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Retro Studio hasn't released a game since 2014 (DKC Tropical Freeze). What have they been doing for all this time? (Prime 4 only went to them in 2019)

CGiRanger

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Pretty much what is written in the title. Retro Studios which used to pump out some very exceptional games suddenly just went totally dark after the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze back in 2014. I think I remember hearing they assisted with some other game development in the time since, but haven't released a game of their own in 7.5 years or so (aside from the re-release of Tropical Freeze on the Switch).

The only game we know that is being worked on by them of course is Metroid Prime 4, and even that is something they initially weren't supposed to be doing, which they only had land in their laps after the first development of the project failed. And that only occurred back in 2019 when they likely had to start over from scratch on MP4.

Has there been any solid reports or details as to what the studio has been working on for all those years? I can only imagine how many unknown projects must have been cancelled to never end up releasing a game in such a long period of time. Who knows what kind of talent also remains at the studio since it was noted that a lot of the original team from the Prime Trilogy days departed at one point to become Armature Studios.

And of course, there's no telling when we might get a glimpse of Prime 4 to begin with, so no way to know how long it will be before it can even be teased to see some kind of release.
 

Con-Z-epT

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Probably been working on F-Zero NX
Season 3 Please GIF by The Simpsons
 

Coolwhhip

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Game developers aren't some magical place where only great games are created in perfect harmony. They probably had a lof of internal struggles, failed prototypes and so on. If that's true for Retro then Metroid Prime being made there might end up poorly too.
 
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CGiRanger

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Game developers aren't some magical place where only great games are created in perfect harmony. They probably had a lof of internal struggles, failed prototypes and so on. If that's true for Retro then Metroid Prime being made there might end up poorly too.
Of course, but it's certainly highly unusual for a studio not to have released a single new game in the span of 7 years I'd say. I don't recall any instances of that occurring elsewhere where it would end up as a good thing.
 

Aldric

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Pretty much what is written in the title. Retro Studios which used to pump out some very exceptional games suddenly just went totally dark after the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze back in 2014. I think I remember hearing they assisted with some other game development in the time since, but haven't released a game of their own in 7.5 years or so (aside from the re-release of Tropical Freeze on the Switch).

The only game we know that is being worked on by them of course is Metroid Prime 4, and even that is something they initially weren't supposed to be doing, which they only had land in their laps after the first development of the project failed. And that only occurred back in 2019 when they likely had to start over from scratch on MP4.

Has there been any solid reports or details as to what the studio has been working on for all those years? I can only imagine how many unknown projects must have been cancelled to never end up releasing a game in such a long period of time. Who knows what kind of talent also remains at the studio since it was noted that a lot of the original team from the Prime Trilogy days departed at one point to become Armature Studios.

And of course, there's no telling when we might get a glimpse of Prime 4 to begin with, so no way to know how long it will be before it can even be teased to see some kind of release.
Apparently they've had multiple projects getting cancelled. They seemingly were working on a new IP that should have been revealed at E3 2015 but got pulled last second by Nintendo because they weren't satisfied with the way it looked. It's a huge waste and not exactly filling me with confidence about Metroid Prime 4.
 

Aldric

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Also I'm still immensely butthurt at their Sheik focused Zelda spinoff never getting off the ground. This was back during the Wii era, imagine what a game like that could have been with Retro's incredible artistic talent and level design expertise.

 

Lionel Richie

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They've been doing your mom LMAO FUCKING GOT 'EM!

But seriously, it was rumored they were working on a Star Fox like kart game but with spaceships. They probably had other projects cancelled. Despite their excellent games, Retro is not that big of a studio. Think about them a bit like Sucker Punch. It took them 6 years between Second Son and Ghost of Sushi and probably that's the gap you would have seen if Retro's project wasn't FUBAR.
 

StateofMajora

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Also I'm still immensely butthurt at their Sheik focused Zelda spinoff never getting off the ground. This was back during the Wii era, imagine what a game like that could have been with Retro's incredible artistic talent and level design expertise.

Well now, that is quite the shame if real and not deviant art fanfare. I dare say thats a great idea and probably would have thrashed skyward sword graphically and maybe all round.
 

Cert.in.Death

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Retro is the victim of being a western studio underneath an oppressive Japanese corporation.

The way they've been treated is not unlike Sony's treatment of BEND Studio, where the corporate suits care little of wasting their time, except in this instance it seems more deliberate (and sometimes malicious). I still subscribe to the theory that there are some hard feelings toward Retro with regard to their success with Metroid Prime.
 

