metroid Prime games. Then in 2008, he went on to co-found Armature Studio.

Pacini is now directing the Xbox One title ReCore – a game that actually takes a decent amount of inspiration from the Metroid Prime series. GamesBeat took a brief trip down memory lane with Pacini while interviewing him about his new game, and asked if he’s surprised by the longevity and how people still play the titles he made back with Retro.

He said in response:

“For sure. I was thankful to be part of the team that made those games. When we were making those, that was never one of our goals. We were just trying to make something cool. It was an unexpectedly great thing, that people started to do that. It’s awesome that people are still playing those games, but it’s a big surprise to us.”

Thanks to Jake for the tip.

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This information comes from Metroid Prime series producer Kensuke Tanabe…

“If we started for Wii U now, it would likely take three years or so. So it would likely now be on Nintendo’s NX console. It’s a long time but it would need to include a lot of content, which would take a lot of work on the development side.”

– Tanabe has plenty of ideas for the game
– This includes a focus on a single planet that has a time-shifting mechanic

“Instead of broadening it to more planets I would have one and would focus on the timeline, and being able to change that. That’s one interesting idea I have in mind… but I understand many people thought that [Echoes] was too difficult.”

Head past the break for more quotes, which may include Metroid Prime spoilers for some.

This information comes from Metroid Prime producer Kensuke Tanabe when if Metroid Prime Federation Force is the only Metroid Prime game he’s working on…

“I said this at the beginning, but I’m not involved in the 2D Metroid games that Mr. Sakamoto works on. I still feel like there’s a little more work left for me to do in the Metroid Prime series. I can’t say when, but I want to make another one.

– Tanabe reminded IGN about the ending of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
– After Samus’s ship flies off into the distance, another ship suddenly appears
– He said that players Metroid Prime Hunters should recognize that the ship belongs to a bounty hunter called Sylux.

“He’s actually chasing after Samus, and that’s where that game ends. There’s still more I want to build around the story of Sylux and Samus. There’s something going on between them. I want to make a game that touches upon [it].”

“I’m also thinking that, in that eventual game between Sylux and Samus that might get made, that I wants to involve the [Galactic] Federation as well. So it would be a good idea to release a game like Federation Forces to flesh out its role in the galaxy before moving on to that.”

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