What Next for Retro Studios?

The makers of Metroid Prime could be working on anything, but there are some clues.

By Robin Wilde. Posted 01/17/2015 12:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

Retro Studios has been hard at work lately. Most famous for its three 3D installments in the Metroid series with Metroid Prime and its sequels, the developer has also worked on Mario Kart 7 for 3DS and the two Donkey Kong Country games for Wii and Wii U.

This year the studio’s apparently revealing a new project, and as yet we’ve not a clue what it might be. In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine last year, Metroid Prime series producer Shigeru Miyamoto said that Retro was a high priority studio for any future Metroid games:

“I definitely think it’s a franchise that we value and we certainly want to see what we can do with it in the future. And, obviously, Retro is a very high priority in terms of the potential team that would be considered for working on a Metroid game.”

So the signs point to a new Metroid game in the works, which it seems obvious will excite followers of Nintendo, given the high quality of its previous productions. But it won’t necessarily be the case– after all, the Prime trilogy is concluded, and it might be that the developers aren’t chosen to begin a whole new series in the franchise.

We should therefore try to reach further afield for ideas. Of course, there is one thread which has long been left dangling in Retro’s tapestry. In 2001, prior to the release of Metroid Prime, the studio was working on an RPG by the name of Raven Blade. All that exists of the game is a trailer, and it was cancelled 14 years ago, but despite its unlikelihood of coming back, an RPG could be a good choice.

Retro already proved its ability to make open-world, free-roaming games with the Metroid Prime series. In many ways, their mechanics and design were not so hugely different from something like Skyrim, or Fallout.

A straight RPG, with dragons, wizards, swords, and sorcery could be in the offing, but that doesn’t mean the studio isn’t after something more adventurous. Retro could combine the mechanics it perfected in Metroid and craft an open-world adventure with upgrades, character-building, and role play set somewhere entirely new.

Or, the studio could push forward with another genre in which it has proved itself: the humble platformer. It’s been a long time since the last straight platformer series to really go big, and most of the recent stars of the format have been indie releases. But the success of indie games like Cave Story surely goes to show that there isn’t any reason why a platformer can’t find widespread success, especially with the cash boost and creative energy of a major company’s backing.

Any kind of game might be suitable for Retro, really. The studio has shown remarkable abilities in translating a gameplay style from 2D to 3D, and could be working on anything. Above are a couple of ideas, but we’d like to hear what you think too. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until later in the year to find out for sure.

One Response to “What Next for Retro Studios?”

  • 1447 points
    penduin says...

    If Retro gets to do more Metroid, I think there are two slots within the series timeline especially ripe for their subtle storytelling.

    A modern retelling of Metroid 2 could be epic. Your mission is to eliminate the entire Metroid species. Alone. There are long-dead ruins of Chozo settlements. There are stages of Metroid biological development that you discover as you exterminate them. The encounter with the last Metroid as it is born is the most pivotal plot moment in the series. I would love to see a “Metroid 2 Returns”.

    By the end of Fusion, Samus is in a very interesting predicament. She is part human, part Chozo, part machine and part Metroid. Moreover, she has royally pissed off the Galactic Federation. She’s got a friendly classified Federation AI and some animal companions with her. What happens next? I can’t think of anybody better equipped to explore that question than Retro.

    Metroid or not, I would preorder Retro’s next game today if I could. Maybe then I would avoid the insane scalping going on with any high-profile Nintendo release lately…

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