Buggy Loop

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Wasn’t the top manager an ex NOA game tester for Donkey Kong last I recall? I mean, imagine going from a tester to lead manager.. I can’t think of how it can go well.
 

Coolwhhip

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Of course, but it's certainly highly unusual for a studio not to have released a single new game in the span of 7 years I'd say. I don't recall any instances of that occurring elsewhere where it would end up as a good thing.

Yeah that's why I don't have high hopes for Prime 4.
 

6502

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They sold Rare due to delays whilst they were raking in the cash. Why keep retro if they are unproductive? There must be more to it than just ditching a few bad prototypes.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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Do you have a link?

Why would the talent of Retro want to be doing remakes?


Bluepoint Games was founded in 2006 by Andy O'Neil and Marco Thrush, two former Retro Studios employees who had worked on Metroid Prime.


I would imagine the talent of Retro that used to make ambitious games like Metroid Prime wanted to leave to go make ambitious titles with Sony. You aren't going to get that ability on the Switch for two reasons: 1) outdated hardware 2) mother hen Nintendo micromanaging your operation

It's no surprise that Retro hasn't done anything significant in over a decade, they are not the same studio and talent has moved on.
 
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Aldric

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I would imagine the talent of Retro that used to make ambitious games like Metroid Prime wanted to leave to go make ambitious titles with Sony.
The talent of Retro that used to make Metroid Prime left to make ReCore, which was a completely mediocre game. Also how the fuck is working on ports of PS3 games ambitious?
 
Oct 30, 2011
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The talent of Retro that used to make Metroid Prime left to make ReCore, which was a completely mediocre game. Also how the fuck is working on ports of PS3 games ambitious?

Bluepoint's games, even though they are remakes, are extremely ambitious. Basically taking legacy games that are still mechanically relevant today and making them industry leading visually. It's not a small undertaking. Bluepoint is in Austin, formed by ex-Retro leadership. So yeah, they poached Retro talent and have definitely done better as a result. You don't hear anything about Retro anymore, Bluepoint on the other hand has grown into a very big deal.

I don't know how it's any less ambitious than doing by the numbers sequels with Nintendo micromanaging every little thing. I'm guessing the fallout from the latter is why the studio is no longer as relevant.
 
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Dr Bass

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The talent of Retro that used to make Metroid Prime left to make ReCore, which was a completely mediocre game. Also how the fuck is working on ports of PS3 games ambitious?
Well Demon's Souls isn't a port. It's a ground up remake. Yeah they used some of the same code for the logic to make sure the gameplay remained identical, but Demon's Souls on PS5 is one hell of a game.

Also Retro seems hugely mismanaged.
 
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Aldric

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Bluepoint's games, even though they are remakes, are extremely ambitious. Basically taking legacy games that are still mechanically relevant today and making them industry leading visually. It's not a small undertaking. Bluepoint is in Austin, formed by ex-Retro leadership. So yeah, they poached Retro talent and have definitely done better as a result. You don't hear anything about Retro anymore, Bluepoint on the other hand has grown into a very big deal.

I don't know how it's any less ambitious than doing by the numbers sequels with Nintendo micromanaging every little thing. I'm guessing the fallout from the latter is why the studio is no longer as relevant.
Tropical Freeze is a fantastic game that's arguably as good as Metroid Prime. If "ambition" means spending dozens of millions of dollars to model some random NPC's nostril hair in 8K then it's a completely pointless endeavor.
 
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Oct 30, 2011
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Tropical Freeze is a fantastic game that's arguably as good as Metroid Prime. If "ambition" means spending dozens of millions of dollars to model some random NPC's nostril hair in 8K then it's a completely pointless endeavor.

It's well made, but very safe. You talk about PS3 games, but TF is basically an SNES game remade for GC level hardware.

Some devs won't mind working on that. Others will be a bit put off from doing nothing but churning out sequels with Nintendo micromanaging the direction. Sony is more hands off, and each new game Bluepoint works on is a chance to really grow as a studio. I feel like the leads at Retro felt stifled and decided to leave.
 
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Marty-McFly

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Bluepoint Games was founded in 2006 by Andy O'Neil and Marco Thrush, two former Retro Studios employees who had worked on Metroid Prime.


I would imagine the talent of Retro that used to make ambitious games like Metroid Prime wanted to leave to go make ambitious titles with Sony. You aren't going to get that ability on the Switch for two reasons: 1) outdated hardware 2) mother hen Nintendo micromanaging your operation

It's no surprise that Retro hasn't done anything significant in over a decade, they are not the same studio and talent has moved on.
Interesting find.

I think it's Nintendo's main studios from Japan who have most of the talent and their teams only make spectacular games because Ninty is involved. Even Miyamoto had involvement in Metroid Prime.

This is why Dread is going to kick ass even though Mercury Steam is not as great as Nintendo, they're co-developing the game with them.

Nintendo' does really well with collabs with their smaller studio's (other than Other M, they didn't work well with Team Ninja).
 
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Oct 30, 2011
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I think it's Nintendo's main studios who have most of the talent and their teams only make spectacular games because Ninty is involved. Even Miyamoto had involvement in Metroid Prime.

This is why Dread is going to kick ass even though Mercury Steam is not as great as Nintendo, they're co-developing the game with them.

Nintendo' does really well with collabs with their smaller studio's.

Nintendo's internal japanese talent obviously is. But it's a culture clash with western studios like Retro who would seek out more autonomy. Eventually a studio gains enough recognition that they don't want the mothership controlling their every move.
 

Reallink

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As I have mentioned probably a dozen times, I have no idea how or why the studio hasn't been closed. The issues go way further back than 2014. Even the DKC's took them many times longer at many times the budget of similar fare like Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair (which I actually enjoyed more than either DKC). 2.5D sidescrollers aren't exactly known for being 4 or 5 year $100 million dollar projects, but they are at Retro. Austin ain't cheap, the cost per head is no doubt very high for Nintendo, these clowns have vaporized several hundred million dollars on well over a decade of failed projects. Even 343 looks like a success compared to Retro.
 
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Marty-McFly

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As I have mentioned probably a dozen times, I have no idea how or why the studio hasn't been closed. The issues go way further back than 2014. Even the DKC's took them many times longer at many times the budget of similar fare like Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair (which I actually enjoyed more than either DKC). 2.5D sidescrollers aren't exactly known for being 4 or 5 year $100 million dollar projects, but they are at Retro. Austin ain't cheap, the cost per head is no doubt very high for Nintendo, these clowns have vaporized several hundred million dollars on well over a decade of failed projects. Even 343 looks like a success compared to Retro.
Close the Studio that's developing Metroid Prime 4?

Great post.

Maybe Nintendo should cancel Dread and Oled while they're at it.

BOTW 2 as well.
 

Panajev2001a

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But Metroid Dread looked okay for them...
Maybe it is cheap? I think they need a Metroid game, any Metroid, at this point as MP4 is still quite a while out and they still have the stigma of having to admit they failed at doing it once and brought Retro back to restart it from scratch.

Easier to feed MD to the masses than talk loudly about more MP4 delays maybe.
 

Robb

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They must have had a lot of projects get closed down and ideas scrapped. It's very unfortunate.

I personally used to hold RETRO to the same pedigree as Naughty Dog, but today I'm not as sure in their output.

Hoping they can deliver with Prime 4. They have been on a hiring spree so Nintendo is obviously keen on getting some new talent to the studio.
 
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kiphalfton

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Also I'm still immensely butthurt at their Sheik focused Zelda spinoff never getting off the ground. This was back during the Wii era, imagine what a game like that could have been with Retro's incredible artistic talent and level design expertise.


Too good to be true. Instead we got freaking skyward sword.
 

BPX

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Close the Studio that's developing Metroid Prime 4?

Great post.

Maybe Nintendo should cancel Dread and Oled while they're at it.

BOTW 2 as well.

What, Dread is finished. Mercury Steam put out two games in 4 years with probably a tight budget. Retro aint show nothin but barbeques.
 
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Marty-McFly

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What, Dread is finished. Mercury Steam put out two games in 4 years with probably a tight budget. Retro aint show nothin but barbeques.
Nintendo won't show the game until a few months before release just like Dread and nigh everything else they put out these days.
 

93xfan

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As I have mentioned probably a dozen times, I have no idea how or why the studio hasn't been closed. The issues go way further back than 2014. Even the DKC's took them many times longer at many times the budget of similar fare like Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair (which I actually enjoyed more than either DKC). 2.5D sidescrollers aren't exactly known for being 4 or 5 year $100 million dollar projects, but they are at Retro. Austin ain't cheap, the cost per head is no doubt very high for Nintendo, these clowns have vaporized several hundred million dollars on well over a decade of failed projects. Even 343 looks like a success compared to Retro.

Found the yooka 2d game sub par. Not sure I understand the love for it. Tropical Freeze I loved though. Not sure why the former didn’t click with me
 
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